Thursday, 12 September 2013

Lima to Mancora

We spent Wednesday – Sunday in Lima. Many travellers are quick to move on when they get to Lima and just use it as a quick stop over in between long bus journeys etc. It was nice for us to take a bit longer though; giving us a chance to mentally settle and begin to adjust into our new way of living.
It was wonderful to have such a lovely base at Tim’s. His apartment is one of a kind! The ground floor is communal and Tim calls it ‘the museum’!

His flat is furnished with beautiful antiques and tiffany lamps! Among the paintings on the walls are his own beautiful charcoal life drawings from a weekly class that he goes to. We had a few great dinners cooked outside on his kitchen balcony! 
We spent our days exploring just the districts of Barranco and Miraflores. Our taxi drive from the airport exposed a lot of Lima to us; very run down, lots of unfinished buildings and crumbling roads and pavements. We didn’t feel inclined to explore this anymore.

Peru is such a vast country, yet one third of the population live in Lima. We were struck at how rich some parts of Miraflores and Barranco were and we didn’t really get an idea of the extreme poverty until we were leaving Lima and passing so many shanty towns on the outskirts and on the hills. It was shocking. 

This photo was taken on the roof of Tim's apartment looking east away from the Pacific - 

Lima is never silent!! There is the constant noise of car horns! You can’t go 5 seconds without not hearing one. The car alarms – that seem to be very sensitive! – are a complete nightmare! The buses are fascinating – there are the main buses as well as the new Metropolitana bendy buses which have a dedicated road and terminals in the middle of the highway. There are also the ‘Collective’ buses, these are unofficial small vans that cram everyone and anyone in, speeding round the city touting for passengers at every opportunity. There are various different ‘organisations’ all competing with each other so competition is rife… they are run by the Lima mafia! We unsurprisingly decided not to use these and generally took taxi’s as they are pretty cheap. 6 Peruvian soles (1.50p) for a 15min journey.

After 4 and a half days we were more than ready to leave the cold fog of Lima for some much craved sun, sea and sand. So we completely changed our plan (of travelling south) and opted for the 18 hour bus ride north(!!) to Mancora; Peru’s principle beach resort.

Bus travel is huge in South America; with minimal and expensive train lines and pricey domestic flights; buses are the common mode of transport. Considering Kyle’s phobia of buses since his death rides in Thailand(!), we opted to travel with Cruz Del Sur- the best bus company in S America! It is the most expensive – but not by a lot. (We only paid 30 pounds each!) Our seats were quite luxurious and reclined to 140 degrees – a big selling point. We sat right at the front and it was brilliant to have such a great view. Driving the Panamerican Highway north with the Pacific Ocean on our left with a beautiful sunset and huge sand dunes on the right. Our first chance to see the Peruvian country side … we got really excited!!

We got to Mancora on Monday morning. Getting off the bus and collecting our bags was stressful!! We were greeted by a sea of tok-tok taxi drivers hassling us like crazy for business. It was like a swarm of birds on us! We could hardly think. We didn’t realise that we needed our bus tickets to collect our bags so we had to go through our daypacks in front of all these men that were practically on us! Other passengers (that were tourists) were getting stressed with it too. A rather agitated American guy was shouting for his wife ‘JESSICA!’ – we later befriended them – Matt and Jessica – and it became a big joke at how stressed out we got!! – particularly Matt – who the locals latched onto and decided to taunt! Once we found our ticket (it was at the bottom of my (Hannah’s) bag – I had told Kyle it was in his opps! Kyle shouted out to the crowd ‘Un soles – who will get us to Loki hostel for un soles?!’ (This is about 25p) Everyone shouting ‘mi, mi, mi’, one guy even said ‘for free, for free!!!’ – we declined his offer-something not quite right there!! Our bags were flung onto the back of a tok-tok and we hopped on – me gripping onto our bags on the back, paranoid that someone would grab them.

Loki Hostel is the party hostel of Mancora. Right by the beach, complete with pool and big bar. Perfect!

We have had late nights, meeting, partying and making friends with people from France, Columbia, Chile, America and Germany.
Matt and Jessica

Eating the local food has been fun, Kyle loves the Pollo. Neither of us are fish people (particularly Kyle) but we are pushing ourselves and trying the ceviche – the local delicacy; raw fish - which is actually quite yummy! The set menus in the local restaurants are just 10 soles (2.50 pounds) for a starter and main.  Our Spanish is slowly improving and our confidence gradually increasing – this will take time!

Yesterday we hired surf boards with Matt, Jessica and Nicholas (from Colombia). Kyle getting into the wet suit was the funniest thing ever, entering through the arm hole!!! The waves weren’t that great and I didn’t do very well but Kyle got up a few times – bastard!

(This isn't Kyle!)

We are planning to leave around Sunday and go back south. We were tempted to dip into Ecqador as we are so close but we are limited with time as the longer we spend up here, the worse the weather gets for Machu Picchu and Bolivia…

Time to hit the beach…

A cute little Peruvian boy Kyle made friends with

1 comment:

  1. Ha, I love it, "JESSICA!!". Yeah, that was a bit of a low point for Matt, but so fun to tease him about afterward. SO great to meet you two, can't wait to follow your travels, and I hope even more that we'll get to see you while we're traveling around the Med next fall!