Published: October 20th 2010October 20th 2010
We had meet a chap some months back in Chile and after chatting he was interested in us creating a new website for his hostel which was in the process of an overhaul. After reacquainting ourselves with Arequipa we decided to head north and check out his place.
It is situated an hour south of Lima and we were greeted with the usual grey Lima climate, no matter it was nice to settle in and know we would be there for a wee while.
At the time the hostel was a mine of cement laying, jack hammers, painters and the usual rowdy construction folks. Electric saws, sanders and the roars of boisterous workmen arouse us gently daily from our slumber.
San Bartolo is a wee bay well known for its breaks therefore a surfers dream, we arrived and it was like the plague had hit, not a soul, It is a seasonal town and like many towns who rely on the summer influx of tourists, off season is morbidly quiet.
We had been contracted by the hostel owner to do his website in exchange for a place to stay so we were there for the duration.
Lima and he surrounding areas although technically a desert can get cold and bleak, San Bartolo was no exception, a cold which penetrates the bones is the norm at this time of the year
A pretty seafront flanks the bay with fisherman pulling in a daily catch, lots of hostels and guesthouse line the shoreline, empty and abandoned awaiting the next onslaught of tourist for its high season though right now they resemble a ghost town.
A fresh goods market is the hub of the town, boosting a substantial market which provide a fair range of fresh good as well and many other necessities, being a regular after a while I acquired the affectional title of Mamacita Irelandesa and got to know some of the locals. The usual variety of meat cuts not for the light hearted adorn the well worn cutting blocks, sheep heads with eyes included gaze forlornly at the browsing customers.
We stayed 8 weeks and in that time we never encountered another Gringo making us a bit of a novelty yet many of the shops display lilos and beachballs, swimwear and a variety of beach games to amuse the non existent tourists.
Lurin is the nearest "larger town which has a de
cent supply of a goods needed, the air is pungent with the smell of home made breads, popcorn and the usual meat on a stick permeating the air that sit sizzling from crudely made mobile BBq pit which in most cases involve a oil barrel cut in half, its belly full of the glow of charcoal, cooking the the delicious concoctions which spit and sizzle above tempting the many passersby.
I have been reading a lot and finished Shantaram for the second time, making me long for lovely India. I am curious as to the fate of the characters in the novel but I don't suppose I will ever know.
My 20 year school reunion took place around this time and as a result I have had so many girls I haven't heard from since those long forgotten days got back in touch, wonderful how their lives developed and I have resumed long forgotten friendships making me long for home and my own reunions.
In San Bartolo tut tuts are the main mode of transport or mototaxies as they are know here, they are held in high regard with each one personalized, the hubs of the wheels turn in shiny discs of personalized design reminiscent of the low riders of South LA. The virgin Mary and the Sacred heart hang on rear view mirrors and take pride of place on immaculately airbrushed side panels, fake velour cover comfortable seats and leather tassels blow in the wind attached to the handlebars.
Though 3 wheeled and small seating areas these "yolks" can carry a multitude of cargo as I proved, whilst my belongings filled the back I was able to sit next to my lovely driver (albeit clinging for dear life to the bar holding up the canopy) as we hurdled through the dirt pot holed streets. All cargo arrived safely to our destination albeit a tad dusty.
A huge swell hit the coast while we were there, massive waves pounded the waterfront A surfing competition took place in the nearby bay of Santa Hermosa, a thrill to watch the daredevil surfers battle its power and win recognition for their sheer prowness in the face of what Mother Nature threw at them. An international contest burly and brave contestants entered from as far as South Africa, Australia Britian and the U.S.
I took a trip to Lima for an errant and while the local bus took me to an area where I could easily get to the centre of town I had to go to battle with the notoriously bad Limian Taxi drivers, eventually securing a "fair" fare I got my business done, I like Lima but its big down side seems to be the fact that the taxi drivers are crooks……honestly the worst ever!
On the way back on the collectivo (small bus) to San Bartolo I was informed by a young man that I had something on my shoulder, always wary I clenched by bag tighter and inspected the mess which turned out to be a large blob of peanut full spit, "you need paper to clean that" he said, this is the oldest trick in the book, basically I was supposed to fuss for a klennex and while distracted he or an accomplice would relieve me of my belongings, I told him I wasn't worried, "why was he" he got visibly frustrated and exited the bus, I then cleaned up his horrible mess.
On the 22nd of September we had another earthquake, it was the middle of the night and was just a large tremor, the room shook for about 30 seconds and it stopped….I went back to sleep, could it be I'm getting used to them?
It was time to move on and I can't say I was sorry, I had become bored and the noise in the hostel had got to me not to mention the constant gloom with the weather, Off we set for Lima and took the overnight bus to Mancora.
Arriving back to Jeff and Kika can only be described as returning to a long lost family, their welcome and need to make you feel comfortable is overwhelming and we settled in quickly, I have missed their hash browns.
So here we are again surrounded by palm trees, sunny days, the sound of the ocean and the embrace of good friends.