Published: December 29th 2008November 28th 2008
As we have been travelling for a while now we reviewed our progress as we sat in Miraflores, one of the nicest suburbs of Lima. The chifa restaurant that we sat in allowed us to take stock of our progress and nibble on a prawn wonton at the same time. We collectively agreed that the pace that we had undertaken for most of our travels perhaps brought the most experiences towards our door but at this point in time we wanted to slow down and just chill out somewhere. So we thought that we would head up the Peruvian coast towards the area surrounding Trujillo, specifically to a beach town called Huanchaco.
Prior to our decision we had spent a lovely couple of days hanging around Lima, during which we had organised a bus trip through Cruz Del Sur. We opted for a bit of luxury and paid a couple more soles to get the 1st class area. It really means that you have some more leg room and you are closer to the TV to hear the spanish dubbing of various American titles. We had decided to take an overnight bus and my experience previously was that when trying
to sleep on these trips it feels as if you have bedded down in a can of tuna, so the extra room would be welcomed. The journey was excellent, no worries at all, so arriving in Trujillo was a bit of a shock when the traditional taxi barrage occured as soon as you step out of the bus.
We had looked at a few places to stay but did not book anywhere, as advised by our host in Lima it was low season and most places would have spaces. Well true to form the first couple of places were busy so we took some advice from our taxi driver as he suggested a very up market hotel resting on the beach. As we entered into the gated solace of cleanliness we thought that the bank would not stretch this far. However after a bit of Smith haggling, calculator tapping and general need for a place to put our heads down we decided that it would be nice to stay in a place and treat it almost as if it was a holiday from travelling. I can hear the crys from the audience of ¨what, you need a holiday from
not working for ten months?¨ OK, perhaps it was a bit extravagent but it was also so nice to stay at the Hotel Brancamonte, having clean towels daily, your own bathroom and a bit of fruit for breakfast. As Em and I were still the Peruvian petrie dishes we had carried bugs from the Inca trail still so having your own facilities meant that we could hope for a solid motion within our stay.
Our first day in Huanchaco produced what can only be described as brilliant blue skies and beaming sunshine. We thought that we would get some sun over the next few days for me to go brown and for Em´s freckels to join up. However with the influence of the humbolt current we were quickly informed on day two that the previous weather had been some what an anomaly. It was crazy, a sea fog would engulf the town, some days it would clear and the sun would reign but other times it was a white out.
Huanchaco is near the famed surf breaks of Chicama and PacosMayo, so Smith was more than happy, but it also boasts a boulder encrusted beach that for our
stay of eight days produced 3ft to 5ft waves everyday with a cool whisp of offshore breeze caressing the faces for all to glide. No more surf talk, except to say that waves of your life were had and Smith got in the water twice a day.
Over the eight days we ventured in and around town, trying to find both life and variety of sustinance to keep us occupied. Huanchaco is a quiet sleepy beach town that comes alive over the summer months of Jan and Feb. We saw a slight glimpse of this when the weekend rolled in and bus loads of Trujillians stepped off for the day. It must have been like the miners coming down from the valleys to Barry Island, however I am sure that far less Strongbow was drunk in Huanchaco and not so much robbing either. The food menus were pretty similar at most places with them trying to promote the delicacy of the region, Cerviche, it is raw fish cooked with lime juice, herbs and always accompanied with salted onions and glimmer of greenery. We sampled it a couple of times but after a night where Em was duely talking to
the big white telephone we gave it a miss. Mostly we shared our culinary interests around town, sampling either tasty food in dingy places or bad food in fantastic colonial surroundings. That was until we stumbled across a beachside place that served a fine mixed grill, BBQed to perfection. We actually had our own table by the time we decided to leave.
Walking around town you would meet the same faces, all encounters greeted with a smile and ¨Hola¨for all to take with them. The pace of the town is great to relax into and most people there seemed to be completely content with their daily chores. It is documented that surfing was actually invented by the local fishermen, they use reed woven boats to set out their nets and as they return they use the surf to carry them back to shore. The boats are called Caballitos de Totora (Small Totora Reed Horses) and make for a fantastic sight when you are sitting out back with them all chilling around you. This coupled with the inevitable flock of Pelicanos sweeping around your head makes for a invigorating vibe in the water.
We practiced our Spanish, getting down
with the locals and it has surprisingly come along very nicely. Stuart highlighted his multi lingual expertise when on an errand for some extra loo roll he ventured out to the local shops unaccompanied but with a very specific task. Along the route he practiced his sentence a couple of times and when entering the shop he brimmed with confidence and look forward to the chatter that was about to commence. After ordering some less important items of water and ice lollies, he conveyed his message in what he thought was perfect spanish. A roll of toilet paper was requested, the man behind the counter walked slowly towards a non descript rack in the shop, bent over to retrieve the items and then picked up three potatoes. Now I know that they do things a bit funny over here but these spuds were never going to aid Emma in her digestive plight. So Smith reviewed his approach, scowered the shop for a physical example and then was relieved to find a whole wall of toilet tissue behind him. The man did find the funny side and actually wiped a tear when handing over the goods. I will let you make
the correct translation, I would only get it wrong again.
Em was plied with red wine one evening and convinced to take a surf lesson with a local guy named Chicho, who turned out to be a legend with the instruction of a saint. Perhaps some of you are aware, but the last time Em tried to surf she decided to swallow most of the small rubble placed on the French beach. So Chicho took the task in hand and with great guidance Em had a fun couple of hours in the water, standing up on key and really having a good time.
At the end of our stay we had to move hostels, the hotel put it down to a large group of Americans coming into town but I think it was the collection of soap and towels that we had racked up. So we moved a couple of hundred meters down the road to El Malcon, a place with absolute sea views and a love of national flags.
So after eight days of catching some tan and more waves we had used our time up for the North of Peru and looked to move onto
our next leg. It would be a mammouth journey of travel to Lima and then Montevideo. Well we both agreed that it was cool to stop the clock for a while but that we were ready to pick up the pace.
There are more photos below