the traveling part of traveling sometimes makes for more entertaining stories than enjoyable experiences...
so, to catch up...
firstly, i last miss-posted about the amazon. that´s still a few days ahead.
our last night in cusco was spent with our trekking buddies, jeremy, neil and finlay. we went out for curry and beers and had a merry old time. this was after around 4 hours of trying to book flights out of cusco and onto piura on the northern coast.
the next morning, we took a taxi to the airport, hopped a prop plane (!) to lima, and then eventually a plane to piura. the idea of piura was to spend a day or two relaxing at the nearby beachs, eat some ceviche and plan on getting over the border to ecquador. we ended up spending very little time in piura. nice enough town, but quite different than the south. far less friendly people; in fact, it seemed almost like we were in a different country altogether, which makes sense, as the piura people do not consider themselves peruvian. we did eat at a fantastic restaurant called cappucino and stayed at a hostel recommended by our friend brian.
the next day, we went to the bus terminal, and bought tickets for the 3:45 hour trip to las organos, which is nearby a cluster of beaches at the very northern coast. we road along through the desert, the only tourists on the bus. the bus stopped on the road in las organos, but nobody said anything and we weren´t sure if we had reached our stop. after a few minutes, the bus continued on to the next stop, mancora. so we had indeed missed our stop.
mancora is the touristy, surf beach in the area. quite different than what we had set out for, but we got off the bus, pushed through the throngs of little moto-taxi drivers hounding us for a fair, and walked along the boardwalk until we found a hostal on the beach. a bit of a party hostal actually, which is not my thing at all. either way, a nice little bungalow. spent the next day and a half eating our cibiche (spelled differently here) and watching the kite-surfers. ok place, but a bit twenty-something party spot for my tastes. dorota didn´t mind it though.
next, we booked a bus for the border crossing to loja. this would go a bit south and around, so that we could skip the famously horrible border crossing at tumbes. 6:50a.m. the next morning, we awaited our bus but were instead instructed to board an old, worn out van, which was already full of peruvians. we were squashed into the back seat, complete with 2 year old, kicking and screaming nightmare child (who constantly kicked dorota) for the next two hours to a bus terminal in an awful little spot (the name escapes me), where we eventually boarded the 9 hour bus to loja. strangely, i found all this amusing.
eventually reaching loja, we grabbed a hotel we read about in our rough guide, got dinner and went to sleep, unsure of what to do next.
the next day (yesterday), we got up and impulsively grabbed van tickets to cuenca. after a three hour ride, which was actually about as lovely as that could be, along gorgeous mountains, with a wonderful soundtrack of afro-ecquadorian music, we arrived in cuenca.
cuenca is a nice, spanish colonial town, with a quite lively night-life, expensive shopping, lots of food and great old architecture. our van dropped us off in some neighborhood, with no real instruction of where to go. we walked out onto the street, a bit baffled, and were quickly greeted by estaban, a local dude, who happily helped us on our way, by recommending a hostal, and flagging a taxi. happy with the universes little gift, we went on to the downtown square of cuenca, eventually found the hostal, which turned out to be full, and went back out on the street a bit confused. we were then instantly greeted by nadia, 65 year -old czech woman living in arizona, traveling on her own, who directed us to another hostal.
grabbed our room, and strolled around the town, having ice cream and taking photos. later, we bumped into nadia, which awaiting the music festival beginning on our street, and started chatting. she´s awesome. used to travel with her husband, who passed away last year. she´s traveling by herself, much to the dismay of her three grown kids in the u.s. she´s traveling the way we do, just figuring it out as she goes. we went to dinner and beers and hung out all night. did we mention that she´s awesome? then estaban and sam (from new york) strolled in and sat at our table and we had a merry time planning our next steps. estaban is quite enthusiastic about all the ecquadorian sites. sam is a young social worker (who´s uncle was the notorious music lawyer/manager who famously stole the song catalogs from the rolling stones and the beatles) on her first big trip, nadia is a retired teacher, and we all had lots to chat about.
we were going to get up this morning and go to a park, parque nacional cajas, but dorota is a bit under the weather, so we are just chilling a bit in cuenca. we will probably split tomorrow and head toward alausi to take a train that you get to sit on the top of, and which goes to the coast. shortly thereafter, will be jungle and volcanos. so hopefully our next post will be more exciting.
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