Made it to Ecuador...just!

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June 19th 2007
Published: June 19th 2007
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Finally arrived in Ecuador yesterday, after yet another bus epic. This time a fan belt broke on the bus between Trujillo and Piura back in Peru. Somehow the onboard mechanic contrived to not know how to fix it, and we had to wait about 5 hours for the recovery truck to come and fix us. By which time all chances of getting my connection to Ecuador where scuppered. So, an extra night in Piura on my last 20 soles, not the nicest place in the world by any means.

The following day was a long and hot one, about 12 hours in total in the bus, but not without some excitement, before finally arriving at a little mountain resort called Vilcabamba at about 8pm.

Well I will sum up the last few days of my trip soon (internet here is expensive). From Huaraz I headed north and down to Huanchaco, the beach resort close to Trujillo. Surprisingly cool there considering we´re only a few degrees off the equator, but the sea mist that rolls in keeps things cool enough to be wearing jumpers. Met up with Lukas again there (last few days of his trip) and we hung out, mainly in a dutch cake shop next to our hostal eating apple pie and ice cream. Also tried my hand once at surfing. I intended it to be more, but the following day I was stiff as anything all over and somehow I managed to drag this excuse out for the entire rest of the stay. I will try it again sometime though,,, after all I did actually manage to stand up on the board (albeit after they gave me the easiest board, i.e. a plank, that they had).

Okay, back to Vilcabamba... I´ve just been for a hike up a fairly dramatic and windy mountain called Mandango (I like the name). In fact a little scary since there were ridges with huge drops on both sides (also a little scary since the girl at the start hut told me not to take valuables up because there had been thefts reported). I tried a different path down, end result I got ripped to shreds by the local flora and covered in huge spider´s webs that were hanging across the path. It was fun though.

Piccies and more descripts to come...

Okay here´s a bit more:
I´m now regretting not staying longer in Huaráz (Ecuador hasn´t been too kind to me so far). I´d just got to know the place, especially the delights of Cafe Andino, and spent the last day with a couple of people from my hostal (great place - Albergue Churup) relaxing in the sun lounge at Cafe Andino and looking up (with some degree of pride) at that mountain that i´d conquered the previous day.

Well for better or worse i´d booked my ticket on, the night bus to Trujillo to meet Lukas. I arrived at 6am to a cold and overcast sky. Immediately I realised my mistake. Still no turning back - I had the hostel where Lukas was staying on the beachfront. It turned out to be a pretty nice place, with a little courtyard and hammocks. And things were looking a whole lot better that afternoon when the sun finally poked through the clouds. We both hit the surf boards - me with a tutor seeing as it was my first time. Well unfortunately they gave me a tough board to start out with. And for the first hour I struggled to do anything sensible, despite good form practising on the beach. By the time an easy board became available I have to say I was absolutely knackered. That initial jump to my feet turned into a laborious swagger to my feet, so it was with much surprise I found myself surfing my one and only wave. After that I´d had enough.

The next day was spend doing nothing, eating ceviche on the waterfront, and to our surprise bumping into some old friends, Bryan and Marisa who we´d met back in La Paz. I survived for a bit of pool (and a random art show) at Sabes Bar but ducked out early still feeling the effects of too many night buses and that surfing the previous day. Oh we also entertained some Trujillan students that Lukas had somehow met before I´d arrived. They were a nice bunch of 3 girls (very young, but one already with baby!), and one in particular seemed to take a shine to Lukas judging by the number of photos she insisted on taking draped across him. Hohoho! Still it was a chance to practice that rarely used conversational spanish. I should also say they were horrified when I revealed my age...

The next day we visited Chan Chan, the historical site that you literally drive through between Trujillo and Huanchaco. That turned out to be pretty spectacular. Apparently it was an old city of several 10´s thousand people predating the Incas. Most of it resembles piles of earth, easily mistakable for nothing at all. But one particular area is better preserved (despite being by the coast, it never rains there so the mud walls have stayed in good condition) than the rest, plus is undergoing restoration, the Palace compound. The scale of the whole site was the most impressive feature. And it was quite photogenic too.

That evening a few more drinks in the Sabes bar, but surprisingly for our last night together on the trip, again an early one. Lukas was heading to Lima, then on back to the Czech Republic a few days later (I heard from him and he´s doing well) and me north. The last morning we went for a quick walk with another couple from the hostel to see the reeds growing on the beach. The reeds are used by the locals to make their boats, ideally designed for handling the surf.

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