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Published: December 5th 2016
Our return to Lima wasn't without pain, the all night bus journey from Puerto Montt was followed by a quick taxi ride to Santiago airport and a ridiculously long check in period. Ruth has had a nasty allergic reaction to something so a quick trip to the chemist was necessary before another long wait going through customs. It was then time to chill for a few hours before our flight, there were no cameras in Chile's duty free stores and only a few inadequate for my needs at Lima airport, I really need a decent one.
We were quickly out of the airport and into a cab to our hotel in Miraflores, unfortunately the cabby was useless and we got lost, she wouldn't listen to my directions and her phone was flat do she couldn't call the hotel. I had to jump out and ask some kids for directions before she would listen and then to cap if off I left my tablet in the car when we finally arrived and I thought it was gone for good. Fortunately the hotel guy managed to get it back for us.
The next day dawned sunny with a refreshing sea breeze
Translation motor guinea pig
so we made our way to an electronics store about 30 minutes away from our hotel and finally discovered a decent but very expensive camera to replace the one I broke in Antarctica taxes are exorbitantlying high on these types of goods in Peru. On the return walk we discovered an excellent souvenir market where we spent a few dollarseconds, Lima a is a much cheaper place and has a better selection than most places we have been so far.
On returning to the hotel we booked a bus tickets from La Victoria near the Stadium Nacional to the town of Barranca some four hours to the north then hopped in a taxi to the station.
The journey to Barranca was mainly along the Pacific Coast with often huge dunes along the eastern side of the highway eventually we arrived in a town that sees few tourists. I hailed a tuktuk which delivered us to our small hotel which is run by a young lad who Ruth calls Adonis because the boy really works out. We were "lucky" to meet a German-French couple who helped us organise ongoing travel up the coast. Later that evening we went out
for a meal with these people before almost being bitten by a dog on the way back to the hotel.
We left the hotel a little after 8am travelling the 25 kilometres to South America's oldest city located in a valley near the modern village of Caral. This 5000 year old site I found fascinatingly but Ruth found it a little dull, we then visited another site near the ocean of the same vintage called Aspero. This city was a fishing community, more is known about this community as more relics had been excavated. Time was passing and we were concerned that we needed to be on our way by 130pm as we had a long way to travel, unfortunately the selfish French woman kept saying you have plenty of time until her German husband decided enough was enough and we returned to Barranca.
On arrival we grabbed our luggage expecting to get on our way but the French woman insisted we drop her at the bus station using up, even more time, by now both Ruth and I were becoming annoyed and with reason as we would not arrive in Trujillo till 10pm. We saw the Fortaleza
Paramonga as we headed north towards our next destination the 1600 bc temple at Sechin. This temple is constructed of rock slabs with carved depictions of warriors violently eviscerating captives, we also encountered Peruvian hairless dogs for the first time, apparently the government has decreed that this endangered species be kept at archaeological sites.
The drive to Trujillo seemed endless and by the time we arrived it was getting late and the driver got lost, finally we arrived at the Hostal Wanka. The hostal is located on the edge of what is really an attractive old town which had everything we needed, we did our washing, visited the supermarket I even had a haircut. The next morning we visited the huge adobe Chimu city of Chan Chan which was left in ruins after the Spanish conquest, the city once held 60,000 residents with the highlight being the partly restored Nik An walled palace. We arranged a guide here spending well over an our exploring this incredible building.
After a brief visit to the museum we headed to the Chimu Huaca Arco Iris (rainbow temple) which had some fantastic carved reliefs we also bought a pot here similar to
those made centuries before. The remainder of the day was spent wandering the Trujillo old town, unfortunately there were no decent pubs here.
Next day would be incredibly long, after visiting the wonderful Moche temple of the moon and it's blood thirsty effigies we travelled about an hour north to the seaside temple of El Brujo and it's famous female mummy the Lady of Cao. This mummy of a 25 year old tattooed and incredibly richly dressed woman of power was not found by grave robbers so her and her rich funerary objects are highlights of the small museum. The Huaca Cao Vieja itself was quite dramaticly perched over the ocean, while passing through the nearest village the damn driver picked up a couple of hitchhikers which annoyed us no end as we had payed for the vehicle for the day.
On return to Trujillo we visited the city museum before eating a big meal and picking up supplies for the marathon bus ride to come. We checked out at 11pm and headed to the bus station, our bus arrived an hour and a half late which was tragic as we were both buggered so at 130am we
climbed aboard. The bus was modern and comfortable with movies and food so even though it was late I had high hopes for the journey unfortunately that all changed when the little horrors at the back woke up and spent the next 14 hours screaming, the only break was when we crossed the Ecuadorean border and we were allowed off the bys and their over indulgent parents took them into the mens toilets to bath them.
Finally we arrived in Guayaquil exhausted and ready to sleep after what turned out to be a twenty hour journey. The hotel was excellent as were the helpful staff who went out of there way to help us deal with some unexpected problems, when I recieved an email in Spanish telling me my Galapagos flight had been cancelled, I managed to sort that to our benefit with their help.
Guayaquil is Ecuadors largest city and has a significant crime problem to combat this heavily armed security guards are located in areas of historic and commercial value which allows safe passage by gringos like us. We were able to visit the sights of the city without overt concern for our safety and visited
The oldest city in South Amrrica
the Parque de Bolivar and it's wonderful iguanas, the beautifully restored Malecon with it's museums, historical buildings and entertainment facilities and the lovely hillside barrios of Las Pena. Guayaquil has a history of pirate attacks so the hilltop had a strong pirate flavour including a bar near the Santa Ana church and lighthouse.
On our final day in Guayaquil we returned to Iguanas Parque then did some souvenir shopping on the Malecon, I bought a Panama hat to keep the sun off as it is 33 degrees today, before taking a cab out to Zoologico el pantanal to see some South American wildlife. The site is supposed to be a rescue centre for injured animals but we saw no evidence of that. We did see some unique species for the first time including the Tayra, Coastal Wolf and Harpy Eagle.
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