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June 18th 2010
Published: June 18th 2010
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Piura to Mancora

Well, its been a wonderful few days here in the tiny beach town of Mancora in the north of Peru. I wanted sun and warmth, and boy did I get it. The overnight bus from Trujillo to Piura was uneventful, and I arrived a little sleepy in Piura around 5:30 in the morning. I asked the lady pretty dazed where the EPPO bus terminal was (this is supposedly the most safe bus up to this area) and she told me only a few blocks away. It was dark outside and I considered waiting to walk to the other terminal but ran into a nice girl from Scotland who suggested we walk together. Once again, my mantra, everything seems to work out when it needs to.

The bus ride to Mancora was fairly long, about 4 hours because of all the stops in new towns. Lots of people seem to commute north for the day to work, distribute newspapers and what not, so I had a new seat buddy after every stop. Finally, the last stop, we pulled into the small surfing town of Mancora and I could finally see the beautiful ocean. As we drove in I saw my hostel I had pre-booked on the left, Loki Hostel. The bus terminal was a bit away (not really that far but I was exhausted) so I negotiated a quick ride on a tuk tuk for 2 soles. I was relieved to arrive at the Loki, its a beautiful complex and I was showed immediately to my room, a girls 6 bed dormitory. Some of the girls were still asleep, so I changed quickly and headed out to enjoy the beach for a while. It felt so good to get some sun and I also stopped in to have a quick breakfast at the bar at the hostel, a cheap and delicious egg delight. The rest of the morning was spent at the pool and talking with random travelers at the hostel. Every girl in my dorm was traveling solo so it was nice to have a little company.

As I talked with people, I asked what they had been doing, where they were going. It is so easy to conduct market research when you are in the middle of this crazy traveling culture. Most people are on the road for one to two years, and I find it really interesting to listen to their stories. The Loki hostel is what I would like to call a foreign frat house or a backpackers beach heaven. Its full of gringos, always a party, and you can charge everything to your account and pay at the end. It's like a backpackers version of an all inclusive beach resort. The music plays until 2 am at the hostel and 4 am at the beach bars right next door and then the world cup games have been starting at 6:30 am. Surprisingly the first couple of nights I was able to sleep through this craziness, guess I was pretty tired. Anyways, if you love a party, its a great place to be, if not I would stay somewhere else and you can always wander over to the Loki to meet people and go to the bar. And for around $8 US a night, you really can't beat the setup.

So needless to say for the last few days all I have done is lay in the sun, get burned/tan, sleep and eat. The restaurants here are really amazing. Surprising for this tiny town so far from any major metroplex. Since I came I have had fantastic ceviche, thai food, sushi, mexican and some eclectic mixes of local cuisine and whatever's fresh that day. Most of the food is really authentic, the thai in particular shocked me and I even really enjoyed the mexican place, and I am pretty picky about that if you don't already know. I met some really interesting travelers and always seemed to have someone to grab a bite with or a beer. The most fabulous part is that I probably haven't spent more than $10 on one meal and thats usually a HUGE meal. Really fresh seafood, and ceviche for under $5. Its paradise.

Only a couple of hiccups in the last day, but nothing too ridiculous. I went to look for my passport in my locker yesterday to get my bus ticket for the trip to Ecuador and couldn't find it ANYWHERE. This is pretty unusual for me, its usually attached to me in some form of fashion so I panicked. Turns out the front desk at the hostel left it on the copier and forgot to give it back to me, so they'd had it for the last few days in their safe. Would have been nice
Looking for CrabsLooking for CrabsLooking for Crabs

Hilarious watching this dog dig for crabs
to know earlier, but it was more a relief to know someone had it and I didn't have to go back to Lima for a new one. Then I bought my bus ticket to leave at 9:30 this morning to go to Guayaquil and stay the night before heading to Riobamba. Turns out two major problems. When I packed up and headed to the office this morning, they told me my bus had broken down in Piura and would not be traveling that day. So the next cama bus (seats that recline - very important for an 8 hour ride) was not until 9 pm. SO, here we are, I leave hopefully in a few hours and will do the border crossing in the wee hours of the morning and arrive in Guayaquil at 5:30 am. Other problem, the tourist train (the devil's nose) in Riobamba is apparently shut down for 6 months from March for repairs. SO, I'm going to try and take a detour and head down to Cuenca to hang out for a few days before heading up to Quito to meet the girls.

So, minus the issues, I am relaxed, a bit tired but I'll catch up on that later and have managed to get a decent amount of work done and writers recruited in the past few days. Mission accomplished. Plus my tan is back a bit after so many days in the "cold" of the south. I'll catch you up on wherever I land in Ecuador in a few days! Cheers!


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