After 20 hours travelling from Nazca (via Lima) we finally arrive in Trujillo. We are tired and we are stinking. Our hotel is not far from the busstation. There is a bed. Fine. There is a shower. Fantastic!! There is a tap. Wonderful! But when I stand naked under the shower it turns out that there is no water. Hallelujah! We leave the hotel, we even leave all Trujillo. Huanchaco is our next destination. It is a little village at the coast, not far from Trujillo. Water will be a major topic during our stay here.
´Hospedaje El Oceano´ is the name of our new hotel. It is one minute walking to the beach. There is a big billboard at the corner of the street advertising all the advances. The hotel comes with a ´View on the Ocean´, we read. Indeed, when you stretch your head out of the window of one of the rooms and turn it 90 degrees, it must be possible to get a glimpse of the Ocean. The front of the house is painted in Ocean-blue. The rest of the house is not painted at all. You can see the rough bricks. ´WiFi, TV´, promisses
the billboard, ´Warm Showers´... We hardly can believe it. But it is true. And it is cheap!
The owner is smiling. He wears a shirt with the name of the hotel on it. He says we better can leave our passports in the room, when we go to the beach and that we always have to hand in the keys. He speaks slowly. Actually we like to take a shower and go to sleep.
´We have guests from all over the world´, he continues friendly.
I try to say in my best Spanish (my Spanish is so good, that some people ask if I come from Italy), that we just come from Nazca and made a bustrip of more than 20 hours.
The owner nods. He understands.
´Where are you from?´
´I am from Holland and Linda is from Slovakia.´
´That was before Tsjechoslovakia.´
The key of our room is turning between his fingers. There are 4 rooms in the hotel. We have roomnumber 104.
´That was Russian, is it not?´
´Well actually...´, I try to find the words to explain in my Italospanish that the situation was a bit different.'
´You are the first
Russian we have here in our hotel´, concludes the owner with a big smile to Linda and gives us the keys.
Happily we smile back.
Choco is archaeologist. Actually Choco is not his real name, but they call him Choco because of the colour of his skin.
´I have Indian blood. I think the Moches were my ancestors. My wife is from Holland. So my daughter is completely mixed.´
´The Moches had a nice culture, but they lost influence, continues Choco. El Niño changed in those times. The consequence was, that heavy rains destroyed more and more the crops on their lands. So people did not believe in their priests anymore. They failed to predict the rains.´
The Moches lived up to 700 AD. They were followed up by the Chimus. The Chimus lived all over the northern coast of the country. They stored lots of gold and were well organized. But also the Chimus disappeared. They were defeated by the Inca´s. That was around 1450, just before the Spanish came.
´The Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimus´, explains Choco. We are walking in between the ruins of the huge Chan Chan complex. We see drawings
of seals, cormorants, fishes and pelicans in the sandstone walls. They are surrounded by waves of the sea.
´The Inca´s were not interested in the gold of the Chimus´, says Choco. They were interested in potatoes and tomatoes. The gold was taken by the Spanish.´.
Meanwhile we are walking around the Rainbow temple. In between the ruins we see a strange dog. It hardly has hairs. ´It is a Perro calato´, says Choco. ´The Moche and the Chimu had it already. There are drawings on old ceramics´. We heard about this dog. It is said that the bodytemperature is 3 degrees higher than human bodytemperature. People with arthritis use the dogs to warm them.
´But how was it possible the Chimus lost their power?´, we ask.
´Again it had to do with water´, explains Choco. The Moches lost their power because there was too much water. The Chimus, because there was a lack of water. Because of changes in the earthsurface their irrigationsystems did not work anymore. And it took too long to repair them.´
We walk back to the exit. ´Foreigners always talk about the Inca´s, but actually the Moches and the Chimus were far more interesting´, concludes Choco.
It is 5 pm and we like to go to the beach to see the surfers. The owner of the hotel stops us: ´No beach today.´ His face is serious. He looks like a captain of a freshwater ship.
´What is the matter?´
´Tsunami. You have to go to the church.´
We just saw the terrible impact of the Tsunami in Japan on tv. Could the tsunami have crossed the Pacific Ocean? And so quickly? We hardly can believe it. But when we gather around the church on top of a 20 meter high hill at the end of the village, we see more and more people. It is serious. We all look out over the sea, watching the tsunami which is supposed to come. But it becomes dark and finally we do not see anything anymore. We only hear the singing of the people inside the church. Would they know a tsunami is coming up? Or maybe that is the reason of their singing? If so it helped, because at 10 pm we hear we can go down again.
Down in the hotel we switch the tv on. It appears there has been an earthquake in front of
the coast of Chili. We are safe now. There is a movie on tv. ´Waterworld´. It is about a world completely under water. The cities float upon the sea. How is it possible they show this movie now? We know the movie already so we turn the tv off and go to sleep. No sooner we close our eyes, then the owner knocks on our door. ´Tsunami´.
We are in a hurry. Someone saw how the sea suddenly retired. But the owner cannot find the right key of the outer door. It takes hours before the door is open. Together with other people we run uphill to the church.
After midnight we can return. Next day we see parts of the boulevard are swallowed by the sea.
Next midnight we leave with Cruz del Sul for Guayaquil in Ecuador. When we awake next morning in our seats the landscape is still the same: desert, desert, desert. At Mancora we make a short stop. This city near the coast is the place where the Peruvians like to have their holidays. The spot inspired Ernst Hemingway to write his ´Man and the sea´(like Puerto Madryn inspired Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to write
his ´Le Petit Prince´and Ushuaia inspired Jules Verne to write ´Lighthouse at the end of the world'). Near the border with Ecuador we see more and more trees and when we finally pass the border there is a lush vegetation and a lot of bananas. Apparently the cold Humboldt stream has lost its influence here.
Actually we did not plan to go to Peru (and also not to Ecuador). Peru is preparing itself for elections. The Toledo´s, the Keiko´s (daughter of former president Fujimoro) and many more candidates laugh at us from the huge billboards at every corner of the street. Nevertheless 70 % of the population does not know whom to vote on. People are disappointed. We ourselves had a great time here: people are nice, nature is beautiful and the country has an interesting culture. And not to forget: the food is delicious.
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