leaving lima and the road to huanchaco

  • dunes
  • dunes and mountains
  • sun setting on the road

The problem I have with big cities, and particularly South American ones, is that they're just that, big cities. When your bus arrives at the outskirts after being mostly in small villages for days, you, or maybe just me, start feeling stiffled by the pollution, traffic and surrounding slums. And, arriving in Lima was no different. In fact, I really just wanted to leave the night I arrived.

And this is where the second big problem with big cities comes in. As much as you want to leave they somehow find a way of holding you there. What was meant to be a stopover of 4 hours has turned into 4 days. Without getting into too many details, it was really a combination of wanting to meet up with somebody, wanting to get a surfboard and repair my camera, the misinformation about the travel strikes (which according to some went ahead, and according to others didn't) and also the other big problem with big cities: the temptation of the big city night life!! This last point has regularly been my timeline downfall on this trip.

Hannes, the German dude who'd been travelling with me for a while was getting pretty restless about going for a party night in Lima - I wanted to chill. But, on Tuesday night after being told that the travel strike was definitely going ahead on Wednesday, I figured I'd be stuck in Lima the next day anyway, so I may as well sleep off the party on the Wednesday. So, after dinner with 2 very sweet German girls, Anya and Cristine (who are aupairing in California and were the cause of every Peruvian guy injuring his neck when they walked down the street) we decided to go to a club, recommended by the waitresses at the place we were in. We also bumped into my friend Rob, who I met on the trek to Machu Picchu, and who subsequently hooked up with a Peruvian girl on one of our night's out in Cusco, with whom he has been hanging out with since - seen this before with a friend who island hopped with me in Greece and met a local girl and then never left the island again - hoping I don't get this whipped by anybody!

The club we ended up at was pretty sleazy. When we got there after 1am it was empty: there were 2 very scantily clad girls on the dancefloor. These girls were clearly prostitues - I'm not making any mightier-than-though judgement here based on what they were wearing, I was told by the barmen. Apparently this happens in clubs here much like it does in Rio de Janeiro - these girls go to clubs and basically "hit on" foreigners and then when the guy is on top of the world 'cause such a hotty is hitting on him, the girl explains the price options. Fortunately though, as charming as I can be (hahaha), it is extremely rare (or rather, impossible) for a drop dead gorgeous girl to come up to me in a club and rub ub against me in a way that would make a porn star blush, so when one of the 2 did this I didn't really need anybody to point out the fact that she was a 'ho, and swiftly told her I was not interested and walked away. Still, I was flattered cause it must mean I look like I have a big.....wallet. Later the club got pretty packed with some more normal people and we partied til pretty early. One girl spent most of the time trying to teach me to salsa - it didn't work. I think whilst I have latin blood, I have not inherited the latin rythm and opted for the wounded seagull dance instead.

As expected, I spent much of the next day lying in my hostel bed in the feautol position, tapping my heels saying "There's no place like home...." - these all nighters really take it out of somebody in their 30s. In the early evening I eventually got myself out of bed, told the new guys in my room I wouldn't be joining them for a night out, and headed down to the TV room and watched movies and pigged out on crisps. It felt great to have a semi-normal night for the first time in months of having to be sociable and chatty pretty much every night.

This morning, Thursday the 9th of July, I woke up full of energy and excited about the prospect of leaving for the surfing village. I had been invited to party with the German girls tonight and also still hoped I'd see Adela (the French girl from Cusco) but before the party tempation kicked in again and not sure if Adela and Isa were on their way or not, I jumped in the shower, packed my bag and checked out! Huanchaco and Puerto Chicama here I come! I said cheerio to Hannes who's been my travel bud for over a month now. So far he's the person I've travelled with for the longest so it felt strange saying "See ya around dude!" So we'll have to have some World Cup beers in South Africa next year.

The bus trip so far has been that of striking landscape beauty. The coastal region is pretty much desert, so for the past 5 hours I have been surrounded by sand dunes with high mountains to the east. I have a great seat in the top front of the bus with massive windows in front and to the side of me. Occasionally the dunes clear to reveal amazing stretches of desserted and foggy, almost ghostly coastline with what appears to be very surfable breaks. I think if I had a car and a tent, I could spend weeks travelling up this road stopping at every good spot.. I've also spent a good few hours catching up on work for my clients back in London - work which is well overdue.

Nightfall now, and in a couple of hours I'll finally be in Huanchaco - too excited to sleep.