Well, that was the title I thought up for this new post about an hour-and-a-half ago when I first entered this noisy internet place. The cars and trucks and motorcycles go by with a roar and a heavy tooting, but at least, their exhaust doesn´t affect me so badly as the place in Cuenca, because they have good fans and I´m sitting in a little protected carel which helps a lot. But, doing all the necessary email-checking and double blog site administration can be a wearying task and now that it´s time to be creative, I´m all worn out with the effort and the environmental noise. Must begin to blog first and do the other stuff last…but news from home is still the most important agenda.
I stayed over an extra day in Piura, Peru, so I´ve had a full night´s sleep and lots of good healthy food and all is well with the world. Man, with a nice little map of this town, I got all over the place today, buying stuff I needed, like some cooler cotton shirts for this 84 degree heat, cosmetics, toothpaste, English-language magazines!!! (big triumph); lunch at a health food restaurant; and information on tomorrow´s next bus trip.
Egad! To fly from here to Lima is $150, so forget that! Besides, there´s such a thing as a bus cama, which is a bed bus- tremendously, impressively modern, with kid glove leather seats that either recline halfway (semi cama), for $30, or that recline almost all the way (sofa cama) for $36. Now, that´s the one that gets me all the way to Lima from here, a 14-hour journey, which leaves at 6:30 p.m. so one sleeps through the night, and voila! you get there around noon the next day!
I must go back to the hotel and study up on this situation, but I´m thinking that I´ll break the journey into two chunks and travel to Trujillo in either a semi-recliner ($8) or a sleeper ($12) (but it´s daytime and I want to see out, so semi is good.) Seems like they practically clean your teeth for you. AC, bathroom aboad. All buses have bathrooms, but I don´t even peek in the door at them. This fancy deal, I might trust. (I didn´t mean to italicize this but God wants me to, as I can´t make it go away, and I do know how. Woops! Fumes are getting to me after all.)
You should see these buses! They are top of the line, creme de la creme, and that´s why I think I´ll wangle a way to do them twice and break up the trip. After enjoying Trujillo for awhile, I can bus on to Lima for 8 hours on one of these babies for approx. $20 (semi), $26 for sofa, and $36 for the super cama where they clean your teeth for you???? Serve you supper???? Chew it for you???? For anyone wanting to know the bus company, it´s ITTSA.
Now, how´s that for bagging a great adventure all in one day? I came home from that fancy bus station just swingin´. The groove is back! I´m on top of my game. Peru is the place! This didn´t happen in those upper countries I´ve just been in. Don´t know why. But, I like this feeling….so, Peru is GREAT!
I might say anything and not even know it. Writing this blog happens to be a fill-in just now to get through the next 55 minutes before the hotel dining room begins to serve dinner at 7 p.m. Having been doing some hard-slogging bus riding for the past two days, I have actually eaten very little, but today I have had only two apples and two small pieces of candy. Yesterday was only a little bit better, though I did get a light supper.
But, I´m in Peru! On Tuesday morning, I took off at 9 a.m. from Cuenca, Ecuador and traveled for about seven hours to Loja, Ecuador where I spent the night in a pretty good hotel ($10)….no hot water. Today, I had to rise at 5:30 a.m. to make the 7 a.m. bus and dressed in many layers in the Andean morning chill. As we came out of the high regions (gorgeous, loopy highway….all below the treeline) I stripped down to the lighter clothing underneath.
We crossed the Peruvian border around 3 p.m. by walking across the International Bridge as our bus waited up ahead, spent some time with the authorities and passport paperwork and finally continued on into Peru. This is a noticeably poorer country and much of the housing between this city of Piura and the border was made of mud bricks, wattle, woven bamboo, and tree-branch fencing. I guess also, the weather is warmer and fairly constant, so they don´t need the insulation the Ecuadorians do at the higher elevations. But, it´s pretty subsistence in most cases.
After having been at home in India for three months, I felt a little as if I was right back there, with all the three-wheel motorcycle taxis running around Piura. But, there are no beggars here, so it´s really not a good comparison. Just felt similar to be on the roadway.
My well-worn copy of The Lonely Planet is saving the day on these unannounced arrivals in strange cities. I pick out a hotel from their recommendations and then tear out the map of that city, so I can instruct the taxi driver, holding my breath that they will have a room available. The Hotel Peru here turned out to be a good surprise. It has a very fancy exterior and also a fancy lobby. Tired, dirty and hungry, I would have paid anything just to have the journey over with, so when the desk clerk showed me the calculator with 49 on it, I nodded that I would take it. However, I am now in a new currency situation – the sol – though I was still thinking in U.S. dollars because that´s what Ecuador uses.
It happened that the room cost 49 sol, and at approx. three sol to the dollar, that came to $15.85. Fantastic! Plus, it actually has hot water….not the cold that the $10 Loja hotel had to offer. I am considering perhaps staying here an extra day just to break up the travel between here and Lima. I can fly and be there in an hour, or I can continue two more days on the bus and see the country I´m passing through. Will make a decision on a full stomach.
Which should be happening in about thirty minutes, as I have made it to 6:30 p.m. without fainting. If I stay awhile in town, I will blog tomorrow. Otherwise, you shall hear from me anon. I do intend to do justice to that spinal column analogy at some point in the future, when I am neither blood-sugar-challenged nor auto-exhaust-poisoned.