Pete Perusing Perú

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I was woken up at silly o´clock this morning by a noisy neighbour. Unable to get back to sleep, I decided to have a pictorial review of life in Perú over the last 3 months. I have selected a few of my favourite photos.

Catapalla Lunahuaná

Having spent an unscheduled night out in Lunahuaná, my first thought as I got out of bed was of finding a shop that sells toothbrushes etc. I decided to go in search of a shop straight away.  DSCN0914 This was the view from the doorway of my room.  Marvellous!!

The hotel owner directed me to a shop close by and I was able to buy the few essentials that I needed.  It was at this time that I realised I would be needing to find a cash point quite soon. Well, if you ever visit Lunahuaná, be sure to take some money with you as there are no cash machines. This can have a serious impact on your day´s activities. It certainly did on mine.

Basically, I was stuffed. I could afford some of the activities but would almost certainly have needed to buy a change of clothes. I did however have enough money for breakfast.  What a shame then, when the large jug of papaya juice had to be rejected because of the onion additive.  I am all for trying new flavours or combinations of flavours but this just did not do it for me.IMG_0123

Breakfast was not as good as the previous day, sadly, not even worthy of a tip.  Never  mind, off we went around town looking at all the activities on offer. Sonia paid a visit to a bank, where she could withdraw money over the counter. It was confirmed to me at this time that there definitely were no cash machines in the area.

We made our way back to the hotel ready to check out. A group of people were just preparing to set off on a short tour on quads. There were some extremely young people among them. I mean, kids. Scary.  The hotel owner showed us a slideshow of a zipwire nearby, which looked great, right up until the time you had to get off it. I am up for an adventure but my leg is still not as strong as it should be and I have to say that I wimped out. I am sure that I will have other opportunities before long.

Eventually it was decided that we would go to another place, further upriver, Catapalla, where we could visit a vineyard and sample the wine.   It was just a short ride in a taxi and when we arrived, there was full sunshine.DSCN0939

There was a sweet little suspension bridge to cross in order to get to the vineyard.               .DSCN0934 My friend Sonia with her daughter Diana.DSCN0944And a sweet little old man.

I passed up the opportunity to go horse riding againDSCN0949and we made our way to the vineyard. It was at this point, I am sorry to say, that the battery in my camera went flat. Leaving me with just the ipod for taking pics. Not to worry though, we arrived just in time to be given a free lunch. Apparently, that is normal here. There was a good size crowd and we were all given a dish of noodles with a portion of chicken. Very tasty.

After lunch we went to the wine tasting and presentation. I can verify that neat Pisco is quite strong, I have had a sore throat for three days. We were also treated to various types of honey, perhaps to nullify the Pisco. If that was the case, it did not work. Tour over, it was time to cross back over the River Cañete and get a taxi back to Lunahuaná.

It was quite busy, and there were not many taxis so we had to wait a short while. Eventually, Sonia flagged down a taxi. She got in the back, I got into the front passenger seat and as Diana got in next to her mother, other people started to get in.  I was immediately unhappy with the situation as this was just a small family type car, five people maximum. Well,with me in the front and four people behind me, the driver was then shepherding people into the hatchback part of the vehicle. And then amazingly, the door opened beside me and a woman attempted to get in the front with me.

Totally perplexed, I decided in this instance, enough was too much. I pushed the woman back out of the car and shut the door. There then followed my first full on argument in Spanish. Well it was probably in gibberish from my side but I was adamant I was not allowing another person in the front with me. I proceeded to give a lecture on health and safety, followed by a lecture on treating tourists with respect if they wanted their money, followed by a lecture on how crap a person and how crap a driver he was. I was aware that I may have been embarrassing my companions but no, Diana said she was embarrassed on behalf of her country and Sonia was berating the driver for treating tourists so disrespectfully.

I had become accustomed to the lack of personal space due to the overcrowding in the buses but my main objection in this case was that he would not have proper control of the vehicle. That would be bad enough on a good straight road but this was on a bendy mountain road with some nasty drops into the river below.

I did offer to get out and walk, allowing the woman to have my seat but he would not have gained from that. He eventually squeezed her in the boot area with two or three others. I lost count in the end but there were nine, possibly ten people in a five seater car. There was not much else said on the trip back to Lunahuaná, just a gesture after we transferred onto a minibus.

Finally, some praise for the driver of the inter city bus we travelled back to Lima on. In my previous post, I said that the driver who drove us from Lima was shit. Well the driver on the return trip was a true professional and it was nice to see, particularly as we travelled through heavy rain for much of the journey.

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Mist and Mountains

Monday 29th July was a national holiday here in Peru. The whole weekend was pretty much like a bank holiday weekend back in the UK with lots of people heading off for a short break. I had already had a great weekend thanks to Sonia and her family treating me like an old friend  or a member of their family.  Amazing hospitality, which continued on Monday as Sonia and her daughter Diana, invited with me to go with them on a trip to Lunahuaná, a lovely little village almost 200 kms south of Lima and about 500m above sea level. It is situated beside the River Cañete, in the province of Cañete.DSCN0906What a great idea for a day  out. Except it was not just a day. No doubt I misheard the invitation but I was totally unprepared for a night out. With, hindsight it was obvious. With the vagaries and complexities of travel in Peru (which I intend to cover in another post), getting there and back on the same day using public transport was always going to be unlikely. Although I have been here six weeks now, I have previously only travelled within the city and a short distance outside.

The day had a leisurely start to it anyway.  After meeting up, we went to a restaurant for a typical Peruvian breakfast, which was like breakfast, lunch and perhaps a bit of dinner all combined.

English: Sweet potatoe from Perú, boiled and p...

English: Sweet potatoe from Perú, boiled and peeled Español: Camote del Perú, hervido y pelado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consisting of (I doubt that I will get this right), tamales, camotes, yuca, chicharrones and bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Español: Chicharrón colorado. Huancayo, Junín,...

Español: Chicharrón colorado. Huancayo, Junín, Perú. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With coffee of course.   Well set up for the day, let the journey commence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A relatively short taxi ride then, to where we boarded an inter city type bus bound for San Vicente, which is the capital of the Cañete Province. According to statistics, 1,100 were killed and more than 2,500 injured, in road accidents in Perú during 2011. The population at that time was a bit less than 30 million. Not good. Easy to understand, though, when you witness the standard of driving.

The bus driver was shit. No other word adequately describes his driving. From using a mobile phone while driving, drinking from a bottle, searching for CDs with one hand on the wheel and no eyes on the road ahead, to driving at more than 80 kph in a 30kph limit and having the temerity to blast his horn at pedestrians trying to get out of the way. I desperately wanted to say something, as I was in the front seat and nearest to the driver. I kept quiet because I did not want to embarrass my travelling companions. It was not easy.

However, we did arrive safely and transferred to a micro ( I think that is the term for this particular size bus), for the remainder of the journey to Lunahuaná.  About 30 kms of steadily improving scenery and weather. From the gloomy mist of Lima, which is an almost permanent feature at this time of year, to glorious sunshine. By now it was quite late in the afternoon but the sunshine was warm and the place was quite busy.DSCN0909

We had a stroll around the village and by now it was evident that I was completely, although not unusually these days, under-prepared. There was rafting, kayaking, there were quad bikes, a zip wire, abseiling, horse riding and more.  I did not even have a change of clothes with me.

However, if you want a holiday where you don´t have to travel around too much to enjoy multi – activities, this could well be your destination. That does not mean that there will not be problems. On the contrary, but I will deal with that in the next post.

After some more strolling around we started looking for somewhere to stay the night. It being a holiday, the prices had all been jacked up. Nevertheless, we were only going to be staying one night, so basic and adequate would suffice.

We found a place with vacancies although I was not convinced immediately. The pool for example, DSCN0925was not exactly olympic size. It was heated however, if you had time to wait for the sun to get high enough.

The rooms also were a bit small,IMG_0122 and the beds were outside. They were very comfortable though and I was soon asleep. IMG_0126 Though not before we had been out to a bar for a drink. It was Sonia´s birthday after all. The 3 Pisco Sours ( a strong yet tasty alcoholic drink), may have played a part in assisting me sleep.

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