Tuesday, 27 September 2011
ADIOS PERU, HOLA ECUADOR
Since my last report from Trujillo, I've left Peru behind and cycled North across the border into Ecuador. But first let me start where I left off last time. I was at Lucho's famous Casa De Cyclistas in Trujillo, Peru. There I made new friends, Germans Marcus and Dorothy on their way South, and I also met up with Hannes and Annelies who I'd met earlier on the road close to Cuzco. After a photo session with Lucho in front of his Casa, the five of us cycled to the nearby Huanchaco beach where I'd already been, and we had a couple of relaxing days there. From there I headed North alone on the infamous section of road, notorious for armed robberies on touring cyclists. For most of the first day I was escorted by the highway police (at one stage they even stopped a pickup truck and loaded me up for about 30 km). In Chiclayo I found the local Casa De cyclistas where I camped in the yard amongst the chickens and guinae pigs. Further North I met local cycling enthusiast Juan Carlos, who stopped to chat (although the conversation was rather limited, he spoke no English and my Spanish still leaves a lot to be desired. In the city of Piura I stayed over for a day, and then disaster struck. My bank card was swallowed by an ATM, and when I eventually got the bank to open up the machine my card was not inside. Fortunately my sister Olga wired me some money via Western Union, so I could at least pay my rent and stay alive until I could organise a new card. I had to get a SIM card for my phone, and spent about 80 dollars more phoning Nedbank in South Africa to block my account and order a new card for delivery in Ecuador where I was heading next. So I had to spend another couple of days in Piura, which turned out not too badly as It is quite an interesting non-touristy city with an amazing huge market (one can buy anything from bicyles to day-old chickens there). I got to Ecuador OK, and there I was soon into the big mountains again. Perhaps I didn't look all that great, because the vultures seemed to be following me along, roosting in the roadside trees. I had to wait a few days here in Loga for the new bank card, which was miraculously delivered (adressed to Loja, South America). Loja is quite an attractive historic small city. So far I also quite like the Ecuadorians, and things here seem a little more relaxed than in Peru. From here I will head North through the mountains again.