Ho ho hodge and a bottle of rum

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
Trip End Nov 29, 2014

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Where I stayed
Guacamayo Bungalows

Flag of Peru  , Piura,
Friday, June 20, 2014


...And so the World Cup begins! Arriving in Mancora on the eve of the World Cup, I was brimming with excitement, anticipation and dare say it, a wee bit of confidence in Roy's Boys. Mancora would be the sun-baked setting on Peru's north-west coast, where lazing around in hammocks, the occasional dip in 'the drink', and a bit of footy, were the order of the day.

Not fancying the pubic lice, drunken teens and other irritants at Loki Hostel (a notorious hostel chain popular with rampant, sex-hungry kids, this humorous blog shares a few home truths about Loki, http://beyondblighty.com/loki-hostel-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/) we ventured away from the crass, central hub of Mancora, up the coast to Hostel Guacamayo.

True to the warm, inviting nature of Martin and Silvia, the gregarious duo who run Guacamayo, they adopt local stray dogs, currently having a first XI of pooches. They are a well behaved bunch of mutts, making for an entertaining breakfast time. We enjoyed feeding them our breakfast bread as we were still gluten free, while pouring milk into their grateful mouths was particularly satisfying. Each morning, after breakfast, Silvia battled with them to prepare for walkies, using one of those multi leads. It made for a funny sight, and she certainly gives '5 Dogs', down at Almafra Campsite (big up the Almafra Massive) a run for her money in the dog walking stakes!!

When we weren't horizontal at the tranquil Guacamayo, nerves were on tenterhooks for England's World Cup campaign, well for the first two games...After witnessing both 2-1 defeats, maybe I'd been getting too much Peruvian sun to have faith in Gerrard and co.

Rising early for England v Uruguay we were in a buoyant mood. Picking up a few essentials for the big match we returned to Guacamayo with our peckers up and plenty of rum, ice, cola, limes and snacks. By half-time, the rum, along with surging national pride, was coursing through our veins. A few timid backpackers poked their heads round the TV room door but retreated due to the bare chested English yob who was tearing his beard out at the piss-poor defending that wouldn't have looked out of place down at Maryton Grange on a cold, sunday morning.

One brave Aussie, Nick, stuck it out with us, to witness the buck-toothed assassin, dispatching a couple of chances as ruthlessly as Sweeney Todd disposes of his barbershop customers. At the final whistle I was well and truly hodged, but thankfully had someone to put me to bed, cheers Tasha. It was 4pm. Pathetic.

When the footy got too much, sanctuary was sought at the beach. After our excursions on the Cordilleras further south, bodies were achy, weary and in need of rest. The cool breeze, hot sun and calming softness of the waves and singing seabirds, combined in the most relaxing of ways. The only blemish being the dead seabirds and even sea-lions that are regularly washed up on to Mancora's coastline. Martin explained that it takes days for the corpses to be cleared away, due to such a small workforce handling this area of Peru's coast.

Following the realisation that England's World Cup dream was all but over, we decided to indulge. After cutting gluten from our diet (even turning down completely garlic bread in Huarez) pizza was the craving. The curse of going gluten free for two weeks was apparent the following day. Something didn't feel right, I raced to the toilet where I spent the majority of the day. Nurse Jones has since diagnosed me as being gluten intolerant...proper crap.

One final World Cup reference then I'm off. I'm unaware of the quality of the BBC's and ITV's opening credits to their World Cup coverage (any footy fan will know how this 30 seconds of footage sets the tone for the 4 weeks to come), but South American TV has opted for a spinning globe with the 32 competing countries indicated by their national flag within the confines of the state boarders. Sure, it's fairly simple, but with each viewing it's a distinct reminder of how far we've come and where we're heading. A time to reflect when the clock is ticking on a year long trip.
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