Trip Start Nov 15, 2008
Trip End Jun 15, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

17/12/08 - 24/12/08

We were now heading for Peru.  It was sad to leave Ecuador, it had been a really cool country and the people had been really nice.  We had about a 5 hr bus ride from Cuenca to the Peru- Ecuador boarder.  This has to be the craziest boarder I have ever been to, for starters the distance between where you had to stamp out of Ecuador and stamp into Peru was kilometres.  In-between you basically had a whole town.  The actual boarder was a road where the only reason you knew you had reached the boarder was that the taxis wouldn't cross.  The amount of people was amazing, but not as amazing or crazy as the way people were crossing.  Most people were pushing or pulling carts, made out of absolutely anything, laden with goods from fruit to TV's.  It certainly made a change from the European boards, even the Albanian boarder was orderly and tidy compared to this!
We were spending the next 4 days in Punta Sal, a small beach town near Mancora.  This was one of the high lights of out trip so far.  We did nothing except sun bake, swim, drink and eat.  There were a few games of volley ball ( I even played a game or two!) and a few walks along the beach, but that was it.  Our room was lovely, with a hammock out the front and ocean views, and we ate affordable sea food.
Leaving Punta Sal was sad and the fact we had the first of three over night bus rides that night made it even harder to say good bye.  After killing time in Mancora (the bus didn't leave until 11pm) the night bus was actually quiet good.  We had semi cama seats and I slept quiet well.  We were now in Huanchaco, another beach side surfer town.  I was quiet keen to go for a surf, but the weather on day one was cold and day two we checked out the Moon temple and Chan Chan ruins. 
The moon temple was quiet interesting,  with some very well intact wall carvings and paintings.  The moon temple was built by the Moche people around AD 700 and is a pyramid like structure completely made out of mud bricks.  Every time there was flooding or very heavy rains the temple would be partly destroyed and the people would fill in the old temple and start to build the new one on top.  This is the reason that some of the walls are in such good condition. 
Chan Chan was built around AD 1400 and in its hey day was the largest city in the Americas and the largest adobe city in the world.  Chan Chan more or less looks like a huge pile of crumbling mud brick walls, but they have partly reconstructed one of the 10 palaces to give you an idea of how it must have looked.  It was cool walking around the labyrinth like palace looking at the intricate carvings and stumbling upon the oasis like pool in the middle that they once used for drinking water.
Another overnight bus (this one much worse then the first) took us to Huaraz a big city back up in the Andes.  The main reason to come here is to hike in the amazing mountains that surround the town.  We booked with a company to do a hike the next morning, they promised us that we would be picked up at 5:30am and would be provided with an English speaking guide.  Our last overnight bus was cancelled as no buses were running on Christmas Eve night, so we had to bring the bus forward to an afternoon one.  After the biggest breakfast I have ever had a few of us looked about the shops bartering in Spanish with the locals, it was quiet a fun morning.
We all got up nice and early the next morning looking forward to a high altitude hike.  By 6 am we were all starting to get pissed off, as neither the guide nor the transport had turned up.  The guide finally turned up hung around long enough for us to work out that he was completely drunk and didn't speak English, before dropping his bag and disappearing.  The transport turned up at about 6:10 and the guide was no where to be seen.  Robo looked in the guides backpack and found the only thing he had bought with him was a small map.  We told them to bugger off, and went back to bed determined to get our money back when the shop opened.
Well to make a long story short, the guy wasn't at his shop, we were told to go to the police who would take us to his house.  When the police found out who it was they informed us he was an illegal operator and was meant to have closed his shop down long ago.  So basically they couldn't get us our money back but would fine him and try and close him down again!  Moral to this story, make sure you go with a reputable business.
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