Down time in Mancora and adios Peru!

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Nov 02, 2009

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Our various ailments (sore muscles, aching backs, stomach bugs and colds) had got a bit much now so we were really looking forward to lazing a few days away in Mancora. Basically we planned a hectic schedule which involved hanging around the beach, lying in hammocks, sleeping late, ice cold beers, massages and other related high-octane activities.

Our bus dragged us in to town around 6am and we were picked up by our hostel owner who unknowingly gave us an insight into Mancora life... We apologised for getting him up so early but he wasn't bothered and told us he was about to head out for a surf! He arrived back about 3 hours later, had a sleep and emerged around 2pm, ready for a tough friday at the office!! Some people have the right idea... So, we set about following his example and promptly had a 3 hour nap ourselves!!

Our hostel was fantastic - perched on top of a cliff overlooking the town and the beautiful Pacific ocean. We had an awesome thatched bungalow to ourselves complete with deck chairs, a hammock and a little patch of grass outside, ideal for whiling away the hours in the sun with a book!

With such a low emphasis on activity here, there isn't really a lot to report... Days entailed waking up to the sound of crashing waves, going back to sleep, waking again to the sound of rumbling tummies and heading for breakfast. Then it was a tough decision to either go back to sleep, wander down to town to the markets, go to the beach, lie in the sun and watch the surfers, get an ice-cold beer or recline in the hammock! Happy days...

I did try my hand at surfing though... Dropping Ang off at the spa for a massage I located a chap on the beach for a quick lesson. You might recall us doing this in Jericoacoara when we were in Brazil, but this time it was a little more successful. Two reasons mainly: a) there were waves, and b) I had a teacher. Two rather important parts of learning to surf I guess. Anyway, I'm happy to say that there were no catastrophic wipeouts and I got the hang of it pretty quickly! Really looking forward to giving it another go when we get to Jamaica in a few weeks time!

As is our custom, we 'splashed out' for a nice meal for our last night in Peru. It was incredible - surf and turf like you've never seen! The most succulent steak (almost as good as Argentina) covered not with prawns but with a huge crayfish! Ang also helped herself to a superb swordfish fillet with prawns. Not to mention the ice cold beers and awesome dessert (chocolate brownies) all for under $40...

Sadly though, our time in Peru is at an end. 5 weeks of another awe-inspiring country seeing places, meeting people and doing things that we could not forget in several lifetimes.

Highlight: Hands down - The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Special mention to the unbelievable time we had volunteering and all the special people it was so hard to leave behind.

Lowlight: Getting stuff stolen from our hotel room in Pisco. Most importantly was the USB drive with all our photos. Luckily though we got it back after some other mates had stuff stolen too and they raised it with the owner who fired the cleaning guy and somehow got most of our stuff back.

Funniest moment: One Polish guy in the volunteer group helped himself to some potato one night at dinner before it was ready and the queue of 55-odd volunteers were in uproar! To which he replied in a high-pitched Polish accent, "who are you to judge me!?". Classic! (Although you probably had to be there...)

New food tried: Ceviche - raw fish cured with lemon and lime. Chicha - a juice made of purple corn, also comes in a fermented beer version.

Most useful item: Buffs - Great for the dust in Pisco and the sweaty nature of the Inca Trail!

Most useless item: Condiments. All the sauces, herbs, spices etc that we are lugging with us to cook in the hostels. Its cheaper to eat out here!

Most useful Spanish phrase: 'Vamos a casa de los voluntarios, por favor' (We are going to the volunteers house please), said to tuc-tuc drivers after a hard days work in Pisco!

Tan Status (0-10):
3!! We are moving up! Got some brown-ness on our arms and legs now after Pisco and Mancora gave us a chance to show the rest of our unearthly whiteness to the sun for a change!

What we miss: Our own car. Much more pleasant than night buses!

What we don't miss: Having a schedule.

Similar to their neighbours in Bolivia, Peruvians seem to live a pretty tough life but are able to see the bright side a bit more. They are very family oriented as well and tend to live with or very near the rest of their family. Traditions are strong here and people are friendly, smiling and generally accepting of the gringos wandering around taking pics and huffing and puffing up to Machu Picchu.

Peru really is a gem of a country with so many adventures to be had, so much history to learn and endless things to enjoy. To say we will miss it here is an understatement... We LOVED Peru.

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Where I stayed
Kon Tiki Bungalows
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