Chiclayo and Ferreñafe

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Sican - 45 Sol, breakfst, tv sat, ensuite bath, excellent

Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Early morning and cold shower! There is something about most hotels in Peru (and Bolivia) with hot simply is not reliable.

However we canīt blame the hotel at Trujillo (Hotel Turista). We will probably be the last guests to stay there. They had 132 rooms but only 2 were occupied (from what we saw from the keys at Reception). The corridors were incredibly similar to that Jack Nicholson film "The Shining" (El Resplandor) with long corridors with very little light. Most of it was affected strongly by humidity. The first evening the water was hot, the other 2 days it was impossible to get it even warm.

Anyway, early bus towards Chiclayo (4 hours for 12 soles - 3 euro), and it wasnīt even 8am when they put the first film on. Shots, killings, rapes and shouts of course..."Desperado" with Antonio Banderas, followed by the ever present Jackie Chan with "Rush Hour". You cant beat action films on Peruvian buses! Sadly we had no Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis or Stallone to go with it!

The trip around the North is very similar to the North of Chile - desert and more desert, with a few towns spread around. So after such a "dry" trip we enjoyed the luxury of a boiling shower in the new hotel at Chiclayo. A top selection called "Sican" which states it has 2 stars...and it probably does. One of the best up to now with all the European luxuries (Sat TV, ensuite bathroom, breakfast,...a fan!).

Chiclayo is a smaller town, with only about 250 thousand inhabitants, so its easy to walk around. However, as with all the rest of the Peruvian towns we have been to, there is line that you must not cross. Just like old New York in the violent times when you should not walk past a certain street, etc.

To take advantage of the day we wanted to visit at least one of the sites or museums (and there is at least 6 important places to visit around here). We decided on the Museum of Sican which has quite a good collection of objects from the different pyramids found around the area. To get to it we needed to take a local "combi" (van bus) to Ferreņafe which is only 12 kms away.

One of the frustrating things about Peru is that they have all these excellents ruins and sites, but only a couple are well developed for tourism (we guess they need a few more years to exploit it correctly). So to get to the sites, one has to either go with a "dumb tourist" tour, or, to travel in the public transport. By now we are OK with combis and mototaxis and the rest of the so called "public" transport (especially managing to fit in the vans!).

But in each city the terminals are in the "dangerous" zone. So you either need to take a taxi for 1 km or risk it. Today we risked it, but not volutarily. It just seemed 100 metres. However a young guy came to us to advise us that it was a dangerous area and that he would walk with us. To be sincere it didnt look that bad, but just in case we kept our eyes wide open.

We guess its part of the fun of travelling, although quite nerve racking at times. However up to now (touch wood) we have survived without damage.

Anyway, back to the Museum. They have a video display which explains the pyramids quite well and introduced us to the Sican culture (from 700 a.c. until they were conquered by the Incas in 1471 a.c.). The museum has prepared our appetite for the rest of the pyramids which we will visit tomorrow.

Link to information on Sican  (with nice video in Spanish):

A few other notes:
- The spanish influence in Peru is very present these days in the government. Yes! Top corruption has been detected at an organism called "Banmat" (Banco de Materiales). The function of such entity is to give credits to the poorer segment of the population so they can buy a state built flat. So what happened? Quite a few of the employees of the entity received credits themselves and owned a few of the state owned flats which they rent out. The reason why the issue was not detected is because the managers and the auditors also got cheap credits and flats! Reminds us of some incidents in Spanish politics....
Alan Garcia (the President) has cleaned his hands.

- If you know what an Alfajor is, you will want to try a "King Kong Alfajor". The Alfajor is the round biscuit with cream inside which is typical of Argentina. Here they go for King Kong size which is similar to a wedding cake. They must love them as both in Trujillo and Chiclayo there is a street with about 20 shops selling them. You would need 10 people to eat one of these! All the shops announce "King Kones".

- We are happy to have avoided Huraz (on our trip from Lima). We were originally going to go there are the trekking is magnificent, but the distance was too large and meant an overnight bus. Yesterday tonnes of rain fell and the temperature went down radically in the area with a few road cuts, etc.

- One of the reasons we are avoiding night buses in Peru is that they are unsafer (theft) and the risk of accident is higher. However, the problem is even larger now as 2 buses were briefly highjacked by 5 armed men and all valuables removed from the passengers...Thatīs a definite no to night travel now! We now understand why the higher class buses have the metal detectors, etc.

Anyway. We are off to a well deserved dinner now at a "criollo" restaurant. Thatīs how they call the food in the North of Peru (and towards the amazons). Apparently duck is a favourite.

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