Northern Peru

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Well we arrived into Northern Peru via a very long 12 hour bus journey on Valentines Day and stopped at the fun, lively city of Chiclayo for a couple of days.. The best things about the city were the Chifas (Chinese food places) where you can eat excellent Chinese Food for about $4 US (between us), the prices (Paul and I struggle to spend $30 US between us on everything), the market - lots of hustle and bustle and people selling EVERYTHING, and the plazas with their colonial buildings surrounding. Chiclayo was a fab start to our time in Peru. When we left Chiclayo on Wednesday we headed east to Cajamarca, a fantastic town with lots of culture and friendly people wearing their traditional dress - with the tallest hats I've seen - taller than Mr Tall's (from the Mister Men), they touch the minibus ceilings when the people who are wearing them are sat in the rather cramped minibuses. We met some really friendly people who chat away in Spanish to us and amazingly we both understand most of what's being said, we met a guy on Thursday night who talked non stop about the Beatles and claimed that the Mafia (of a drugs gang) had shot John Lennon... We also met a little girl on the minibus on Friday who was asking where my (Mandy) Mum and Dad were and even though I told her Paul was my boyfriend she still thought he was my Dad!! Her mum asked us whether we were getting off at the 'ventanillas' and I thought she said have you got any children (niņos).. so obviously my Spanish isn't always perfect!! Thursday was mainly spent looking around at the interesting buildings in the town - one of them was where the last Inca leader was held captive by the Spanish - and walking up to the hill and gardens overlooking the town. Paul also tried fried Guinea Pig that day which he said was ok but I felt sorry for it especially as you could still see one of its paws curled up and deep fried...Friday was spent going out of town on little excursions. The first was to the 'Ventanillas' which are square holes carved out of the hillside used as graves by the Incas. It was very interesting and the surrounding countryside was nice with green hills and fields full of cows and a fast, wide river flowing through the middle where the ladies were doing their washing and leaving it to dry on the stones next to the river. The little minibus we caught back towards town was complete with half a dead pig (freshly killed as it left a pool of blood on the floor) and Guinea Pig (alive but we knew it's destiny). n the afternoon we went to the Baņos del Inca, which are Thermal hot springs, originally used by the Incas but have now been made into a complex where you can have your own private hot tub for about 85p each for a half hour session.. it's fab!!! First hot bath we've had (of our own) since we've been away!! Hopefully we're going to go further into the countryside over the next week and see another large Inca site called Kuelap (a bit like Macchu Picchu but without all the tourists) and maybe end up on a riverboat trip in the Amazon region...Apparently only 1% of tourists come to the North of Peru but it's so nice we can't understand why, we guess it's a long way from Lima, Cusco and the Macchu Picchu Site where most people visit...
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