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Think of a trip to
I am lucky to have met a local, Liliana, who is waiting for
me at the airport and has taken the time to take care of all the arrangements. As you know when you go away a lot of organisation is involved. It doesn't matter where you are going, it could be to the northwest of England, so you'd need to find manchester hotels or it could be somewhere as far as Peru. Anyway, together along with her daughter, sister and brother we will be going by bus
all over northern
But Iím skipping ahead.
Day one is reserved for the touristy shots in
And on to the obligatory lunch of
It is as adventurous as I dare get with
During the day time we go see a museum of traditional costumes and other heritage stuff
Meanwhile, Iím in for some culture shock where it comes to transportation. Countless speeding small cars and people migle freely on the streets and while I constantly expected to see major accidents nothing happened somehow. It is, I can only guess, a precision dance learned since childhood with, of course, natural selection weeding out those who donít ďget itĒ.
Here we see an armored truck making its bank rounds. Security is not an issue taken lightly in these here parts.
At night, the square lights up
A few hours farther up by bus and weíve cleared the tree line and the temperature has dropped. Every so often I ask the driver to stop so I can take a picture of the scenery and all the other tourists take advantage and snap their pics too. To be a team player, and maybe just a bit naughty, Iím chewing on coca leaves just like the locals. Supposed to make me immune to altitude sickness they say. I just feel sick chewing the stuff which tastes nasty (no buzz even, no fair!)
Weíve now reached the summit of the pass at 16,000ft Ė Iíve never been this high up before on my own two feet and the air is chilly and thinÖ walking just a few steps leaves you winded. Good thing I still have a wad of coca in my mouth!
It is from this vantage point that off to the left about a quarter mile away we suddenly see an icefall in actionÖ a snow avalanche tumbling noisily into an abyss several thousand feet below. With clouds threatening to engulf us in a winter storm we get with the program and take our seats in the van. Minutes later we head back down and later that night weíre back on another bus going farther north with the Amazon jungle our ultimate destination.
Over the course of the next few days most of our time will be spent riding tour buses from one town to the next. One gets creative in passig the time among friends. A spitball fight gets me some dirty looks but I can always count on being at the receiving end when Iím not paying attention!
We have a stopover in Huanchaco, a small beach town renowned for its Caballitos de Tortora, two-person straw rafts used equally well for fishingÖ or taking tourists out for a spin.
From there we ride on and eventually make it into the heart
of the jungle where the air is is so much fresher compared to the
Tarapoto will be our homebase during our brief stay. Mode of transportation is by way of MotoTaxis, the ubiquitous converted scooters that dart all over the place.
Although noisy theyíre a lot of fun to ride around in and we take our own to head out of town to see some waterfalls
On the way we stop for breakfast at a marketplace that sells, among other things, whole chickens much the same way weíd see shoes on sale. A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice costs a paltry 30 cents.
About a half hour later we enter the reserve and head up on a hike to see the waterfalls
And when we get there itís just as scenic as any other waterfall. Except Iím in the Amazons :-)
The water however is much too cold for this part of the world at about 69 degrees. Brrrrr! We take a ride on our mototaxi to another resort area, this one with some captured monkeys kept around as pets.
The monkeys are playful and so starved for attention that they get visibly upset when you finally decide to leave them alone.
Our final sightseeing takes us into a remote village where the native indians still cling on to their traditional dress and Quechua, their ancestral language. Liliana and our mototaxi guide took the offer to get made over as one of their own.
From the jungle we head back to
And before long
Because of the news of the landslides down by Macchu Picchu
we decided it best to spend the rest of the last few days of my trip in
For me the most difficult aspect of the stay in terms of first world commodities will be the absence of hot running water which is rare outside of upscale hotels. Also rare is the concept of ice in soda (despite Coke being the national drink).
Taking a tour to a nearby resort, Liliana wastes no time in
getting up to dance some to some
The time is near for me to leave and by my last night Iím tired of all the partying. Well, at least I look so in the picture ;-)