11.06.2007 - 12.06.2007 17 °C
Monday 11th June - Chiclayo to Piura
Didn't bother with breakfast this morning, and Paul does some internet while Chris goes to the nearby market, with it's own 'Witch Doctor' section and Shamans walking around with some snakes.
Picked up some snacks from the supermarket, including a puff pastry roll with absolutely no filling, though the yoghurts were good.
Found out that the bus to Piura is just around the corner, so buy our tickets conveniently ahead of time - we can get away at 1.30pm and it's only 2 and a half hours, the shortest journey we've had for, seemingly, ever.
Realised that we used all our money up before we'd paid our hotel bill, so gutted to have to use a Globalnet ATM and pay 4 soles for using it.
Quickly pack our things and walk the few minutes back to the bus station.
Desert views all the way to Piura, so nothing to add here.
Arrive in Piura late afternoon, and feel the warmth of the desert, though Piura is a pretty big city. The map suggests that the hotel we check out is not that far, and is just a few minutes walk away. For 69Soles we get the usual type of room with our own facilities, though no breakfast.
We're only here for one night and there's nothing we're desperate to do here, so first of all make our way to the bus station where we can get a ticket to take us across the border into Ecuador. The Lonely Planet suggests that the best place to head is Transportes Loja, but sends us the wrong way - they give the wrong address - right street, wrong number. Get there eventually and grab our tickets, cost 24Soles each. There's a BCP ATM nearby if you need to take out some last Soles before you leave the country, though the smallest note issued by the machine is 50. There's a Scotiabank ATM on the main square that issues 20's.
Pleased we're sorted for our ticket out of Peru, and head back into town for a look around. A cafe recommended in LP has since closed (looks like a building site now), though there's a tasty veggie place on the square. For desert, we find an icecream place at the small shopping mall in the modern cinema building.
Back in the room, with some chocolate (no more chocolate until we get home....yeah, right) and we pack ready for tomorrow. Makes a change, we actually feel quite hot in the room, after complaining over the last few weeks of the cold, and need to use the fan.
Tuesday 12th June - Piura, Peru to Loja, Ecuador
Up earlyish as we're leaving Peru today, and crossing the border into Ecuador (our last land border crossing on this trip - must say that all the crossings we've had in South America have been generally really easy. Sometimes they've taken a little longer if we've been on a crowded bus. Pleased that we haven't had any of the awkward situations that you read about - no-one has asked us for money, or nothing of our things/currency been 'impounded').
Anyway, bus gets away just after 9.30am, and we have 8 hours ahead of us. Meet Brighton-living German Catja at the bus terminal and chat throughout the trip. We're off to Cancun for the last two weeks of our year trip, and she doesn't give it the best review, and apparently the shopping is crap....uh-oh.
The border crossing here was fine, and we were glad to avoid the Peru/Ecuador border crossing over in Tumbes, nearer the coast. Have heard several independent stories about shenanigans there - border guards confiscating supposedly dud currency, dodgy taxi drivers (seemingly on the Ecuador side).
The bus ride takes us out of the dry and flat desert up into the lush highlands. Nice views as the bus makes it's way along the edge of the road, and at times we pass distant valleys with low lying clouds beneath us - wish we could stop and admire the view, just for 5 minutes.
On arriving at Loja, simple job of getting the three of us into town, just a few minutes and $1 taxi ride to Hotel Metropolitano. Room there fine, though no breakfast included, and $12 each.
Little more than dropped off the bags and met with Catja and the three of us tracked down some dinner, a nearby pizza restaurant. First salad in a while, very nice, and Paul thought he'd gone for a small 4 slice pizza, which was huge. Cue doggy bag, well, box.
Again, tired after the journey and all of us happy to retire to bed (separately), and we'll meet up with Catja in the morning.
continues on next thread...