After about 20 trips to Target, I was off!! Finally. Travels to Lima were pretty uneventful and I arrived at the crack of dawn into Lima. I walked out of the airport bright eyed and ready to tackle the first main city on my circuit. What I got instead was a face full of concrete, as I took a nose dive out off of the curb and into the street. Since I hadn’t (and still haven’t) gotten used to the weight of my pack, there was no hope. I can only imagine what I looked like flailing on the ground; if I’d been trying to remain inconspicuous as the solo gringa traveler, I think I failed! So, with a very bruised knee, and a partially bruised ego, I headed into the city and to the hostel where I’d made a reservation. I chose to stay in el centro, the heart of the city. After a catnap, I headed out to explore and spent the next 10 hours just wandering around, checking things out and gathering my bearings.
The following day I took a bus out to the neighborhood of Miraflores, a more upscale and tourist friendly part of town, near the ocean. Again I spent the day just wondering around, chatting with people and checking out the markets and walking along the beach. I knew that Lima wasn’t a place where I wanted to spend much time, so on Friday morning I got up early to take a 6:30 bus to Huaraz. The trip was quiet and the scenery along the way gorgeous. Huaraz is a town of about 80k, nestled in the Andes Mountains, and is known for it’s trekking and mountain-ice climbing. It is much easier to navigate and well accustomed to tourists, so I feel a little more at ease here. Yesterday I took a tour to nearby villages and up to Lake Llanganuco in the Huascaran National Park.
Once we left Huaraz, nearly everyone spoke Quechua only, as that is the main native language in the mountain parts of Peru. One of the villages was known for “the best ice cream in Peru” – I went for the tuna flavored ice cream. Apparently there is a fruit here called Tuna, but my first bite I couldn’t help but wait for a fishy flavor. Low and behold it was delish!! Another village’s claim to fame was drunkenness. Seriously. The town is called Carhuaz de la Borrechera. They have a tradition where for 45 days straight, no one is allowed to work, and you can only drink. Apparently if you work, you will bring ill and hardship to yourself and your loved ones. I wonder if everyone actually adheres to tradition, but my tour guide insisted that it is true. Hum.
Everyone on the tour was trying to convince me that I should join them today for a trip to Pascouri, a mountain where you can “see snow.” I explained multiple times that snow was nothing new to me, but they just weren’t buying it. In the end I had to just lie and say that I’d see them tomorrow. I did contemplate doing another tour today up to some thermal baths and ruins, but needed a break from the bus. So instead, I’m lazily exploring Huaraz, as I wait for my bus that departs tonight at 9pm for an overnight trip back to the coast, to the city of Trujillo. Apparently, this is a route that is popular on Sunday nights, and since I just went to buy my ticket a few minutes ago, there was only 1 seat left (and this was after checking 4 different bus companies). Lucky me, it’s right next to the bathroom. I expect this to be a pleasant 10 hour trip……