Yat's Big Trip travel blog

More wall paintings...

...at the bus terminal!

Finally, I leave Ecuador, and head into Peru - country of Paddington Bear, the Incas and eating of guinea pigs! Ecuador was fun, but I did feel it was time to leave, no matter how easy it was to think in dollars... I wondered whether I would miss Ecuador, and find out how much I actually liked it once I'd left it - as in the case with Guatemala... well, vamos aver!

Crossing into Peru is no joke... Boarded a Loja Internacional bus at 1pm, armed with some bread, some biscuits and a bottle of water, and would not arrive at the border before dark. My final destination was eight hours away... After a twelve hours ride a few days previously, this should be nothing!

At the station, spotted a few backpackers, but not quite knowing if they were heading to Peru too, or not. Also found out that the ticket office lady did not sell me a ticket for the next day, the date on my watch has simply stopped... Anyway, got chatting to Mark, from London, when who do I see, but the familiar red-hairedness of Avril, he Irish girl I'd met on the way from Guayaquil to Loja! It's true that you do keep running into the same people! Was introduced to her friend, Jason (NY, USA), whom she'd met at the Crossroads Hostel back in Quito. It was nice to be travelling as a group of four. This journey, there was no danger of having strange men requesting to hold my hand...!

Would like to describe more of the bus journey - since, eight hours, are pretty substantial afterall! But felt the onset of another eye infection, and was unable to admire the loveliness of the hills of the Andean mountains appearing one after another. Luckily the bus made several stops at towns, and was able to run to a pharmacy to buy some solution!

Just shortly before the border, we stopped at Macara for a spot of dinner. We got chatting to another couple backpacking; Ibby from Canada, chasing skateboarding places with her Mexican boyfriend. They originally planned to do Central America in three months, but somehow or other, they now find themselves in Peru, and aiming to cover South America as well, before looping back to Mexico, then onwards to Canada (she said in half a year, yeah right!). They were really quite crazy - she spoke a little bit of Spanish, and he understood very little English - and had a looong looong road ahead. They started that morning in Ambato, probably a good eight to ten hours away from Loja, where we boarded the bus. They were to catch a connecting bus onwards to Lima, another sixteen hours away... Good luck! Rather them than me!

It would be nice to say that when we crossed the border at Macara, it would immediately feel like we had entered a new country. Perhaps I have already crossed many borders already, or I was tired, but I felt kinda indifferent about it, despite acquiring yet another nice stamp in my passport. (The officials rather liked my Winnie the Pooh pouch -cheers so much Wing! :D ) It was only when I got bored of the Spanish dubbed version of "Just Married" and looked out the window, that I started feeling excited about being in Peru...

There was a bit of confusion at the bus terminal at Piura, when we had to split up into two separate taxis, and Avril and Jason did not turn up at the hotel we had arranged to meet up. Luckily our taxi driver, Enrique was kind enough to wait with us, and even attempted to call his friend who was driving the others to find out where they were. We eventually found out that they were taken to another hotel, with hot water. So we went there, only to find out they had taken the last room! Grrr!! Shame we missed out on the $5 a night room, with hot shower, and cable TV (showing Will and Grace at the time), but Mark and I went out for a much needed beer (a jug of Cristal) after a visit to the ATM. Well, it's always important to feel culturally immersed in a new country!

At the bar, opposite a huge cinema complex - which appeared to be only showing American films, it felt like it could have been anywhere in the world. But this was the first place where I witnessed the waiter bringing a packet of Marlboro Lights (which Mark had ordered), unwrapped it for him, pulled off the foil, offered him a cigarette and lit it for him. Wow, what service! But then, I am not a smoker, so maybe I have missed other bars which were as attentive too... :P

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