Tuesday, 31 December 2013

270 Start of the long desert drive South

Saturday 28th December 2013  Continued....
The flight to Quito went without mishap. We then had a 4 hour wait for our connecting flight to Guayaquil. We filled the time in with a delicious visit to TGI Fridays and then armed with a belly full of chicken we got on the flight to Guayaquil and finally cleared the airport at around 6:30pm having lost another hour. We are now 5 hours behind the UK.
The only snow for a very long way. More on this later.

We caught a cab back to the hotel and once there saw Wallace who appeared to not have been molested in our absence. Once in our room we had a lot to do and my impatience sparked off a tiff between us. We were both knackered and I was seriously insensitive so whilst sorting the gear back into its rightful order for packing back onto Wallace we did not speak a word. It is amazing how quickly things get done when you are not speaking to each other.
Sunday 29th December 2013

Miles Today 181 Total 31,913
Sadly we slept on our tiff so packing Wallace was a very quiet affair.
Fortunately we are so practiced at this routine (packing that is) that we can now do it in silence. Good job too really !  We set off and after dealing with the town traffic we were back on the Pan American Highway for a very quiet 150 mile ride to the Peruvian border. 

These figures were everywhere. It is apparently part of the "Semana Santa", - Christmas week. 25 -31st Dec.

A Southern Caracara. It just would not move out of the road.
The border crossing was calamitous. We started out arriving in Peru having not been stopped at all. We were promptly sent back 6 miles to a customs post that as luck would have it is nowhere near the border. We quickly exported Wallace from Ecuador and armed with our export papers we went back to Peru. Once there our first job was to get stamped out of Ecuador. The exit Immigration post for Ecuador and the entry immigration post are physically the same desk with an Ecuadorian sat at one terminal and a Peruvian sat at the other. Sounds great till you see they work at a snails pace and the queue to the desk took over an hour. We were hot and bothered and still not speaking.  Needless to say we were both angry at each other, (I wasn't angry, I just decided that quiet was good), and the situation was not helped by people pushing in at the front. Normally this would not be a problem as being a gobby git I would just tap them on the shoulder and point to the back of the queue, but today I just got angrier. 
We eventually got through and it was time to import Wallace. This was relatively easy in another building and another hour gone by. Sadly, we could not get insurance as it was Sunday and the desk was closed. We were told we could get it the next day in the Town of Tumbes, 25km further on. All things considered I was about to explode and Karen came to the rescue. She calmed me down and we both realised that we were being silly and instantly made up. Needless to say I was still in deep poo poo but that is quite normal !!
We got ourselves a coffee at the border and then set off for Tumbes.

We found a hotel that would accommodate Wallace. It was the Costa Del Sol, Ramada. It was nice and far over our budget but we were so fed up with the 3 hour border crossing that we just took it on the chin. 

After settling in we partook of our free Pisco Sour, the Peruvian national drink. It was then out onto the streets to have a wander around, sink a few beers and get some grub. We found all we wanted and the Chicken shop where the chickens were roasted over open coals. It was delicious and the good thing was, it was where all the locals eat so it had to be good.
It was then to bed.

Monday 30th December 2013
Miles Today  216  Total 32,129
First job for the day was to get some insurance. I asked at the hotel reception and one of the bell boys (a 50 ish man actually) showed me an insurance office just around the corner.
We ate the free breakfast and I then went to the insurance agent only to be told that he could supply a years worth but I needed 30 days which could only be obtained at the border. Bugger.
We packed up quickly and hot footed it the 25kms back to the border. After my usual run in with the security guards it was apparent that there were no insurance agents at the entry port. Bugger. That means I will have to pay for a year instead.
We rode back into town and I asked Karen to look out for a sign saying SOAT. The insurance system in South America. The girl did good and pointed one out. I asked about a months insurance and hey presto, no problem. $35 instead of $140. Some luck at last.
Armed with our certificate we set off at about 12 noon for the 170 mile trip to Piura. It is a good job we had the certificate as halfway through the journey we were stopped by customs at a check point and made to produce our documents. 

The terrain has changed significantly. We are now in semi desert.

The only proper greenery was beside the rivers.

It was a long and slow 170 miles and we eventually found our pre-booked hotel at around 5pm and after check in went for a walk.

The Central Church.
And the inside. These churches are all a serious work of art.

A Christmas blinged up VW beetle. Papa Noel is driving!

The central square after dark.

Father Christmas (Papa Noel) and his helper.
 Christmas is a strange time here (from our perspective). They all put up Christmas trees and decorations the same as we do in the UK and US. They all use the same icons, as in the above photo and even revere the evergreen conifer tree that us westerners use as a Christmas tree. The strange thing is that there are no coniferous trees any where around. The other odd thing is that on the TV, the digitally back drop snow into their Christmas shows and I would guess that only 1 or 2% of the population have ever seen snow. They even have figures of snow men. For us it is strange but nice.

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