Saturday, April 18, 2015

On the Road Again - Hello Peru (Part 3 of 3)

The next morning I took a little drive-jaunt down the road past our bungalows to see what I could see.

Notice the washout to the left in front of me.
A little one-lane planked bridge.
Vultures waiting ever so patiently for the fish boats to come in.   I wonder if they took a number?
I drove about 10 miles south of Mancora past the town of Los Oreganos to a fishing pier known as El Nuro where you can jump in the water and swim with the tortugas (large turtles).  The topography along the way was amazing….dry, hilly, dirt, dirt, and more dirt.   Only speckles of green and probably only because of recent rains and due to die in a few short, hot days.  $2 bucks allowed me to enter the pier and walk down to where folks were suiting up in snorkel masks and life vests.   They climbed down a set of stairs into the water and right there were several turtles ranging from 4 feet in diameter to smaller ones hanging about the swimmers while a lady above tossed in food to keep them close by.




On the way back, this guy had his tuk-tuk loaded up with recyclables.  Now...I ask...where in the USA would you be allowed to do this?   No way.  No how.  No where.   Yet, it's done regularly here and it works.

Notice....the lovely black and brown topography!!!  ooooohhhhhhh
In the town of Los Oreganos, yet another statue having to do with the sea.
A drive back to my bungalow, I thought maybe I should head home a day early.   I had done what I had come here to do and I was teetering on being bored.  But, I needed to eat.   I ordered up a nice plate of spaghetti with white cream sauce and hefty portions of large shrimp.   The BONUS was 2 fer 1 cocktails between 12 and 2pm.  I could get TWO pisco sours for the price of one!!!  Boy howdy, bring ‘em on!!  After my nap, I packed my bags and headed out to hit the road.  My thought was….drive 2-3 hours to the border and get through all that process and stay the night again at the Sol del Sur hotel in Huaquillas, get a good nights rest, then hit the road again in the manana for the remaining 3-4 hours segment for home.  So,  that’s what I did.

A few more statue sights seen along the way.

Driving from Mancora to the Ecuador/Peru border was like playing a game of ‘dodge ball’.   Geez!!   Those tuk-tuks (motorcycle taxi’s)  were freakin everywhere!!   They generally drive on the side of the road, but as night fell, it was hard to see them.  Why?   Hmmmm…..lesseeeeee……NO lights, dim lights, SOME lights, etc etc.  It was insane.  You had no idea if those lights you saw in front of you were 500 feet away or 50 feet away.    And, those with NO lights?   SURPRISE!!!  Dart around them.  

Worn a bit thin, I arrived at the border crossing.   I pulled into the large complex and stopped, because all lanes were blocked with cones….except the lane labeled ‘for official use only’…I dare not go there.  I walked into the office nearby and they said I should’ve driven through that lane and parked.  But..but…oh well.   They took the form I had placed in my window from when I first entered Peru.  Thank gawd I saved it as I had no instructions to keep the damn thing.  Then, I moved the car to the migration area (parking in front of snack stands).  Shoot…a bus had arrived before me and the line was long.  I asked an agent woman about a form I needed to fill out.  She acted dumb.  ‘outside’.  I went outside and found a pad of forms and tore one off and filled it out.  It was for Peru.  I knew I needed one for Ecuador.  Back to the agent….’where are the forms for Ecuador?’   I received a baffled look as if I was speaking Nano Nano.   Finally, I was handed a form for EC and filled that one out, too, and got in line (20 ahead of me).  Come to find out, they didn’t need the new form, they only needed the tear-off portion of the form I filled out when I originally entered a few days earlier!!!   Gee….do you think they could post any kind of instructions somewhere to guide us through the process?   Noooo…that would be logical.

Ultimately, I was rubber-stamped through the process and got in my car and followed the exit signs.  When I reached the guard at the exit point, I expected to show him my documents…that I had been through the process and approved and so on….but, noooo, he just waived me through.  You mean I could’ve just driven through the entire customs/migration/border checkpoint and no one would’ve known the dif???!!!  Aye, Aye Aye!!   So, I exit.  As I travelled beyond the exit I saw a sign ‘thank you for visiting Ecuador!’   HUH?   Then another sign, ‘Welcome to Peru!’.   WHATTTTT?????  WAIT A MINUTE!!!  I want to go to ECUADOR, not Peru!!!    So, I drove through the loop again and reached the same guard who’d waived me through earlier.  I said “I want Ecuador, not Peru!”.   Ends up, when you leave the exit point, you can either turn left to go to Peru, or right to go to Ecuador!!!    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

A little while later I was back in familiar territory in Huaquilles, to the Hotel Sol del Sur, checked in to another $28 room, a quick dinner of fried seafood for $10, and off to bed.

Next morning (after sleeping through what seemed to be an endless array of someone slamming doors) I ate my ‘included breakfast’ which consisted of juice, bread, coffee (albeit instant), and 2 eggs.  I headed out of town, needing gas (diesel) but for some reason many of the gas stations were ‘out’.  There was no way in HELL I  was going to travel the same route I did coming in.  I had no interest in slamming into potholes, unmarked speed bumps, and sections of road without pavement.  I decided to drive to Machala and beyond to Puerta Inca where I would catch the highway that ascends the Cajas as if I was travelling from Guayaquil.   Yes, it would add an hour and a half to my travel time, but there was no way I wanted to deal with the ‘slam bang thank you ma’am’ of the treacherous highway I had taken down just a few days earlier.

I made it back to Cuenca by 3:30 in the afternoon.  I drove directly to the babysitters to pick up Gracie and brought her home.   Once at home, the cats started yelling at me.  They were pissed they were out of food, even though I explicitly told them when I left, the HUGE  bowl of food was to last them 4 days.  So, there.   You made your choice by snarfing it up too early guys!!!

I can now say I've been to Peru!!   Kinda like saying I've been to Mexico when I lived in San Diego and saying I've been to Canada when I lived in Port Angeles, WA, right across the water from Victoria, BC.

El Fin....

Dano

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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