08 March 2009

Chibolos and Water Balloons

February is finally over. Thank goodness. February in the sierra of Peru means Carnaval, which for all intensive purposes equates to roving bands of teenage boys seeking out targets for their water balloons. In my first encounter, I managed to outrun them, but they caught up with me eventually, soaking me and my pack on the way up to Copa (becuase it ain't wet enough up there). To escape the need for head-to-toe waterproofing, I joing a band of merry dissertators on a trip to the north coast of Peru. We began in Huanchaco, a small but beautiful beach outside of Trujillo, which we used as base camp to explore the ruins of Moche culture: Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna. Of all the beaches and ruins, Huanchaco and Huaca de la Luna was by far the most pleasant, it is highly recommended. Moving north, we were to originally stay in the beachtown near Chiclayo, but heard that it left much to be desired so decided to stay in the city itself...the first of many disasters that will forever brand Chiclayo my least favorite place in Peru (and possibly South America). Besides the ruins and museaum of Sipan, which are magnificient, there is no reason to visit this city (God certainly never did). The most important city economically in the north, it offers nothing of beauty, few restaurants and only two night spots: a Cuban place that makes a boring Mohito and a bad disco where roaches parachute from ceiling tiles onto unsuspecting breasts....yeah. We loved Chiclayo so much that we tried to leave a day early, but two of us managed to get sick, which trust me rules out bus travel.

Finally we arrive in the bohemian capital of the north, Mancora. Town of huge surf and thriving nightlife, which is periodically overrun by Chilean and Ecuadorian toursts. I had a great time reliving my Chile days. Once you find the ocean through the ramshackle of a town, there is little reason to leave the beach. First because the Panamerican Highway runs through the center of town with zero shoulder, but mostly because the beach is beautiful, the water warm and everything you could ever want comes to you: beer, ceviche... (almost to a fault, at one point when I was relieving myself down the beach from a bonfire, a man walked up very close to me and tried to offer me the rather large fish he had just caught...um, no thanks guy, kinda busy). The waves were so huge, and broke in such dramatically different places each time, that you had to have (and continue to revise on a dime) serious strategy in order to avoid being pummeled. Each success would cause me to laugh delieriosly due to the sheer thrill. Other than the mornings we watched the sun come up after a bonfire, we stayed in a hidden oasis with beautiful greenery and plenty of hammocks.

Upon returning to Huaraz, my computer immediately threw a fit and died, but not before I put all my pictures on her, deleting them from my camera in the process. I am working with a local computer center to try and salvage data, pictures, music and bad US television that is at times my salvation, so hopefully stay tuned...