Sunday afternoon whilst
speaking to Paul on the phone we had an earth tremor (at least not a quake which
is common in Peru). The hotel shook violently but no damage, apart from barking
For our last week in Peru we
decided to go to the Mountains 5hrs north of Lima, where no foreign tourists go,
apart from limenos.
We caught a taxi to the
station. Having bought the tickets the previous day we had a fair idea where to
go, obviously not the taxi driver. What should have taken a 15 minutes ride
became a stressful 45 only to be dropped at the wrong place. At 3 times the
price another taxi took us around the corner with 2 minutes to spare. We need
not have worried as the bus left half an hour late. No 1st class
travel this time, the bus was a real rattlebox. At least we did not have
Lima’s north suburb is so
dirty, such a slum that it makes South Africa’s townships look quite tame. It is
not helped by the fact it rarely rains and none of the buildings are finished,
therefore Lima is always under a cloud of dust and pollution.
On the Pan American Highway,
the bus was stopped at a control check. Two tyres were
Changing tyres Peruvian
An hour later with new tyres
fitted, we continued our journey.
A little further on we
turned inland leaving the tarmac behind. The road became a dirt track. We had to
hang on to our fillings!
The next blockade was “no
fruitas”. Luggage was checked for fruit. None was allowed beyond this point for
fear of importing fruit flies into the upland growing area.
As we started climbing the
landscape became a moonscape. Himalayan style mountains, young and rugged, with
shale and gravel slopes looking very unstable.
The scattered villages
looked extremely poor. The inhabitants all look alike, short with coppery
leather skin and the children with apple shaped cheeks. The style and colour of their dress is
very similar apart from their hats which seem to be unique to each
The river at the bottom was
bubbly with fast moving rapids. The road was so narrow that the bus had very
little room to manoeuvre with sheer drops down. No room for error!. We needed
nerves of steel as passengers. The driver is used to it!
Nothing between us and the
7hrs later we arrived at our
destination. A ramshackle place!. We can’t fathom out it existence. Perhaps it
was built as a mining centre. Hundred of trucks go through daily carrying coal
for steel mills on the coast. Peru
has so many natural resources; sadly it does not get to the core of the
Peruvians but to the corrupt politicians. A few days ago another minister from
the previous administration, on corruption charges, has left the country in a
The tourist boom the region
is experiencing is not for the scenery but the Thermal Baths (cobalt, iron,
sulphur etc) claiming all sorts of cures.
The Limenos seem to think all their ailments will vanish by bathing in
every pool available. It seems to me that their ills would be helped by diet and
a little exercise.
Walking to school
The next day after a morning
walk on very dusty loose gravel track, we decided to take a tour to the top of
the valley to see if it might be better. It turned out a very interesting
excursion. The higher the mountain the terrain improved with less shale and a
much softer green valley. It was beautiful. We saw condors flying. We passed on
the baths fearing what we might catch and went for a 2-hour walk. Good
At last some
Not a fairy to be seen
Lunch being cooked
By Wednesday we had seen all we wanted
and decided to return to Lima in preparation for our return to Trinidad, via
Caracas on Saturday.
We arrived back tired and
It is unbelievable that bus
and taxi drivers should inflict violent films or ghastly music at full volume to
their passengers. Its is worldwide…..