Cusco to Lima to local digs in Huaraz

Wednesday, June 2, 2004: Lima lima

Hola!
Writing from Lima, after a serious marathon 30hr bus ride. Shana and I had great seats…but the ride was really trying. I am not feeling very well….another round of hardcore stomach trouble. It never ends. But I met up with Sean, and with Jessica (from the hike), have tickets to Huaraz tonight, and things are fine.
I will update you a bit more from Huaraz.
Phil

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Friday, June 4, 2004: livin’ like a local

Hola hola!
Good to hear from you! It is always nice to have a few tidbits of news from home to check into. Tell carrie congrats…and hi to nono and yiyi! belly is much better….well, on cipro now, but I will explain. heres some for the group! got to lima without major major problems…just bothersome, and met sean easily…..SO good to see him!!! anyhow, heres the story:
love, Phil

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Gotta love Peru. I left Cusco with my friend Shana (native of New Hampshire….been ‘stuck’ for a few years teaching and living in Cusco) on Monday afternoon….best seats on a nice bus, great view of the TV….ready for the only 20hr ride to come. We wound our way along the Rio Apurimac, lit by moonlight, while some failed American flics played in the background. Morning came…stiff neck and sore legs from a night on the bus….and we arrived in Pisco at eleven o’clock. Three hours south of Lima. Word passed quickly that we would be stopping, apparently an altercation over the location of a proposed gas line had led two neighboring towns to, of course, erect a blockade in the road. Sigh.

The rumor was that the blockade was impassable, dangerous on foot and no way around. Taxis were shuttling folks to the blockade, then turning back when realizing the levity of the situation. So we waited….noon came and went. You can only pass so many hours in local roast chicken joints. Someone whispered that at 5 o’clock we may pass…but five passed without so much as the rumble of a diesel engine firing up. They said 7pm, then midnight. After a long day of killing time at the crossroads outside Pisco, I gave up. Called Lima to cancel my reservation at the hostel there, and left a message for Sean that I wouldn’t be arriving until some horrendous hour of the morning.

As fate, or Peru, would have it…about an hour after I called the driver fired up the bus and laid on the horn. Passengers erupted from the host of local restaurants and pushed their way aboard the bus. By 9pm we were on the road, blockade magically vanishing before the almost full moon.
So I arrived really tired, thirsty, feeling another bout of stomach trouble boiling up, and unhappy in Lima at about midnight. The hostel hadn’t filled by bed in the few that had passed, and Sean had just arrived after some epic delay in Ecuador. Vagaries of Peruvian travel behind us….it was quite nice to swap stories and pass out for a few hours.

The morning found me at the farmacia picking up a new round of antibiotics…cipro this time….change of pace, I suppose. (Feeling MUCH better, now two or three days later.) I met the girl Jessice with whom I had trekked in Bolivia, settled debts and exchanged gear. Jessica, Sean and I killed the day in Lima…dirty foggy grimy city….though impressive in its own way. Pollo pollo….chicken as usual for meals, and we saw a movie to kill some time in the afternoon. The Day After Tommorrow. Not bad. We parted ways in the evening and at 11pm the nicest bus I’ve been on in a while took Sean and I to Huaraz. They played some movies and served dinner….at least that is what Sean tells me. I passed out and slept straight through for nearly all of the 8 hour ride.

Morning found us in Huaraz, back at altitude….me feeling much better and both of us gawking at the billowing snowcapped monstrosities on the horizon. We met Shana and spent a day cruising town for lodging options and such.

So it turns out that the most economical way to stay for more than a month in Huaraz is to rent a room. So we have a cozy little ‘studio’ apartment of sorts….bathroom, clean and spacious cement room painted in dull yellow and orange, with a little gas stove on loan from the landlord. At $40 per month, split between three or four of us (depending on how long Shana stays), I have never lived so cheaply.

And it feels GREAT to have a place here! No packing and repacking…when we leave for the mountains we can leave our towels hanging in the bathroom and they’ll still be there when we get back! Some area maps and a blanket I picked up in Cusco brightened the place up a bit, and a few sticks of incense from the street vendors promise to keep the problems of living close to dirty clothes/gear/boots to a minimum. And once again, life is good.

If you find yourself in Huaraz and need a place to crash…bring your sleeping pad and bag down to 903 Jiron Jose de San Martin knock three doors up the alley towards the plaza. Simple place, but you are all welcome.

Within a day or two we will head up to the hills for a first taste of Peruvian snow. I will be in touch with stories. More then!

Phil

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