Sunday 22 January 2012

A suite in Huacho

In Lima, I regularly visit a restaurant that serves comida criolla, buy Salsa and Merengue CDs (the place where I find them reminds me of places in Bangkok - lots of small stalls that sell everything you can think of at bargain prices), visit bookstores and go for long walks.

My initial plan had been to go up the coast by bus and not to travel more than four hours per day. That however proved not that easy for most of the buses that travel long distances do not stop, and the ones that do "para en toda esquina". And so I decide rather unhappily to embark on the nine-hour trip from Lima to Trujillo.

The day of my departure, I wake up with yet another diarrhea and decide to cancel my trip. Instead I opt for a taxi and head for Ancon, a seaside place just outside Lima. Beto, my driver, seems to be fond of it, I'm not - a very small beach full of umbrellas is not my idea of fun. We continue to Huaral which lies inland, is busy and noisy and, I later learn, has a high-security prison. When we ask for a nearby beach, we get lots of conflicting opinions but a shopkeeper points out a place called Rio Seco, home of a fabulous beach, restaurants, hotels, "hay de todo", she says. When on the Panamericana again we spot the sign Rio Seco we get off the highway and, a couple of meters later, arrive at the beginning of a dirt road. We are doubtful whether this is the right road to a tourist place and ask a worker who passes by. Yes, this is the road to Rio Seco, he says. Are there any restaurants etc? we inquire. There is nothing there, he says.

We continue to Huacho, a desert town by the sea, that reminds me of Asia - chaotic, loud, colourful, and not much decent architecture. It has a population of about 70'000, two nice clean beaches, book and record stores, a big hotel outside of town with a swimmingpool and a very friendly and helpful supervisor by the name of Soledad who offers me a suite for half the regular price - this is my idea of paradise (it does however come with what must be the slowest internet connection in Peru).

I'm not really into history, I say to Soledad when she mentions an Inka-site worth visiting, I'm more interested in how people are living today. What do people in Huacho do? Where do they go, say, on weekends? To the beaches, and to the Laguna Encantada, for instance.

And so I go to see the Laguna Encantada and come back enchanted. There are two other lagunas, Soledad says, one is the Laguna Paraíso, the other the Laguna Albúfera del Medio Mundo ...

PS: There is Swiss time, and there is Peruvian time. I do not understand Peruvian time but it is clearly different from Swiss time. More flexible, I'd say. I'm however not flexible, I'm Swiss (in Switzerland, unpunctuality is considered a character defect), and so I try to reeducate my moto-taxista (moto-taxis have three wheels and can be compared to Tuk Tuks but are less comfortable) who is always late - and I do of course fail miserably.

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