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Saturday, April 18, 2015

On the Road Again - Hello Peru (Part 2 of 3)

I booked the Mancora Beach Bungalows which is located away from the main part of town in a part called ‘Chico Mancora’ which, in essence, means ‘little Mancora’.  It’s a strip of land with cozy resort enclaves (although the word resort illicits images of something sprawling) butted up against one another along a long narrow road sandwiched between the barren hills and the beach.  I knew to expect a bumpy dirt road because I had read TripAdvisor reviews.  But, due to the rains the night before, the road had been transformed into one long mud pit.  The poor little taxi tuk-tuks were barely making it through the 8-10 inch deep, wet mud.  But, hey, I was in a 4x4.  In some places, the road was covered 6-8” deep in water for a 100 feet stretch.  Having not driven the road before, I gauged my ability to successfully make it through if the tuk-tuks made it through before me.  Under the muck, the road was hard and stable, so I wasn’t at risk of disappearing into a sink hole!  I could describe the road, but I’ll let the photos do the talking.  When I arrived at my resort, ‘Terry’, my Hyundai Terracan, was coated in mud and you couldn’t see that I had treads on my tires at all….it was all caked solid with mud.

A 50 ft long lake of water and mud!

Thick and soupy.

For $55 a night, my room was nice-sized with a king bed and a large 12 x 12 balcony overlooking the pool below and out to the beach through the palms.   It was humid.  Dano don’t do humidity.  It’s like my body is full of holes and water just pours out of me.   No AC in my room, but I knew that.  Just figured the ocean breezes would keep it comfortable.  Nope.  Later in the afternoon, I drove back into town to buy some snacks as anything purchased at the bungalows was much more expensive.  Probably because they have you somewhat trapped with no tiendas around to buy anything.   The road was slightly better but the mud was thickening up.  Many of the tuk-tuk taxis stopped trying which effectively left people at the lodgings without transport.   I almost got stuck on my return leg as someone in front of me stopped which halted my momentum in 8 inch deep muck.    My tires might as well have been bald as the mud was caked into the tread making them useless.   But, my trusty 4x4 ‘Terry’ got me through.   Still humid even though the sun had gone down, I actually slept in the hammock on the balcony for a few hours the first night. 


My private balcony and hammock.
Looking down to one of the pools from my balcony.
And the view out to the ocean from my balcony.
The other pool with waterfall to the lower part.
A boat to sit in and have a beer, read, etc.
The hotel restaurant.
Night falls as seen from my balcony.
A few minutes later.
Oh, and another new experience to add to my list….another monetary denomination.   In EC we use American currency.  But, in Peru, they have ‘Soles’ (Soh-layz).   Luckily, the exchange rate is easy to calculate to determine what I’m actually spending in the currency I’m familiar with.   You get 3 Soles to 1 Dollar.   Kinda weird to go to a restaurant and see 33 for a basic dinner, or 15 for a cocktail.  But, that translates to $11 and $5 respectively.

The next day, after the ‘included breakfast’ of coffee and rolls, I enjoyed a cool dip in the pool, then went for a walk along the beach to see what the other resorts and homes looked like.  Impressive as you can see.



RIP
Let's see....what would OSHA have issues with this walkway?   
Poolboy cleaning the pool (behind the rock wall).

Several places had 'outdoor' bedrooms!!!   Just draw the curtains close and enjoy the breezes and roar of the ocean.




The Fuller hat salesperson.  (only those who are older will get the reference here!!)




Did a little swimming in the Peruvian ocean, then back to the bungalows and another dip in the pool.   Nap.   Shower.  Another drive into town 3 kms away.  By now, machinery was scooping the dirt and mud up and chucking it onto the hillside, ready to wash back down again with the next heavy rain. 

Me being artistic.  Yeah...righhht.

A shot taken from behind the waterfall using special effects.   

I stopped at this shop along the way.  Amazing array of carved rock, stones, and huge chandeliers made out of shells.   Boy, would I like to toss one of those huge things into the back of ‘Terry’ and take it home with me! 

These guys are 3 - 4 ft in size.
Shell chandeliers 6 - 8 ft long!!!


Drag queens love BIG earrings, but this is a bit much!!!
But, I needed to get the car de-mudded.  I found a place where they could pressure wash the exterior of the car as well as the underside.   I ran upon another guest of the same place I was staying  at.  He was having the same thing done.   Two guys worked a pressure washer and used their hands to pull mud off from the underside and nooks and crannies of the car for about 30 minutes.  Cost…about 7 bucks.


A tuk-tuk that just got a bath.  Usually they are 150cc and carry the driver and 2-3 passengers in the back bench seat.
Then, an early dinner at a recommended restaurant.  I kept hearing how the Peruvian cuisine is awesome and I wanted to experience it, since Ecuadorian cuisine is somewhat blah.   And, the infamous Pisco Sour cocktail.  Everyone loves them.  Gotta try it!!!    Dinner….so-so….tiny shrimp in a good cream sauce, but not much of it…and rice.   Pisco Sour tastes almost like a Margarita.   Tasty and refreshing, but 17 Soles (almost $6) and far too small for my insatiable satisfaction.

Back to the bungalows. Road much better.

This is a common sight that would never be allowed in the States.  Motorcycles, tuk-tuks, etc hauling a 'long-load'.  Sometimes re-bar or long bamboo dragging on the ground.   In this case, the driver has to duck while he drives a big load of bamboo.
Nap.  Shower.  Headed down to the restaurant to get connected to the inter-webs.  Unfortunately, the WiFi only serves the restaurant area, not the rooms.  So, all of us gathered here have our various internet devices planted in front of our faces.  Tonight is much less humid.  I’m actually not sweating at all which says a lot as I can break into a sweat if I blink ten times real fast.

....to be continued in Part 3.  Film at 11:30.

Dano


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About Me

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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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