Spent an enjoyably cheeky day staying at the hostel but not paying – I used the kitchen and the wifi and watched the TV but didn’t pay a cent, brill. After the laundry trip I spent the day wandering the town, bought my first ice cream of the trip, And wandered through a fair few markets (including the gross meat and fish section, and a strange bit where the stall holders were whacking people over the head with some sort of plant, presumably for some point or purpose). It was also nice to get the chance to spend a bit more time with the guys I met in the hostel – the hostel itself wasn’t the greatest ever, but it was a nice pretty close-knit group of people who were staying there for quite a while so it felt pretty comfortable there. They all made dinner together (I didn’t have it tonight because it centred around mushrooms) and had Spanish lessons together and drank beer and generally had a laugh and I was pretty sad to leave.
Having slightly deviated from my original plans for today, I got the golden opportunity to go to the launderette to finally get my clothes cleaned properly (I did some by hand at the farm but they never really dried properly…)
It was raining and I looked like a total loon wandering the streets towards the lavaderia in my drop-crotch trousers from Rome, oversized llama jumper, multi-coloured rain jacket and converse. But ultimately I NOW HAVE CLEAN WARM DRY CLOTHES. So worth $3.
Whilst my stuff was being washed I quickly popped to the bus terminal to buy my ticket for my first overnight journey, to Mancora, and was very reassured by how together the bus company seemed – checking my passport, showing me where I’d be getting it from and so on.
But in the end it reached the hour of departure, and by a stroke of luck I shared a taxi with a couple of others from the hostel (who I’d not spoken to) to the bus station, where we met yet more people from our hostel getting the same bus. More reassurance.
The bus itself was pretty snazzy: reclining seats with footrest, complimentary snacks and coffee (bad idea) at the beginning of the journey – the works; so as far as I was concerned it was one of the better bus journeys I’ve taken so far.
However. Migration. Need I say more?
We got there at 3 something and didn’t leave again until gone 6. There was a lot of waiting.
On the plus side I now have a Peruvian stamp added to my passport! (Getting cool stamps was very high up on my list of reasons why I should do this trip – and also why it’s very difficult for me to give up on the idea of going to Chile, though I think I have now decided to in the end).
We arrive to Mancora at probably 8 in the morning, and the subsequent journey was much more complicated than any thus far (although luckily I was prepared for this to be the case). I had to get a bus to Talara (changing some money in the process; I was the first customer of the day, thank god they opened up in the end) and then a “combi,” a sort of shared taxi very much reminiscent of the Magic buses in India, for the final leg to Lobitos.it wasn’t the most comfortable journey of my life – predominately because Ecuador was rainy and generally mild weather whereas the north coast of Peru is dry and incredibly hot (well, it’s like 30, but when carrying a 65litre rucksack and wearing black leggings and hiking beloots and a very cosy llama sweater, “incredibly hot” is definitely the most apt description).
So I got to the town and wandered around the desert for a bit (again actually a pretty accurate description) before finally managing to find la Casona de Lobitos, a friendly Chinese fella giving me a lift for the last hundred metres or so (in his car, not by piggyback if that wasn’t clear).