On the Road Again

2010.Jan.06 Wednesday · 1 comment

in Food & Recipes, Life, Restaurants

Henry and I have very different modes of travel. At first glance, given our personalities, you’d think he’d be sort of the free spirit wanderer and I’d be the one who wants all the details nailed down. But vacations, perhaps, are the place where people want to be a bit different from their day to day lives – and we operate in reverse when we’re away from home. He wants an itinerary that’s laid out moment by moment, with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, I’m happy to show up at a bus or train station, or airport, and simply take the next available transport to wherever it’s going. We’ve tended to work out a compromise where we don’t plan the whole trip out in advance, but we make a decision on where the next stop will be and then plan that part out in detail.

So I won’t reveal all of where we’re headed and what we’re doing, but we started out by heading north to Chiclayo, a town about 3 hours away from Trujillo by bus, where, amazingly, given Henry’s fascination with Incan and pre-Incan civilization, he’s never been. You’ll see why I find that odd over the next couple of posts. And it’s not a matter of not being able to take the trip – it’s a whole 15 soles each direction – less than $3. We, of course, only went one direction… Oh, of course, despite planning things out, with an 8 a.m. departure from the Trujillo bus station, by the time he was awake and ready and we managed to extricate ourselves from the family (one sister spent nearly 45 minutes on the phone with him, borderline weeping at our “going away” – even though it’s just for a few days).

Enroute Chiclayo

Most of the route is pretty flat scrubland. There are a few hills, both small and large, but mostly it’s unbroken vistas that, from a bus window, are of little interest.

Enroute Chiclayo

I think this was probably the biggest hill we passed, and it was just outside of Trujillo.

Enroute Chiclayo

There are small pueblos and roadside… rest areas for lack of a better term, along the way. The bus stops at a few of them – it seems that it’s based on whether or not they have packages to drop off (the buses double as courier service) or pick up, and whether or not a passenger needs to get off or waves it down to get on. For the most part, we just zoomed on through one after another.

Enroute Chiclayo

Until, three hours or so later, we entered Chiclayo. At the bus terminal we grabbed a taxi and asked the driver for a couple of hotel recommendations in our price range – not surprisingly, he “knew of” the perfect spot. Given how much he hangs around here, I’m sure he gets a commission….

El Tiburon - chicha de jora

After we got situated, we popped back downstairs, the driver still hanging around, so we engaged him for the afternoon to give us a bit of a tour – starting with somewhere off the beaten track for lunch. We ended up at El Tiburón, Misericordia 922, in the Monsefu area, which is a fairly poor barrio, though I gather pretty safe, and also hosts a very touristy artisans’ market where you can buy local souvenirs. First off, we ordered a pitcher of chicha de jora, a fermented corn beverage that’s quite typical – semi-sweet and really delicious, and only very lightly alcoholic.

El Tiburon - estofado de pato

Henry ordered the estofado de pato, stewed duck served with rice and white beans – really good.

El Tiburon - pepian de pavo

I went with the pepian de pavo, another local specialty – or at least specialty of the north of Peru in general – turkey cooked in a seed paste, kind of like a mole in many ways. It needed a little more spice, and fresh chili paste was quickly provided – I’m actually pretty sure most people would have found it plenty picante. Absolutely delicious.

Monsefu

Back into the mini-cab – I haven’t mentioned those. There are regular cabs around, both licensed and not, in regular sized cars of one sort or another. And then there are the ticos. These are little mini-cabs made by Daewoo, that are actually called the Tico by the company, though in Peru, at least, it’s just a generic term for these transports. There are also moto-taxis, the sort of rickshaw setups with a motorcycle as the horsepower, and bicycle type rickshaws as well – I can’t remember what they’re called at the moment. Anyway, we bounced our way through the backstreets of Monsefu until…

Monsefu

…we found ourselves at the little souvenir market – it’s a two block stretch of booths, each of which seems to be selling pretty much the same stuff, and all at inflated prices. Nonetheless, Henry picked up a hand-carved wooden sugar bowl for his sister who we’re staying with back in Trujillo.

On to the beaches of Chiclayo…..

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