Our first stop off in Peru was the town of Chiclayo, a dusty crossroads in the middle of the Sechura Desert.We hadn't originally intended to stay there, planning instead just to push on to Trujillo, but we got such a nice vibe from the place when we stopped to grab some breakfast that we decided to stay a night.What we hadn't realised was that when we first arrived I'd walked away from the cashpoint leaving my card behind in the machine, only noticing later at the hotel.This was annoying since it was for the joint account we'd been using that didn't charge for withdrawals, but was otherwise not a worry.Our bad luck was clearly an issue though, as Maccers had also managed to drop a wallet containing a credit card and a little cash when getting on the bus in Ecuador just hours earlier.What was happening to us?Fate was on our side though as there was a market in town, called the Mercardo Modelo, where a number of witch doctors would ply their trade, so we headed there to speak to a Shaman!At the market we examined a handful of stalls selling herbs, potions and mysterious remedies for just about every ailment imaginable, and decided to seek out the least convincing Shaman we could find.Having selected the correct combination of herbs, beads and bits of tinsel stuffed into an old perfume jar, our Shaman, Del Boy, proceeded to carry out the correct spell required in order for the potion to bring us bien suerte (good luck).I even bought a little shaman doll too, in case of future emergencies; Maccers immediately informed me that he was not to be making any appearances on her pillow at night! After a quick stop-off at a nice smoothie bar, and with our bad luck suitably exorcised, we left the market in high spirits.
First impressions of Peru were great.Everyone we met in Chiclayo was really friendly, and the woman at our hotel (Hostal Victoria) was so helpful and went with me to the bank the next day to try to follow the trail of my bank card... to a dead end as it turned out (shaman doll duly thrown on the floor!).We really enjoy stopping at places like Chiclayo: real towns with no tourism industry to speak of, full of real people going about their lives; the kind of people who are genuinely interested in where you are going and what you've been up to.The market too was probably the best we'd visited on the trip so far.
The journey on to Trujillo was a delight.There don't seem to be any transport terminals as such in Peru, so bus companies instead compete for business to come to their own terminal buildings.The result is amazing service and security, and really fancy buses.Right now I'm sitting on the top deck, writing on my laptop and taking in the panoramic view of the desert.The bus is like no other I've travelled on before... it's like being in business class on a flight: the seats are huge (only three abreast) and a waitress has just come round with complimentary lunch and drinks.The Brits could certainly learn a thing or two from these guys!