After finally falling asleep somewhere around 2.30am we were awakened at 8 by the bus hostess saying we would be arriving at Trujillo shortly. Rubbing the sleep out of our eyes we looked out of the window to see a desert landscape and a rather ramshackle looking town around us in the morning sunshine. Once we got off the bus and sorted our bags out we quickly ascertained that we couldn't travel on to Guayaquil that night with Cruz Del Sur as they only had a bus on wed, fri and sunday but found that 2 minutes walk away was the Ormeno office and they went there every day! We booked a ticket with them and checked our bags in so we didnt have to carry them round with us then headed out to find a combi to the Chan Chan site 5km away. We picked one up quite quickly and spent the next 15 mins hanging on for dear life as the little bus stopped, lurched, swayed and swerved its way through the town and eventually on to the highway towards the site. Dropping us off opposite the entrance we were struck by the heat and the quiet in this barren environment. Glad we'd put sun tan lotion on this morning we made our way past the taxi tout offering to drive us round all the local sites and onto a long dusty road lined with white stones that headed to the Chan Chan complex. As we walked along we caught up and were caught up by several other tourists, a girl from England and one from Belgium who lived in Peru as well as a man from America and a guy from Argentina who turned into our official translator and guide for the duration of the excursion! We walked fairly slowly along the gravelly road, not only to absorb the immenseness of the site we were approaching but also because there was no shade at all and it was damn hot! After about 20 mins we reached the foot of an huge wall and to our left was a little way station that served as ticket office, cafe, toilets and souvenir shop all within a little square of wooden buildings with a small fountain in the middle, in the cool spray of which a Peruvian Hairless dog was relaxing (they really are ugly creatures bless them!). After buying tickets and going separate ways as the girls paid for a guide with 2 other tourists, we headed in to the site chattering away, not really knowing what to expect other than mud adobe walls. As we rounded a corner however the sight of the ceremonial square took our breath away and for a few seconds none of us uttered a word, then our Argentinian friend broke the silence with some well chosen expletives showing his awe for the sight before us. 20Ft high walls, still with mostly original friezes of stylised squirrels around the base (some have been repaired) surrounded a vast open square with a large dais in the centre which in turn led to a ramp to the narrow exit behind which was flanked by 2 forbidding looking statues of (rather short!) warriors. This impressive place was part of an immense palace/temple complex that originally covered 20 square kilometres at the height of the Chimu empire before the Inca's overthrew them in the 1400's and it fell into disuse. Since then the weather and seasons has eroded much of the walls away and to protect what is left shelters have been erected to keep the rain from damaging the friezes any more. It is amazing to see the quality of what is left though and as we walked round the rest of the site we saw pelicans, fish, birds and other designs embossed around the base of the walls looking like they'd been created yesterday!! The other impressive thing we came across was a vast well the size of a football pitch dug into the ground providing an oasis for 'tortora' reeds to grow and ducks to live. Apparently this amazing feat was common amongst this civilisation and the Incas got many of their irrigation ideas from the Chimu and subsequently used them and improved them to suit their needs. After a couple of hours walking round we had seen all we could, there was a whole section fenced off for restoration which was a shame but we were told there wasn't anything there we hadnt seen already so with our 2 companions we got a taxi a couple of miles down the road and had a look in the small museum of the area, entrance to which is included on our ticket. There were some interesting facts and quite a few pieces recovered from the site including tools and pottery of different eras but it didnt really take more than ½ hour to see and read everything. Leaving the museum and our companions to go back to Huanaco where they were staying, we got another combi and headed back to Trujillo but seemed to come back a different way to which we went and so weren't sure where to get off (it turns out there is a ring road and we guess we went out one way and came back the other). We made a guess and got off when lots of other people did thinking it being a popular spot we would be able to find our way from here. After an hour of walking around in the scorching heat we eventually came to a shopping complex and decided it would be best to hang out here for the afternoon where there was food, drink and air con! Having thoroughly explored the shops and it only being 3pm with our onward bus not until 11.45 we decided we would see if there was anything to watch at the small cinema there. There was only one film in English, the rest had been dubbed, so we paid S7 each to see 'Chronicle' which turned out to be a little strange but reasonably entertaining film that kept us occupied for a couple of hours. After this we wandered round a bit more before getting some dinner from the food court and asking directions to get back to the bus station. It was now dark but the streets were well lighted and after ½ hour we came to the Plaza De Armas lit up like a christmas tree with a huge independence monument/fountain in the centre and several important looking buildings including the Palace of Justice and a Cathedral around the edge of the square. Still having a couple of hours to kill before having to be back at the station to catch the bus we found somewhere to sit and watched the world go by for a while before deciding we needed a coffee to wake us up. Cheap coffee found and drunk we slowly made our way along a pretty pedestrian street towards the bus station which, when we got there, was full of people. We waited 20 mins or so to be able to retrieve our day bags from the storage and sat down to catch up on blogs while the people around us hustled and bustled as they do before being kicked out and the doors locked behind them. This all happened before we realised we were the only people left in there but as no one told us to leave we assumed it was ok and carried on minding our own business when there was loud knocking at the door. A guy emerged from somewhere and let the knocker in who turned out to be another traveller who had been quite distressed when he saw the doors all shut up as he was booked onto our bus as well and wasnt sure he was going to be let in! Not long after a man came round to tell us that our bus was running late and would be here in about 1 ½ hrs, so only 1 ¼ hrs late then!!