The trip to Peru, as with all trips in South America, consisted of a number of stages. First off we had to catch the local bus to Loja. We had decided to stay overnight in Loja to break the journey. This was a good thing as El Cid, my Spanish speaking computer, had manged to catch not one but 5 viruses of which one was a Trojan Horse. These viruses had infected my photos, my SD cards and memory stick. I cannot repeat what I said about the b******s that write these viruses but it ended with them being terminated. I found a lovely little man in a shop, who yes you guessed it could not speak English and yes your are right I had no dictionary. Nothing stops me whatever the odds and somehow I managed to get the man to understand and 45 minutes later El Cid was better and I was only £3 lighter!!!!! I think it helped that Cid could speak the lingo. In Loja, we stayed in a dodgy looking hotel but not lets judge it by the cover it did have wifi. We had tried to stay somewhere nicer but as we tried to negotiate on price the rooms miraculously disappeared as I think the lady on reception decided she didn't want our sort in her hotel - tight arses. So we found ourselves in this hotel with paper walls and TVs blaring. Eventually Karen, my border crossing buddy, decided to complain. In Spanish she informed the young culprits 'Down the TV, you cannot sleep!!!' Not sure why they looked at her strangely! It did however do the trick but we spent the next half an hour laughing about downing the TV!
In the morning, we caught the early bus to Piura, Peru. This is a nine hour journey and it was a really hot day in a bus with no air conditioning. The views however were yet again amazing. Really mountainous with deep valleys sometimes covered in cloud. The border crossing took place about half way through the journey and despite all the horror stories was really straightforward. In fact we didn't even have to take our bags of the bus. On the buses they always tend to show a movie or 2 but for some reason they have to be incredibly old, naff or violent or sometimes when you are really lucky all 3! The other idiosyncrasy is that they are all dubbed in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Bloody marvellous - you still watch it though as if you know what is going on . On this occasion, we had the screening of 'Law Abiding Citizen'. Very violent and far too much blood for my liking. Not one I would recommend. When we finally got to Piura, the place was chaos. There appears to be a dual carriage way with bus parks on either side but buses tend to just stop anywhere. People are everywhere - paths, roads, shops. The more chaotic, the more at risk you are. So I decided to get out of there and start the next stage of my journey - a bus to Chiclayo.
It started well. I found the bus station and bought my ticket for the next bus which would arrive in Chiclayo at 7pm. Not to late or so I thought. Firstly I didn't realise it got dark at 5pm and on top of that the bus took longer than scheduled. So I turned up in a strange city, late, dark, hungry and really tired with no accommodation. As all the things that could happen to me ran through my head, I then realised that actually no one knew where I was!!!! I had to get a taxi but there are a lot of scams here where they pose as official taxis and then take you to places where they take all your valuables or make you go to an ATM. I grabbed the most official looking taxi that I could and I am happy to say it did nothing more than take me to the hotel of my choosing. Luck was definitely on my side as the hotel also had room. It was a horrible little box of a room but at least I was off the street. I decided to get a bite to eat from the local greasy spoon before sending a message to loved ones of my location in case a search had to be initiated. This place was definitely not nice and did not set me at ease in any way. By daylight I have to say my impression of the place did improve. It had a lovely square and some nice shops. It actually had a real department store. I spent the day relaxing and catching up on email as I waited for my travel companion, Jeff the American and my night bus to Chachapoyas.