Have you ever been down a rabbit hole and wonder how you got there? Chiclayo was one such a rabbit hole. Carole and I discussed leaving Cha cha for some time and had reservations about leaving even after making reservations for leaving!
But leave we did and after an uneventful overnite bus ride, arrived in Chiclayo at 530 am. We had previously decided on a hostal and had the address, however it was dark and we did not have a map. So...what to do? Grab a taxi of course. We asked the cost of the ride to our hostal, 5 soles the driver replied. Fair enough. What ensued was the first time we were ripped off in Peru. The driver literally drove us half a block to our hostal ! For conversion purposes 5 soles equates to $2.00. Such was the entry to Chiclayo.
Although our egos were a bit bruised, we were lucky enough the hostal night guard let us drop our luggage so we could go in search of some breakfast, but more importantly coffee. Bear in mind this was now only 615 am, but we were supposedly in a big modern city. Nada, nunca to be found. Every cafe and restaurant was cerrado (closed) up tight. We were told 730 was the magical hour, but we were desperate for cafe or tea and breakfast. After wandering around looking every bit a tourist, we decided to brave the Hotel Centro as it was the only place open. What we got was a cup of hot water and a jar of pale and stale looking Nescafé !
Chiclayo is a modern sprawling coastal city with far too many taxis, collectivos, buses and people. It is very difficult to walk down any street without feeling like you are choking on carbon monoxide.
Wish I could have brought this painting home ! Great image in our local breakfast haunt.
Always in search of another door knocker or window shot. I just can't get enough!
We came to this city as we were told ( by several Peruanos), the best museum in South America was just 10 minutes outside of the city. This indeed turned out to be true. The Mueso de Sipan is full of pre-inca artifacts together with treasures from the tomb of Senor Sipan himself. 16 tombs were discovered in 1995 unplundered, and the Museo is full of these discoveries including the mummy of Señor Sipan. We spent 3 hours wandering around in awe.
Sweets are absolutely ubiquitous in Peru. You can't walk down a street without viewing several mile high lemon merengue offerings, chocolate torte and so on. Glad we don't have a sweet tooth (or is that teeth?), as we would surely return many kilos more.
Other days were spent at El Pimental, a beachside town filled with vacationing Peruanos familias. Brightly coloured umbrellas dotted the beach together with ninos building sandcastles, teens playing volleyball and many many vendors selling helado (ice cream), biscuits, drinks of any want/need and fish- yes fish. The local pescadoros arrive mid afternoon in their boats of totora reeds with their wells filled with various types and sizes of fish. It was so fun to watch the sorting, weighing and selling process of each boat.
Sadly not long after this fun afternoon, both Rod and I began a battle with grippe (flu). We are both sure that city pollution, temperature differences and lack of nutritious food do not add up to a speedy recovery. Yes nutritous food here is difficult to obtain. Red meat is high on the menu, most always fried and served with white rice solo. Pollo can be found, but again almost always fried with KFC being on offer too. There are many fresh vegetables and fruits here in the markets, but without cooking facilities impossible to put together a meal. Pizza has been a safe meal for us and happily we have been able to enjoy the vegetarian variety.
After much discussion, we decided our time north was complete and booked a flight to Arequipa.