Having left Chimbote behind Pancho drove solid all the way to Piura, which was quite a nice place for a change. We also stopped off in Chiclayo and Trujillo but these were again not tourist hot-spots!
Eating Ceviche – Bad Idea!
On the way to Piura I unfortunately let the guys bully me into eating some ceviche – it was a terrible idea! Ceviche is like sushi and in theory it’s safe to eat but not if the fish is out all day in the scorching heat! And that’s exactly what happened in this restaurant. We had been driving all day and everyone was hungry so we stopped at this middle-of-nowhere place by the sea. It was desert again, pure sand everywhere and in the middle of it was a shack selling ceviche. Arturo and Pancho went on for at least half an hour that I was a pussy if I don’t try ceviche. So in the end I gave in. Off course the stupid thing was off! I noticed on the way out that the fridge was off so he basically kept the fish in a warm fridge all day!
Food Poisoning In Piura
By the time we got to Piura I was very sick and had fever – I couldn’t sit or stand! In the middle of it all it was a national holiday in Peru and in the main square they were playing music all night so I couldn’t sleep. I had a huge go at both of them for forcing me to eat that shit! They then took me to the pharmacy to buy some medication which they paid for in compensation!
Finally they turned the shitty music off, they did the fireworks at midnight then I could go to sleep. In the morning we went to get breakfast but I noticed they kept disappearing from the table. So I asked what was going on and it turned out that both the machos got food poisoning too! I had such a laugh! This delayed us a little as we were taking turns in the toilet but we then left around 10 in the morning.
We drove to Mancora and Tumbes after which we crossed the border to Ecuador. Mancora is a tourist hot-spot, mainly for backpackers from the US and Europe. There are lots of huts on the beach and youth hostels cater for any nationality looking to get drunk. The beach apparently has some of the best waves in the world so a lot of surfers come to visit.
We only spent a short time in Mancora for lunch then went to cross the border. The border guards were terribly corrupt: they said that if we paid $10 each we could jump the queue. Neither of us wanted to do it, what is more, Arturo said he thought it was sick that so many people are corrupt in these countries.
No wonder Chile is listed as the least corrupt and best place to do business in the entire continent of South-America! Both Arturo and Pancho were Chilean and they paid no bribe anywhere during the trip!
My Spanish gradually became better and after a couple of weeks I could understand CNN Espanol with no problems. I still had a hard time understanding the Chilean people but after travelling with Pancho for three weeks it became so much easier. Pancho did not speak a word of English and I took my Spanish books and grammar stuff with me to practice in the car. It paid dividends: after 10,000 miles I learnt Spanish perfectly well!
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