I catch the night bus from Lima, the bus is packed and the “bad” news is that I’ve missed out on reserving a “cama” on the first level of the bus. The second floor is not so bad, really, I’ve had worse. Everything is so relative. I still remember the horror night bus from hell that Gerry and I took in Yunnan in the middle of winter- icy cold water dripping on us through the windows, almost being jettisoned off our “beds” every time the bus went around a corner, the middle of the night bathroom stops that gave me nightmares…. Oh my god that was so uncomfortable, but so hilarious. We really laughed a lot on that trip….because sometimes all you can do is laugh. I can’t wait to see Gerry in Galicia in a few weeks. I miss him. I like travelling alone, but travelling with him is something else. Always fun and unflappable to boot, the perfect travelling companion. I take a sleeping pill and pop on my deluxe eye mask, yep, it’s all good.
The bus moves us north for around ten hours, until it arrives at a city called Trujillo. Someone tells me where to go to get the bus to Huanchaco and I lift the backpack and set off- it’s incredible how easy it is becoming to carry it. When I left Australia, it felt so heavy (at the time it weighed 17kgs)- now it weighs 16 kgs and I’ve gotten stronger from walking. It feels good to be able to move comfortably with it attached to my body and I am also happy that rather than increasing in weight, it’s getting lighter. I’m doing something right. Lets see if I can keep it up- I’m going to have to slash the weight by about half for the camino….
I get to the stop and wait for a bus to hurtle past with “huanchaco” written on the front. There are a plethora of bus “companies” operating privately- thirty year old, rusted buckets of metal that were mini-buses in a previous life, with a guy hanging off the side shouting the destination to anyone on the footpath who looks like they might be waiting for a bus. I really regret not getting a sound recording of those guys-they were brilliant. Once the bus stops, the guy shouts to me (as he does to everyone who gets on) “sube!!! sube!!! sube!!!” (get on!!! x3- always x3)~ushering me on as if my life depended on it. I am thanking god for the reduced weight of my backpack and subsequent increased mobility that I am experiencing today. Picking up and setting down is ad-hoc i realise- it’s all up for negotiation. These buses are really a hybrid between a taxi and a bus ~super cheap, super flexible, super dodgy. We take off and I have no idea when I should get off or where I’m going to stay or what I’m going to do and I am as happy as a pig wallowing in the mud of ambiguity and not caring. Getting off the bus is equally dramatic- “baja!!!! baja!!!! baja!!!!” (get off!!!), and there I am, standing on the promenade of Huanchaco.
It is an overcast day, but the beach looks nice. There are surfers out on the waves, lovers strolling, kids frolicking in the waves and hippies selling jewellery… That afternoon, I find some people selling street food on the promenade so I have a go at the “papas rellenas” that i eat with a yellow chilli sauce that makes my eyes water and my appetite jump to attention. Yum! I then take a walk along the beach to watch the sunset and reflect on Peru. This is my last stop, and not a bad one at that. Tomorrow I move into Ecuador, one step closer to the jungle, Bea, Sebastian, the mob coming from Spain, and the medicine. It has been a nice taste, and I want more, but it will have to wait. Travelling in Peru this time has taught me how I want to travel in this country in the future…a practice run…….