Archive for November, 2007

Peru´s Northwestern Coast

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

As I hurried north trying to make up for lost time, I stopped in a few places along the west coast of Peru. It is warm and dry here, a nice change from the wet and cold of the Cordilleras. I have to admit I took the bus a few times. Just too many trucks and buses for my taste. I got a little sick, I think, from inhaling too much diesel exhaust.

One stop was Trujillo, a town Pizarro founded which he named after his hometown in Spain. It has some nice colonial buildings and a fine main plaza.

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There was a group performing some folk dances in the plaza:

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Continuing north on the Pan-American highway, it was hot, windy and dusty, with lots of traffic. I had my iPod in every day.

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Further north I stopped in the town of Chiclayo. Here are a few random shots. This photo is of a small demonstration promoting women´s safety.

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This guy was selling Chiclets in the main square.

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Some kids in the market. I like the expressions captured in this photo.

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This one is interesting. It is a painting of an Inca royal. They wore the gold piece covering the mouth to prevent people from seeing their teeth. They were supposed to be semi-deities and they felt teeth were too human-looking, so they covered them up. I guess even gods can have bad teeth.

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I rested for a couple days at the beach resort of Mancora. Here´s a few pix of some locals.

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Cultual differences again

We discussed in a previous blog post the fact that different cultures develop different norms and acceptable behaviors. It struck me as curious when I went out Saturday night in Mancora how young the kids looked. I realized most of them could be my children. Is there anything wrong with a 40-something clubbing with a bunch of twenty-somethings? I always thought older people who tried to make themselves look younger and fit into the younger generation were a bit pathetic.  I hope I am not one of those people.

What do you think–is it OK, or even desirable, to go for the liposuction, botox and facelift while wearing Sean John and Billabong or should one grow old gracefully and just be old in the traditional sense. I think things are changing. Just because you are retired doesn´t mean you sit around or play golf all day. Didn´t George Bush Sr. jump out of a plane not so long ago because he wanted to try sky diving? Why can´t older people, as long as they are physically able, do the same things as younger folks?

On the other hand, has anyone seen Girls of the Playboy Mansion? There is something sad about seeing Hugh Hefner putz around in his bathrobe talking nonsense to his three platinum blond, brainless girlfriends. There must be a point where you just have to give it up and be old.

And another thing–Is it just me or do young people look younger than they were a generation ago? I mean, I was clearly the oldest person in this club (except for one guy who must have been in his 60s. He looked more out of place than I did.) But these kids looked like adolescents. There was a group of them smoking a hookah and drinking beers. They told me they were 15 years old and had come up from Lima. How´s that for a cultural difference? I was told most of the kids come from well-to-do families and the parents just want to get rid of them for a weekend so they pay for their trip. The bartender said legally they should not be drinking, but there is no enforcement of the law. Anyway, the bartender did not look much older than 18 himself.

Here´s the group of kids. Is it wrong for them to be partying until dawn even if sanctioned by their parents and society?

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A few more pix. Mancora is popular with surfers and kite surfers. I tried surfing but just took pix of the kite surfers.

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After Mancora the road hugged the coast all the way to Tumbes, 30 km from the Ecuador border. A nice ride. Little traffic, great weather, flat roads and a tailwind. It doesn´t get much better than that.

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Final thoughts on Peru

As I leave Peru I am once again in awe of a country that has so much to offer a visitor. I regret I cannot spend more time here, as I feel I only scratched the surface in understanding this place. I met another cyclist who said he was going on a three month tour of Peru. I told him that´s a minimum. I was here a month and that was way too short. There is so much I did not see: The jungles of the east, the highlands in the north and central part of the country, the deep canyons around Arequipa, and numerous archaeological sites. I kept telling people I need to come back and spend another couple months and do some mountain climbing , white water rafting, and canoeing in the Amazon. There is enough here to keep one busy for a long time. If you get a chance, go to Peru. You won´t regret it.