Giant sandcastle city

Trip Start Jun 26, 2006
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Trip End Feb 28, 2007


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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now if Neil had told me we were going to a huge beach.....i would have brought my bucket and spade!!
It was certainly a surprise to be in the desert. Our bus journey from Piura took us through some amazing scenery......everything turned to sand.....huge sand drifts....and the odd little plant.....it was all very odd. Kinda looked like the scene from Star wars....where luke skywalker comes from! Thats what it reminded me of anyway!
Coming into the town was interesting....alll the houses lining the side of the road were made of straw....thought it was little odd.....but then when we later found out it only rains every 15 years we understood it!
On arriving in Trujillo our taxi driver informed us that the hostel we wanted to go to was rubbish and recommended another place, which was in our guidebook but sounded expensive....but it was too late and we were tempted. The place turned out to be really nice and not that expensive at all....got ourselves a lovely room with a balcony overlooking the street and church, and they even had a tour company doing the exact tour we wanted to do tomorrow....how perfect was that? They even gave a discount....well thats what they told us!!
It was getting late, so we decided to go find food....walked along the main street...but just seemed to be full of shops.....no restaurants.....our usual problem. Saw an italian place but looked expensive....not much else....so we went for it. It wasnt really that expensive, we just havent got our head around ´soles´yet.....too long using the dollar! We enjoyed yummy spag bol, cause i had my sensible head on and local trujillo beer....was lager but was still quite pleasant. Then headed back....where we watched Dr House and gangs of New York....although i ended up falling asleep before the end!

Next day was day trip day. We had breakfast in the hotel....was good......yummy bread, juice and coffee and i even had eggs....well some of em anyway! Then we waited for our lift. Were surprised to see the bus full.....but its always nicer that way. Our tour guide was cool....she said everything in english and spanish and wore a groovy yellow waistcoat and big yellow hat! First stop was a very strange little pyramid....that was kinda plain....but had groovy rainbow carvings on the outside....had a flat top, but it did have cool views...we also saw a couple of the hairless dogs that are now endangered and were important to the old civilisations...they were cool! Apparantly you can use them as hot water bottles cause they have such warm blood!
Then it was back in the bus and to the main temple -las huacas del sol y de luna. These were right in the middle of the desert....we saw the moon one first they havent restored that yet....looked like a huge collapsed sandcastle! The we reached the sun pyramid...which you can see inside. Inside there were amazing coloured carvings and designs.....it seems the sand has preserved them really well....and the fact that they liked to build each temple on top of the others, thus pretecting the inner ones.....its amazing to think its all built with sand bricks and was built by the Moche people, like thousands of years ago, way before the incas.
The place got better the further in we went....our tour guide explained about all the designs...then we got to see the best bit.....the outside....which was completely covered with huge designs of people, animals, shapes....it was truly amazing! Best colours and designs we have seen out here and its way, way older! Was all very impressive, we took hundreds of photos.....not as many as the japs on our tour though....who had to take pictures of everything and i mean everything!...and then it was time to head back to Trujillo.
We were then asked if we wanted to wait in the hostel till the afternoon tour or go to some cool local place for lunch....now we werent hungry (yes its true, we actually wernt) but we arent ones to turn down a cool opportunity...so off we went. Was a strange place.....had local food....but was called a restaurant turistico? The menu was all in spanish and had local names so we had no idea what anything was...and everyone else in the group was spanish! Ended up ordering steak and chips...kind of....to share...which didnt half confuse the waiter! We were entertained with local dancing while we ate....which was really cool....but i cant see catching on in the UK clubs! The food coming out of the kitchen were huge and looked very interesting....ours was nice and safe and tasted good too!
Our bus arrived to take us to more sandcastles.....first stop was the museum of Chan Chan....which was tiny and to be honest you definately didnt need a guide for it....got a tad boring! Then we got to the fun stuff! We drove into Chan Chan, which is huge....past huge piles of sand...which were actually ruins....until we reached the only one they have started to restore.
 Was cool....looked just like a huge sandcastle that you would find on blackpool beach.....except a little bit bigger! We went inside and saw the walls that are like several meters thick at the bottom.....they are tapered to help against eartquakes...yes they even understood them! Inside there were cool carvings in the walls of fish and the like.....it made me think of the sandcastle competition we saw in Canada! Inside further there was a monstrous square.....the size was unbelievable and this was just one tiny room of one place and there are 9 palaces....size certainly wasnt a issue back then! But when you think it is built of sand like 900bc its pretty damn amazing. Further in it became a maze of rooms....most of the walls only being a few feet high...were they should have been a lot more...they were all made of diamonds....supposed to represent fishing nets....it was just amazing....i cant really describe it....its one of those place...where you just gotta be there! We also saw the graves of kings and peasants and god knows how many other rooms. I really felt like i had been shrunk and was walking round someones castle on the beach which the waves had started to destroy. It was odd. The only downside to the whole day was the bloody japanese 3, they were so annoying.....taking photos of every grain of sand....and holding eveything up...kept having to wait for them.....how many photos can you seriously want....i thought we were bad....but not anymore!
Our final stop was the beach.....yes they have a beach here.....not just desert! It was a short drive, and was quite a pleasant surprise when we got there. Only had half an hour to wander round.....but was enough. The place even had a pier....we paid our 15p and had a romantic walk down pier....watching the locals in their strange straw boats! It was really nice....reminded me of blackpool!!!!! Then it was time to head back except the japanese had disappeared, so we had to look for them and wait....oooh they were annoying! Our tour guide had clearly had enough and was tempted to leave them...i think she should have!
Finally got back....were tired but decided we had to go find the english sounding bar. Oh yeah and buy our tickets for tomorrow. Streets were heaving....god knows why....Friday i guess? Got tickets then went pub hunting. I walked right past the pub cause it didnt look anything like a pub! Was a huge poncy building....but was way cool inside...was called chelsea pub and it reminded me of just that a pub in chelsea.....very english and atmospheric but sophisticated. Had no english beer, but had pint glasses and i had corona.....the food wasd amazing...when we got an english menu and worked out whay was on it! Neil had kebabs and fries and i had a plate full of pork chops and fries and salad.....god it was good. A lovely way to end a lovely day....almost felt romantic!!
Next day we had a whole day to ´waste´...cos we werent leaving till 10:30pm. We had a lazy get up....which is always nice...had a nice leisurely breakfast...then went out to find ways to waste the day. The best way we have discovered without a doubt is to sit in an internet cafe. So we spent a good 3 hours there and decided we should go and see some of the place we were staying before we left!!!! We headed to the main square....which was really cool, cos they were setting up funky christmas trees everywhere....we wandered round....trying to decide which was the wierdest and there were some wierd ones....one was made of christmas presents and my fav was decorated entirely with winnie the pooh and piglet soft toys! We then checked out the cathedral....not particularly exciting...watched some idiots breakdancing in the middle of the road and then asking everyone in the cars for money for their efforts! Didnt know what else to go look at....guess we had seen a lot of the place simply by going doing stuff about the place.....so headed to the italian for coffee and cake....which turned into beer and cake....was damn good cake though. Then we had more time to waste....so cause we needed to go check our emails for any replies....we wasted another few hours there! Then we finished the wasting of a day with a visit to the local chinese place. Was a real local place and was heaving, there was only one girl serving the whole place...so the service was pants but when the food came it was good.....and absolutely loads of it.....for virtually no money. She did forget to bring our drinks....and we couldnt manage to get her attention till we had virtually finished, but hey it was so damn cheap who cares!! The waitress did derserve a medal though.....like to see someone in england work that hard for the wages they get out here! 
Then it was time to get our stuff and head to the bus station.....only problem was we couldnt get a taxi! Now you really couldnt believe that would be possible....there are thousands of the bloody things at every time of day and night.....it just so happened it was saturday night and anyone who was anyone was in a taxi going somewhere....hundreds passed all full.....had just resigned ourselves to walking.....when we finally got one.....even if it wasnt really big enough to get us and our backpacks in! Somehow we managed and got to the bus in time to get our bus! Even managed to watch a bit of spiderman while we were waiting.
The bus was stupid.....not top of the range but posh none the less and we had a wierd conductor more like a stewardess with a very stupid hat! When she talked on the microphone you coudnt hear a word...and basically all she did was hand out coffee and croissants then disappear while everyone went to sleep. What a fun job that is....whats the use in being a conductor...if you cant hang out the open door shouting the place you are going over and over! None if you ask me!!!! Oh yeah forgot we got another film....snow dogs...looked like it would have been rubbish in english....but since it was in spanish i went to sleep instead!
 
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