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Trip Start Jan 25, 2009
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Where I stayed
McCallum Lodging House

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Arriving back in Huanchaco, I had two ideas for what to do next. Travel to Colombia and travel through the Amazon by boat all the way to the otherside of the continent, arriving on the Bazilian coast after 6-8 weeks on boats. The other idea was to travel through the Amazon via Iquitos in the north of Peru. I decided to just enjoy myself for a few days before making any decision.

I arrived on a Friday morning, and helped out with the preparation for the Fund Raising Party on Saturday night. That including spending most of Saturday at the markets in Trujillo buying food and drinks. The party started off pretty quiet, which was worrying. But as the night went on a steady flow of people came - resulting in a good turn over. Juan Carlos seemed to enjoy this party a bit more than the last one - he handled the stress a bit better. During the party, somehow, Fleur, Mounia and I came up with the idea of traveling to Cajamarca for three days - with the plan to do something CRAZY while there.

Sunday was spent recruiting people for the roadtrip and trying to get seats on a bus....of course that was after a lazy breakfast at Casa Suiza. We also made some time to relax at the new coolest place in town - Miluna Cafe. I think it might be the best cafe I have ever seen. By the afternoon we had six people and six seats - party on! We still hadn't decided what the 'CRAZY' thing was that we were going to do - but we figured it would come to us when we arrived. Team CRAZY was made up of: Fleur (Holand), Mounia (Morocco), Delaney (England), Martin (Australia), Mike (England) and I.

We arrived in Cajamarca Monday morning - feeling pretty tired from a shit overnight bus ride. We found a hostel on the Plaza de Armas, and went to sleep for a coule of hours. Don Paco for breakfast followed by a walk around the town, including up to the lookout. Our three days in Cajamarca could be summed up as an anti-climax. Each one of us were sick at some stage over the three days, resulting in an insufficient amount of group energy to do anything 'CRAZY'. We still had fun though. We ate a lot of nice food, checked out the central market, got up early Tuesday morning to see the sunrise while bathing in the natural hot springs at Banos del Inca, 15 minutes from Cajamarca, and we found comfy couches to relax on in a nice hotel in the Plaza - which was also home to one of the best hot chocolates I've tasted. At the hot springs we rented two private baths - feeling one with cool water, and the other with hot - we then spent 30 minutes going between the two. It had the desired effect - I felt so much better afterwards - energized and clear-headed. Independence Day was celebrated while we were in Cajamarca - so we saw a parade through the Plaza de Armas, marching bands, a military displays, and many other random festive 'things'. The sun was shining the whole time we were in Cajamarca - so relaxing on the grass in the Plaza was awesome under the warm sun - a nice change after the cloudy days on the coast. We had a HUGE night out before leaving - it was just massive.....well, that was the plan - in reality we couldn't find any good nightspots and we were in bed by 1am. Waking up on Wednesday morning, Mounia had gotten really sick, and was unable to eat before getting on the bus. It was much better doing the trip back to Trujillo during the day, as the roads are very windy - making it almost impossible to sleep. All in all it was a 'CRAZY' few days!!! CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!

We arrived back in Huanchaco at about 5pm - not leaving Fleur and I much time to prepare for a cocktail party that night, which I was invited to by Miguel. It was for a dancing horse show which was running for 3-4 days. Miguel had called me while I was in Cajamarca to tell me I was invited, and that I needed to have appropriate dress, as well as a girl who has a cocktail dress.....not that easy when you are hanging out with backpackers. I asked Fleur to join me, so on our final day in Cajamarca she found a dress and I found some grey dress pants. The cocktail party was really cool. Definitely not what I expected....well, to be honest, I didn't know what it was going to be like. We were served Pisco Sours, Algarrobina cocktails and Pisco shots to start with. Then the dancing horses came out - putting on a really interesting performance. I had never seen horses DANCE before - pretty amazing stuff. That was followed by some presentations - Miguel explaining to us who was who - "That guy owns the two biggest banks in Peru", "That guy was taken hostage a few years ago, the family paying millions in ransom for his release", etc, etc. The catering was sponsored by a Peruvian Ham company - so all the food provided contained ham.....haha. All in all, a great night. I definitely didn't think I would be attending a cocktail party while in Peru


MILUNA CAFE
This might just be the best cafe I've ever been to. All the furniture is custom designed and made for the cafe. The entrance looks out onto the beach, with a large deck filled with funky chairs and couches. As you walk into the cafe you are greeted by friendly staff, and see a counter filled with snack foods. The walls are covered with amazing artwork, and everything about the place is given an artistic finish. There are three rooms: the cheese room, which has a table and chairs, as well as couches. There is a reading room, with low chairs, pillows, a book selection, and tree branches hanging from the ceiling. The third room is a movie room, with a quality plasma screen, DVD and speaker setup. We debated for a while about what theme the walls in this room have been painted to - we think it is a moon theme - whatever it is, it works. There is a huge couch and pillows to keep you comfy while watching movies. The coffee is good, and the hot chocolates are freakin' amazing. Oh, another cool thing; the artwork on the walls, and the furniture are all for sale.

The next day Tom returned from Argentina, while Mounia left for Cuzco, and the following day Fleur and Camille left for Huaraz - the loss of these girls hit the team hard. So on Friday night we went to Miluna to watch a movie. Earlier that afternoon we had hung out there - watching a coulpe of movies in the TV room. Tom and I met a Lucia, a Mexican who had spent the last week in town, and who was also catching a bus that night. We hung out in the afternoon - getting a burrito at Otra Cosa Restaurant. Anyway - so after saying goodbye to Fleur and Camille, the rest of us went to Miluna. Laura was feeling pretty down after Camille departure, so she decided to bring a carton of wine (Gato) to the cafe. We watched 'American History X' - the DVD deciding to stop working right after the shower seen in prison. So as we turn the lights on and get ready to leave, Tom asks Laura a question. None of us realised that she had got herself completely drunk, and was unable to operate her vocal cords in order to give a reply......haha, English people

Tom and I surfed for the next three days. I hadn't surfed in over three weeks and wasn't sure how I would do. I was pleasently surprised when we went out on Saturday - I was getting up faster than I ever had before. I had more stability - and was able to move more freely on the waves. I think my body needed a break to recover, so something. Whatever happened, the end result was positive - I was finally seeing some real improvement

I decided to change my plans again. I began feeling like I want to be stable in one place again - have a routine, train, study, eat well,etc. So the new plan is: bus in Lima, get a Brazilian visa and fly to Rio de Janeiro for at least two months of full time Jiu Jitsu training (in the home of BJJ). I'll save the Amazon adventure for next time. I sold my skateboard to a surfer for 100 soles - I figure I'll wait until I'm living and working somewhere to learn how to skate, and I think a longboard would be much wiser to learn on - save the ankles.

We got a poker game in at Miluna, some chess, and a farwell dinner for Tom and I. Tom was leaving the same night as I for Lima also, to get his flight back to Engand - he had reached the end of his seven month holiday. The last supper was at The Polleria (of course) - Tom tried to break the tradition by bringing a pizza from Casa Suiza. After dinner we had Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) at McCallum's. Then it came time for goodbyes. It was a very emotional scene. Patricia and Tania were crying, and we were all pretty sad. Tom doesn't know if he will ever come back to Huanchaco (and he had spent about two months there), and I don't know when I will return - maybe next Jan, maybe not for two years. The taxi ride to TRC bus company was a quiet one - although I did have my 'happy pants' on, as well as my bright yellow Huanchaco t-shirt, so it was hard to stay sad for very long. This was the first time in a while that I was traveling with all my belongings.....and I realised I have accumulated a lot of stuff. I am currently traveling with a small suitcase, trekking pack, day-pack, market bag (for my oats), and surfboard. Crazy. I shouted myself to TRC full cama for my final trip to Lima - it costs 100 soles for the privilege to travel with this company - but you do get a 180 degree (fully horizontal) seat, personal TV, and good service

Goodbye Huanchaco, and the McCallum gang! Thanks for everything!!
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