That is what shouted from Ecuador, though it wasn’t the first time I said that.
I do not intend to offend the Peruvians that are kind, honest and nice (I know some of them are), nor to make a deep social study of the country. I’m only trying to vent off: lately, I’ve been growing a visceral hatred to Peru. It positioned that nacionality in the second place of my just-made-up list of “not-so-irrational hatreds”.
Days ago I wrote about that feeling and its causes in a more rational way:
Peru left a bittersweet memory in me: it has incredible places, with tremendous an historical and natural value. Incredible gastronomy, and people… well, some of them are also incredible. I arrived, without any prejudice or preconception, and I can say that I found a lot of people who were excellent, interesting. The experience had, without a doubt, a very positive part.
But, without anything terrible happening in my trip, I can say that it was also the place where I met more dishonest, lying, whining, egoistic, ignorant, or stupidly prejudiced people. It could have been bad luck, but I believe it has something to do with a spoiled education, and some negative aspects on the culture.
And I do not believe that the poverty is the unique factor to be considered as a cause. Seeing the children and their education (not only formal education, but within the family, et cetera) I guess that -unfortunately- it’s going to be very difficult for them to get out of that spiral of poverty.
I’m trying to be objective, but doubtlessly my perspective is the one from a traveller who can be distinguished easily from the peruvians because his looks. Probably, I would had had a more positive vision if they saw me as a peruvian, not as a bag of dollars that doesn’t speak spanish at all, and has nothing in common with them but that he exploits them in a variety of ways. To a certain extent, it is a racial discrimination; although with softer connotations than the racism we’re used to.
And Lima seemed horrible to me.
In these words, I’m making an attempt not to consider the annoying things or the people who can be predefined as dishonest (taxi drivers, people related directly to tourism, et cetera).
Perhaps I do exaggerate, but, it was the first country in South America where I felt the urge to flee from. Without looking back. I was sick of it.
The experience, in any case, was worth it. By all means.
Archive for category: Perú
“Enjoy the two dollars. Have a good life, and take care of your prostate.” (curse and irony included)
I didn’t intend to spend a single night in Piura, because it was time to leave Peru. So I took a ticket to Loja, Ecuador. Though initially I was planning to go to Guayaquil, Loja seemed a good destination too, and it’s on the way.
I had three hours till the departure, so I got to know the market. At some point, I asked three guys for a place to buy a cold beer with my last five soles, and ended up drinking with them. They were quite nice, I wished I had known more of that kind in Perú.
After taking the bus, I slept until we got to the border. They didn’t have electricity, so it was a curious and sombre situation. At midnight, my confrontation with the Peruvian bureaucracy began.
It turned out that when I entered Perú, the stupid officer granted me a 30 day visa instead of the 90 day visa I was asking for (in the paper for entering, I put that I was going to be there around forty days). Silly of me, I didn’t check that out.
So I had been exceeding my visa for twenty-three days, and I had to pay 23 dollars. As I didn’t care about being able to return to Perú (I was sick of that country, and never willing to return), I just went to the Ecuadorian border and tried to get the stamp. Unfortunately, they did require the exit stamp from Perú to stamp the entrance to Ecuador.
I asked the Peruvian officer for any posible solution. He, Eduardo Cherres Machado, was doing his duty, but acting stupidly unflexible. Oficially I didn’t have any money. And I wasn’t the only one to blame.
Actually, my only mistake was not to check the visa when they issued it. Also, I wasn’t sure that that law of “1 dollar per day” was true or the money was going to end in the officer’s pocket (as probably happened). The money wasn’t the important thing, but the feeling of being swindled. A common feeling for a visitor in that country.
But, in the end, it seemed that there were two choices: paying, or remaining in Perú. And 23 dollars weren’t that much: I would have given my soul to get out of that country. Of course, if my soul didn’t remain there.
He got 25, because he didn’t have change. 2 more. I was pissed off. Irony and a curse.
At least it was a legal procedure.
Back to heat… I dawned in Trujillo. The main square (‘Plaza de Armas’) was spectacular, although, even 6am, some guys were stressing the tired tourist. I looked for lodging alternatives, and I chose a relatively expensive one: 35 soles. Nevertheless, it was quite good. Without a doubt, the most comfortable room in a couple weeks.
On the following day, (9th), the kind of tourism I tend to criticize but use when I’m feeling lazy (guided tours): in the morning, the Huacas of the Sun and the Moon; and in the evening, Chan Chan. With the same company that ran the hostel, Colonial. For two nights and the tour I paid 89 soles. In Peruvian terms it is somewhat expensive, but they offered a good service.
I took a tour to Cumbe Mayo. There there are pre-Columbian and pre-Incan ruins. Humpi mayo: the thin river, and its aqueduct. And the petroglyphs.
Then, at night, after a ‘chaufa’, I tried to go out in the city, but it was discouraging. Strolling along some streets, meant hearing -exactly with the same voice which they use to offer tours and maney exchange- some other offers: “mamada, fucky, fucky”.
The following day (7) I spent time waiting for the night bus to Trujillo.
Pictures? Nothing really new:
A day of interrupted and intermittent rains, although some jerks were celebrating the carnival throwing water balloons. It’s a good game when the day is warm, but ridiculous when it rains. In fact, they spend practically a month with that games, not only the carnival’s week. In some towns, they are trying to limit that kind of games, because they produce many accidents (usually traffic related).
Furthermore, some people -luckyly, not many- not only throw water or talc, but paint or gasoline.
In the morning, I left Leymebamba by bus. The bus’ destination was Cajamarca. Normally, the bus delays ten hours. But, predictively, there was some incident, in which the bus ended stuck in a roadside ditch. A (relatively) collective effort put the bus on the road again, after more than forty minutes.
And we continued travelling. I got a little tired of being called ‘gringo’, sometimes in a pejorative way. Some of them clearly discriminate the foreigner. The funny thing is that I cannot even be considered as a ‘gringo’ (well, only in Brazil, that gringo means any foreigner, no matter the origin).
…but without any deal with a known god.
Back to the incidents!
Since I had one day before the bus to Cajamarca, I decided to walk uphill, following a path that leads to “La Congona”, an archaeological site. And I walked up, serenely. The sun was hitting hard and there was a lot of mud in some segments of the way that hadn’t dried. Before arriving to San Cristobal, the path splitted. And I took the left turn, that continued upwards. I intended to watch the other part of the hill, being “La Congona” a secondary target.
Furthermore, there were some aggresive-looking dogs in San Cristobal. Thus, moving away from the dogs, I found two small farms, one each side. At the left, some children were playing.
The farms were surrounded by a fence consisting on two wires. I was detected by the children, but not only by them. Suddenly, a pack of upset dogs appeared from the right farm, barking while running. From the left, two appeared: one black with gray marks, very nervous, and a brown-happy-puppy. I looked for a stone of a stick, but found none. The path where I was standing had a width of around four feet, was quite steepy, and full of mud. I had a very reduced mobility. So I chose to remain quiet and not to move, trying not to be a threat for the pack. Fortunately, the pack that appeared from the right was a little bit disturbed, and started bitting each other. It seemed that it was not a pack, after all, but a mix of dogs. They were very excited.
To my left, the black dog reappeared. He was quite nervous, scared and upset. But I made no move, I wasn’t not a threat. But I should have been a threat; I should have carried a stick or a machete (like a man I walked with -the previous day- from the museum to Leyme). Because he crossed the fence and bit me near the heel. As he didn’t like the taste of my jeans and saw more activity with the other dogs, he runned away.
As I was a little bit tired and pissed off, I decided to return to the town. I have heard cases of rabies in Peru, so I went to a doctor’s office, where I spoke with a doctor. With him, I went to the health center, and treated the wound. It was superficial, and there hadn’t been cases of rabies in the last 18 years, so they told me not to get the vaccine. Though the dogs are not vaccinated in that region. They told me they would observe the dog.
A funny thing that happened is that, when the doctor (Edward) tried to charge me for the consultation, I had only 11 soles, so I told him that I could go to get some money and pay him back in his office. He didn’t trust me! So he took the 11 soles and I went out. That didn’t affect much my percepcion on his professionalism, but seemed quite weird.
Well, if I die of rabies this month, you already know who are the ones to blame for a bad diagnosis/prognosis. Avenge me! ahahahaha
After noon, after the road being opened and some minutes waiting, I took, finally, the bus to Leyme. A few hours later, after being tortured by the horrific music from a band called “Corazon Serrano” (they have to use that music in Guantanamo, instead of Springsteen), I was there, and was guided to a hotel… it’s no good to follow anyone to any place when you resemble a ‘gringo’, but the hostel I was waiting at was closed. And the hotel I was taken to wasn’t that bad. Though it had no hot water, and after some time without a hot shower, I was craving for it. Especially in Leyme, which was far colder than Tarapoto or Iquitos. At least it was cheap.
I went to the museum, the Diaz family gave me a lift in their truck. And I arrived late, but they let me enter without any hindrance… it was deserted, I was the only one visiting. And I could have done anything. It was a curious situation, there alone, removing sheets (that protect pieces from the sun) to see the textiles, turning on and off the lights, et cetera.
The guard came, as it seemed he wanted to go home. He told me, in a good mood, some stuff of some pieces there. It was an interesting conversation, 2-way.
The museum is quite good- not big, but detailed.
I went back to Leyme and had a great dinner for 4 soles. It was a good day, with a positive curve. Even the rain stopped after my visit to the museum. A rare day, in comparison with the previous days: days that started good, but ended with some incident or hassle.
In Chachapoyas, the employee of iPeru (a tourist institution, government related) told me that buying a tour service to Kuélap was as expensive as going there by yourself. She said that it was mandatory to have a guide to get to the place. But that wasn’t true. Anyway, it was true that there’s not much difference of expenses from one way to the other. And going in a tour is… well, more comfortable. Less genuine, too.
Along with a strange group, I visited the magnificent ruins of Kuelap. The lamas and the fog made an interesting combination, though the eternal presence of the rain was a little bit upsetting.
Maybe if I had returned to Chachapoyas I would have regained my affection to German individuals. But I planned to stay in Tingo (lower Tingo, to be precise), so I stayed. Wasn’t a very prosperous idea, because my plan to get to Leymebamba that night didn’t end successfully: in the hours I waited there (around five, until an hour after dusk), no vehicle passed with that destination. At least I spent the time talking to two curious policemen. I ended up in a lodge of Tingo, eating bananas and cheese.