We are in Puerto Huarmey now. We arrived last night and have booked ourselves a bus to Mancora (damn near Ecuador) for tonight. Just another 15 hours. That is as far north as I shall make it. But it will be nice to relax on the beach for a few days (although I got burnt today... ugh).
Anyway, in Puerto Huarmey they have a tree festival every year. Marty was here when it happened in 2005 and we are lucky (?) enough to be here for the celebration this time as well. This morning some of the locals went and found a tree and dragged it down the road (there is really only one road here and it is made of dirt) behind a truck. They then proceeded to dig a hole in the middle of the road (literally) and plant the tree. It took quite a few men to get it in as it is a rather large tree. Marty, Greg and I all headed to the beach this morning (hence the sunburn) but now that we are back the whole tree is beautifully decorated with... wait for it... tupperware. Feom what I gather, the tree will remain there for the rest of the month and at the end, at about midnight, all the locals will take turns with the axe to cut it down. The person who delivers the final blow is given the honour of providing the tree for next year. What a reward!
I´m not sure of the significance of this tree. I shall ask Marty. Ok, it is really a tradition from Cajamarca up in the mountains. Apparently "it is just what they do" according to Marty. Maybe I will try and find out more.
The beach, Tuquillo, was really cool. Huge waves crashing over the rocks and from the beach there is just miles and miles of sand. For as far as the eye can see. Huge mountains ("big grains") of sand. It looks like we´re in the middle of a desert... oh, that´s right, we are. We have been in desert (minus our brief escapade to Cusco etc) since we left Santiago. But it´s bizarre to see the desert reach the sea. Quite an amazing sight. I will upload photos later as Marty is busy playing with the camera at present.
So, tonight we get on a super plush (Ormeños Royal Class... I´m hoping for a poker table) bus to Mancora. That will be my final destination, the furthest north I shall go, before I start the trip back to Santiago via bus, plane and train and home. These 2 months have gone so fast I can´t believe it.
Last night we had an audience of little kids who had never seen a gringo before hanging out outside the window of the restaurant we´re staying at. We were chatting with some locals and Marty was playing guitar. The kids were quite intrigued. This is not somewhere tourists normally go. We are off the beaten track, that´s for sure (although Puerto Huarmey is on the Flight Centre maps!).
I got to name a puppy last night. She is a stray but she hangs out in the restaurant. Her name is now Lápiz. It is Castellano for ´pencil´. She is so cute I want to take her home. She is only 6 months old.
Oh god my legs are burnt. I am going to be in agony. It was nice having a swim today though. It´s very hot up here. It´s going to be even hotter with 3rd degree burns. I need some milk of magnesia apparently or even just some cold tea. Ah, Greg has pawpaw cream. Maybe I can scab some off him. I don´t have anything in my (now extensive) first aid kit for sunburn. Silly.
Ok, time to go. Es la hora de cerveza, creo. Y hielo por la piernas. Very bad Spanish. I hope no native Castellano speakers read this. They would be appalled at me butchering their language!