As I write this now Tom and I are sitting with our current travel companions drinking wine (from a bottle-not a box!!!) and eating dark chocolate and shortbread.
Not a bad ending to our first full day in Peru.
Yesterday we crossed the coolest (most chevre) border crossing I have ever experienced. The border crossing just south of Vilcabamba just opened about 5 or 6 years ago and has apparently not gotten too popular yet. In fact, when we crossed it was just the four of us being herded by the topless, shoeless, friendly chubby man into the right room blasting regaton where we got our passports stamped to leave Ecuador. And then ducking under poles and trying to find which tiny house had a hand-painted “imigracion” sign on it on the Peruvian side.
I appreciated the lack of pomp and circumstance and the abundance of party music and casual dress.
Trying to cut open an avocado as I bounced up and down on the hard chiva bench I was taken aback by the remoteness and beauty of our surroundings. Leaving Vilcabamba we caught a bus to Zumba (the town, not the Latin dance class). From there we got on a chiva (open wooden planks with benches stuck on the back of a truck) for the 2 or so hours to the border. We probably only went about 45 miles during that time, but as the road looked like it had been cut out of the hillside like 3 days prior that’s really not too bad!
Everyone else on the chiva got off before the end until finally just the 4 of us remained, ready to enter Peru!
This was probably our most un-chevre leg of the journey with our seriously aggressive driver taking hairpin turns at high speeds, the car tires squealing in protest as they lifted off the road and Tom squealing in protest as I dug my fingers into his leg and tried to just not think about the rocks waiting below the cliffs we were climbing. Hair-raising driving aside, I thought after the last three and a half months of splendor I would cease to be as amazed as I was by the beauty of my surroundings. But that was before we had even entered Peru!
3:30 this afternoon, as it turns out was the best possible time to arrive in Chachapoyas as it marked the start of the week-long festival touristico! We dropped our bags and headed straight out to the festival kick-off celebration. We were, as it turns out the only tourists there, with everyone else being from here (Chachapoyas). Which makes me wonder if this whole week and festival is actually dedicated to us!
Or maybe it’s a week when locals act like tourists.
Either way, its a great week to be here. We are enjoying wine and chocolate, we have been promised avocado (or palta as it is called here in Peru) with breakfast in the morning, and we are leaving to see one of the highest waterfalls in the world at 8:30 am.
Plus Carlos (owner of Hostal Revash), will just randomly break out into song during our conversations. I’m a fan.