Travel Mumblings

May 29, 2008

Border Crossing and Mancora

Filed under: peru — Tags: , , , — paulparkie @ 15:19

So, they show dead people on the back of papers here. No sport. Just pictures of people that have died (usually horrifically) in the past 24 hours. It´s creepy. They have like ´before and after´shots!  One photo, the ´before´ probably borrowed from their mother´s mantelpiece of them smiling, or playing on that rope swing they made last summer – aah those were the days. And the other photo, the ´after´, shows them mangled in a car wreck… or semi-decapitated with an Incan replica war axe. They don´t hold back. Anyhow, just thought you´d like to know that too, cause it´s put me off my breakfast more than once. The couple of days between leaving Banós and arriving in Mancora (Peru) were pretty crappy really. Just spent on buses, or waiting at bus stations slagging off buses.

Long, long road
Long, long road

The Pan America… the main road… no, the ´highway´ from Banós to Machala was not smooth, and was riddled with pot holes, and our ´express´ bus seemed to stop at every non-descript house and shack en-route to drop someone off, or pick-up a bag of chickens. We finally arrived in a hot and sticky Machala at 12 midnight and checked into a hostel. I fell straight asleep and left Jayde swatting bugs. We left early the next morning for the border. We knew it wasn´t going to be an easy day. The Western Ecuador-Peru border crossing has a reputation for the hardest border crossing in the whole of South America… yey.  Here goes. We took a bus to the Ecuadorian passport control, 3 miles from the border, where we had to get our passports stamped to say we were leaving Ecuador. Then, after fighting off several requests from dodgy guys saying they´ll take us across the border in their cars, we caught the next bus to take us across the actual border. Only it didn´t. Unbeknown to us, it stopped a little further down the road and everyone had to get off. My Spanish wasn´t good enough to understand why. And after seeing where we were getting off, the best I could muster, was to throw the sweaty driver a look of utter exasperation and to say rude things about his mother under my breath. We´d been dropped of in the middle of a market in a throng of mayhem, with people, rickshaws, animals, and scared gringos everywhere!  The border crossing turned out to be a market between the two countries. A smegging market! Not even a nice market. They had now ´Olive´ Lady! In the end, after walking/creeping down some pretty sketchy side streets… after being shouted at and cajoled by every-other toothless market trader to ´sample their wares´… we got taken across by a dodgy guy who didn´t appear to have enough gas in his car… it cost us $35, but we were safe and unscathed, if a little stressed. Mancora was different to where we´d been so far… a small beach town in Northern Peru. It was good just to relax for a few days… spend some time on the beach and eat lots of Ceviche. Hmmmm… so good. Our three days there coincided with the annual ´Grasshopper Hatching´ which was hilarious.

Mancora
Mancora

For a start, our accomodation of choice was a beach hut. A beach hut where the walls didn´t meet the ceiling… and the door didn´t fit the door frame. So even though we were under a mosquito net, every few minutes we´d hear another mammoth grasshopper land on it… it was quite a weird feeling. The bloody things were everywhere!   Eating in a restaurant one night, I was wetting myself watching a guy and his missus trying to enjoy a romantic meal in a restaurant by the sea front. There was a pretty steady flow of grasshoppers flying in through the open front of the restaurant. So this guy and girl, were sat at a nice table, with nice cutlery, a nice wine and great food in front of them. But… they had napkins covering their wine glasses and the canter. They both, incessantly were looking around to see where the next airborne assault would come from… and after every mouthful of food they´d sit there chewing it, whilst slumped forward and covering their plate with their hands… I almost couldn´t eat for laughing. Until one landed on me. Then I yelped like a girl.

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