From journeying to repose

Having survived our trip through the death-defying Cañon de Pato, we arrived in Chimbote, making only a quick stop in what used to be the world´s biggest exporter of anchovies (it still smells fishy!) on our way to Trujillo.

Trujillo is the second biggest city in Perú with 800,000 inhabitants (quite far behind Lima´s 8 million, but also quite a big step above Piura, Arequipa and Cuzco´s approximately 300,000 people each), and we were certainly aware of its high population walking around the streets…they were always jampacked with people!

It´s interesting too that so many people live there and that Trujillo is the apparently developing city that it is (We were told that Trujillo, because of its great natural resources that are around it, is coming into money and doing a lot of development projects). The city is set up with a circular street about 4 miles long that runs all the way around (we walked it all one day!), separating the inner city center from the outer city, that is to say, the nice part of town from the sketchier part that you don´t want to be in at night. Within the circular Avenida España is located the Plaza de Armas, the supermarket (we only found one supermarket in the whole city!), all the shopping plazas, and all the cafés (and good ones were quite hard to find!). Basically all day long from early in the morning until 11 at night, the streets were full full full of people… seemingly all 800,000 people conducting their business in the city center.

We had been excited to visit Trujillo, what had promised to be a large, exciting city with a close proximity to some great arqueological sites such as Chan Chan, an ancient city measuring 28 square kilometers (the largest of pre-colombian civilization) that was built around 1300 aCE by the Chimu culture, and many many temples. However, after a good two weeks of traveling from city to town to village to city, never staying in one place more than two days (and all that following a solid two weeks of attempting to accustom ourselves to amazon jungle life), the toils of traveling began to catch up with us. We were tired. Not to mention, Trujillo was not the city we expected. [Note: If Perú is teaching me anything, it´s that I have expectations even when I think I don´t, and that in Perú anything that we may expect will inevitably be different from what we actually experience].

Passing through Trujillo those three days (arriving late the night of 8/2 and leaving late the night of 8/4 on a bus-cama destined for Piura), we nicknamed ourselves ´the worn travelers´. We slept in, felt sick from the food we ate from one of the only restaurants recommended in our travelbooks, and visited no arqueological sites. Most of our time was spent sitting in the Plaza de Armas, and on our last day there we walked casually around the city and visited a small arqueological museum (although truth be told we really read nothing of the informational placks, looking only quickly at artefacts and sitting on benches whenever the opportunity presented itself). We wanted a break, a rest from always being on the go, but really there was nowhere to get that. No restaurants offered an ambience that seduced us, our cheap S/.40 a night hostalroom was certainly lacking in decor, and even the Plaza was not welcoming with its armed guards that circulated making sure we didn´t sit on the grass, or cross-legged on the benches, or sideways on the benches with one leg draped over either side of the backless seat. All of these things we were reprimanded for there, as were countless other people, seemingly from Trujillo themselves. It was by far the least relaxing, highly organized Plaza de Armas that we have come across yet. Although it did have another wonderful art exhibit (like the one in Lima) displaying photos that glowed at night of the environment with statistics and quotes of why it needs to be protected and cared for by citizens and how it can be done.

It was also by far the least enjoyable stop of our journey until then, although of course when the moments of feeling sick passed, we did manage to enjoy ourselves despite being tired, singing songs in the street, visiting a beautiful university, eating a pizza from a restaurant supposedly owned by an Italian (the jury´s still out on that one though), and feeling accomplished for having walked the entire perimeter of the city. We left the city, two worn travelers, happy again to be on the road, this time headed toward a destination that promised a moment of rest.

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