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      My memory of Peru 8 years ago was really only of Machu Picchu and ceviche, glorious ceviche. But I enjoyed myself this time. Back in 2001 I took three domestic flights since they were so cheap and I missed giant swathes of the country. This time I bussed up almost the entire coast.
      Last time I was in Arequipa in southern Peru it was about 10 days after an earthquake that killed 50 people and toppled the left church spire in the photo. It was predictably a sad place, so I was surprised to see such a bustling, attractive town this time around.

      The next bunch of sandy photos are from Huacachina, an oasis about 4 hours south of Lima. I disliked it the moment I saw it, but I repelled the urge to turn around and after I went walking around, I am glad I stayed. The place on the right was my hostel. Like Huacachina, it looks better from a distance.

      It's harder than it appears to climb these sandy hills. You take two steps up and one step drifting back down, but you are rewarded with great views. You can sandboard down.

My sandal drifting down

      These next three photos are my homage to Peru's great contribution to world cuisine, ceviche. Ceviche is done in other countries but it's not the same. It is raw fish, usually mackerel or a combination of seafood with a piece of yam, roasted corn, deep fried chicharron (which isn't pork skin!) and I forget what the seaweed stuff is called. I ate it every chance I had. These two lunches (and it's only for lunch) pictured here cost about US$2.
Not ceviche, but doesn't it look good?

      Lima! I joked last time I was here that I set a new record for longest voluntary stay in Lima: 5 days. Travelers despise Lima, I can generalize. This time I spent 10 days! Ths is attributable to Viviana, my Couch Surfing host for half that time, and a desire to stay in one place for a little while. Had I known what the toll on me was going to be after I did my long march north, I might have stayed and flown home from here.
      I didn't have a ticket to USA. I discovered that Spirit Air had an office here, but the website was cagey about details. I went to the airport to talk with Spirit Air about their Lima-Fort Lauderdale route, but I was not allowed to step into their carpetted office so I had to talk while leaning into the ajar door. I nearly did buy a ticket with them but then I discovered JetBlue's new route from Bogota to Orlando, and I got a miracle deal of $140 one way including all taxes. Off I went, but the trip was long and arduous.
      Above is the national stadium and a typical lunch place in a typical market. LOVE the markets. Below is me with a low ceiling and a photo from Lima's main square, Plaza de Armas.

      Above on the left is La Punta, The Point, a mellow suburban district of Lima, or Callao, more accurately. On the right is Trujillo, about 8 hours north.

      A guy selling clothes out of his car in Trujillo and another guy relaxing

      This is near Trujillo in a beach town called Huanchaco. These reed boats are plentiful and much is made about the locals making these boats, maintaining their traditions and so on, but then upon closer examination you see styrofoam inside all of them. Traditional styrofoam! Sheesh!

      Homemade ceviche sold on the street. I saw this a lot along the coast, but I was always apprehensive to try raw fish that has been in the sun. I went for it anyway and was no worse for the wear. The price was right, too, only one sol, which was about 30 cents. What's a little food poisoning for 30 cents? I like that Peruvian currency is called "sol" or sun. "Hey, how many suns does that cost?" But it is only second best to Botswana where the currency is the pula and 100 thebe = 1 pula, or 100 raindrops equals 1 rain.

      Piura by sunset on the left and the Peru/Ecuador border on the right. At every border I had a fake e-ticket to show that I was leaving the country. Sometimes it is asked for by immigration people primarily looking for a way to get some baksheesh.

Leaving Peru (sniff!)

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