Tumbes to Trujillo, Day 20

Freedom monument, Plaza de Armas, Trujillo, Peru

A long day’s journey into night…

There’s an overnight bus to Trujillo leaving at 6 pm.  Although we don’t have good feelings about Tumbes, our LP guide warns against overnight bus journeys because of the frequency of fatal accidents (as drivers fall asleep at the wheel), robberies, and kidnapping.  Still, we bite the bullet (no pun intended) and purchase tickets, although as we board we notice several people have their heads stuck under the hood of the bus and they’re shouting profusely at one another.  Christi swears the upper deck (where our seats are located) smells of vomit.

At least the seats recline so there’s a chance we’ll be able to sleep through most of the 12-hour journey, although the first hour is a pleasant drive beside the ocean with picturesque scenes of fishing boats and quaint villages.  As darkness descends the entertainment switches inside to videos and dinner: Gran Torino, Bride Wars and chicken-fried rice plus Coca-Cola.  Somewhere in the depths of the night, the bus screeches to a halt and I’m roused from an uncomfortable sleep by armed soldiers.  The Peruvian army herds us all into a razor wire-fenced detention center while the bus is searched for drugs.  An hour later, and much to the relief of Christi and myself, we’re allowed to leave.  It’s still dark when we arrive in Trujillo, but a taxi is on hand to take us to our hostel.  We have to wake up the owners to let us in, but by 6 am Christi and I are sleeping blissfully.

Six hours later we’re out and about exploring the town, which is another beautiful colonial gem.  It’s almost as if we never left Cuenca and the last 24 hours have been nothing more than an unpleasant dream.  Fortunately the historic center and the Plaza de Armas are largely pedestrianized, which makes walking an added pleasure.  It was in this plaza in 1820 that the people of Trujillo announced their independence from colonial Spain, which was the first step in the creation of modern day Peru  The square is surrounded by gorgeous pastel painted colonial-style buildings with intricate lattice work enclosed balconies.  We are surprised to find, however, that behind some of these colonial-style facades are some very modern casinos.

 Blog post by Roderick Phillips, author of Weary Heart – a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes. 

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