I wake to a shock, panic flooding the fleeting moments as dreams escape to ether; but no, we’re not still on a bus, we awake in a bed, a real bed laying flat and all. This is happiness, or maybe relief; either way we’re in Peru, we can hear the waves crashing, the sun is shining, Australian cricket is ranked no.1 again, all is right with the world. The foreboding emotions that assailed us on the first penetration into Peru seem a long way away now, the seaside sense of welcome massaging away the seizing grip of the desert.
A little obsessed with seafood and Ceviche now we’re on the hunt, up at the crack of dawn, otherwise known as 9:30am, we set off into town. Ending up at a small beachside restaurant we order our Ceviche and salivate as much for the pending deliciousness as the diminishing distance of upset stomachs and the constant vigilance of toilet proximity. And Peru doesn’t disappoint on the food stakes, again we savour the sour acidic spicy punch in the face that accompanies the silky texture of raw fish: heaven. Along with a Pisco Sour the flavours of Peru are distinct and anything but shy; sour spice ensures that nothing passes the lips uncelebrated.
Food done, we embrace the challenge of overcoming the difficulties of life in an isolated seaside township in a tropical country, life really is tough for us strugglers. Although I have been battling with how to say this and not sound like a complete tool, but alas there is no way around it so lets take it head on, this is not an Aussie beach. It’s lovely none the less but when we’re used to our beaches it’s cause for a refreshing dip before climbing out over the rocks again, a short swim is enough. This beach is as suited to looking at as it is swimming in. At least this touristy town seems to have skirted the rubbish plague that we have witnessed thus far. It’s a bit of a personal travelling challenge for us, usually embracing all that is gritty and challenging about any culture we find ourselves unable to rationalise a romantic slant to rubbish, it’s just simply…. rubbish.
A subtle backdrop to this serene gorgeousness is the desert. The township of Huanchaco clings to the coast like bubble gum to a shoe, close behind the harsh dark desert sands rise up into small mountains, an eastward yin to balance the cresting waves from the westward yang. In other circumstances this town could easily be brought down by the foreboding presence of the desert, seemingly ready to swallow it at any moment but no; Huanchaco feels quite the opposite, all the more welcoming for its sense of oasis in an otherwise harsh existence. We are pleasantly surprised that the weather here is so temperate, we’re at sea level in the tropics and it’s comfortable and easy despite the strong bite of the sun. Nights are cool and humidity is low, Huanchaco is a perfect advertisement to those like us that often scurry to mountains desperate for the cool that altitude brings.
So we’re in a different country now, in a different culture, so far it’s a mixed bag of impressions with a singularly positive experience. We can’t help but feel that we’re in a little bit of a tourist biased bubble but really who really cares. Right now we’re happy to overlook that we might not be quite experiencing Peru in truth, recklessly casting a desire for insight to the coming 3-4 weeks. May time gift to us all that we fail to seek with intent.