2 Months in Peru—May 8-10, 2015—Day 40, 41and 42.
08.05.2015 - 10.05.2015 71 °F
Today we decided to sleep in and have an easy day. Breakfast at 0800, then we got most of our bank issues from the lost wallet straightened out quickly. We decided to see the hummingbirds at Huembo along with Pamela and Ega. Huembo is what the locals call a conservation area for the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird.
This bird had previously been hunted mercilessly for its heart as it was considered a source of great power if ingested (eaten).This had reduced the population to about 1000 and it is now endangered. East of Pedro Ruiz, this small area has a couple of caretakers who keep feeders filled and protect the few breeding pairs that are left in that area. We hired a driver to take us up there and back for 130 soles - about $35. Pretty good deal for the four of us. We left at 10:00 am and arrived at around noonish and had to pay 28 soles each to get in. All of this supports the conservation of the Marvellous spatuletail hummingbird, so we felt it was worth it.
We ended up spending almost three hours enjoying the 11 different species of hummers flitting around the two different areas with feeders and viewing benches.
After the noise and bustle of the city, it was tranquil and serene, with beautiful views of valleys below. Rick got some wonderful pictures! Santos, the main caretaker (who can be seen on videos of this place if you google it on You Tube) pointed out all the different species to us and obviously loved his hummers.
He stated their were 3 breeding pairs of spatule tails nesting in the preserve at present, but we could not view them for fear of disturbing them. At the small information area later, he showed us some additional hummingbird videos he had on his computer and allowed Karen to download a small compilation of the birds of Peru on her camera card to be placed on her computer later. Karen had to purchase a t-shirt to further support their efforts! It was a lovely place.
On the way back to town our driver stopped at an incredible rocky overhang that Rick had wanted to photograph. Further on down the road he stopped again at a cliff area that had numerous petroglyphs. We all climbed up and Edgardo was thrilled to see these carvings which seemed to indicate hunting information and also seemed to be from different periods. They also contained some of the ancient peoples sacred symbols such as spirals and Inca crosses, and some had traces of red and white paint. A piece of history literally at our fingertips with no other tourists around. Wonderful.
Back in Chacha, we purchased a decent bottle of Chilean wine and shared it with our lovely friends who left on the bus that evening for Chiclayo and on to Cuzco ahead of us. We said our good byes - but we were not sad. We would see them again as we were staying at the same hotel in Cuzco in two days. It was a full day.
2 Months in Peru - Day 41 and 42 - May 9 and 10
Two days of catching up and traveling. Saturday was spent writing, emailing, blogging and of course eating!! Our hotel recommended an excellent restaurant El Tejada, with an inner courtyard and fountain - very peaceful and very good food. We took it easy as Karen was having a stomach issue and was now on antibiotics in the hopes it would help.
We packed up and headed to the bus depot for 6:30 pm - we didn’t want any surprises we couldn’t resolve early in the evening. At the depot we were entertained by a group of passengers who decided to do a traditional dance in the outside waiting area. We are not quite sure what it was all about - one of the fellows said it was Movil Tours anniversary but we believe something was lost in translation…..
We were ushered on the bus by a lovely senorita all dressed in red (with a cape even) but we barely saw her the rest of the trip. We were seated on the bottom deck, the chairs were wide and comfy and there were only two other passengers - the bulk of them were up top in the cheaper seats. There was the requisite blaring TV screen with a B-grade movie dubbed in Spanish. The bus turned and lurched up the mountainsides and Karen was thankful for the anti-nausea pill she took. A small dinner of chicken and potatoes and rice at 9:30 or so helped both our stomachs. And we basically slept till our arrival at 05:30 at the very familiar Chiclayo bus station. They would not let us catch a taxi to the airport till 06:15 - so we waited, and waited.
Finally we got to the airport - we were the only people other than security and a cafe employee. Slowly people trickled in and the counter line opened. We went through preliminary security here - the gloved official took a few things out of each of our bags and replaced them and waved us on. Unfortunately, at the counter, the woman was unable to contact anyone at Lan by phone to help change our tickets. She advised us to do it, which entailed Rick on the phone for over an hour off and on to no avail! Aargh. Finally Rick went up a staircase following some Lan employees as it was 08:30 and the counter was closed. There he found a woman who seemed to be in charge. She reassured us that at 9am she would call and straighten everything out (she spoke some English). We went off to have a quick breakfast in the cafeteria upstairs. By now we had been traveling for almost 14 hours and we were a little frazzled and in need of food.
True to her word, the woman did straighten things out and by 10:20 or so we were motioned up to the counter. Hurrah - we were on the 11:00am flight to Lima and the 4pm flight to Cuzco. This cost us $60 but we were just happy we would get to Cuzco. Our booked hotel room would have charged us one night if we hadn’t made it!
The flight was beautiful over the Andes - towering snow capped peaks with green valleys and numerous settlements with terraced hillsides above them. Spectacular. And Cuzco looked beautiful in the twilight as we landed. All of the taxis at the airport wanted to charge us 40 soles for the trip to town but our Chilean friends had warned us of this - we insisted on less and paid 17 soles to a lovely man who described some of the sights on the way in - he spoke slowly and carefully in Spanish and Karen understood most everything he said. Our hotel was in the historic district, all dark wood and tile and scrupulously clean.
The room was small but lovely and the water was HOT! We dropped our stuff and headed to the hotel bar for a beer. After all, at this point it was almost 7 pm and we had been traveling 24 hours! Julio, the bell boy equivalent told us the bar wasn’t really open but he led us upstairs to a rooftop area with a wonderful view of the city with its lighted hills and we enjoyed a liter beer between the two of us. Fabulous.
Then we headed out to see a bit of the city before sleep - which of course in every Peruvian city means heading to the Plaza de Armas. Walking towards the plaza we came across Pamela and Ega! Off we went for beers and pizza and a chat to catch up on their adventures on the Sacred Valley tour. We had some laughs and good food and then it was back to blissful sleep!