February 2013

Day 1: we got up, took a shower at the gas station and set for: LIMA! We arranged to meet al noon with Maria Theresa. The entrance to Lima was a huge traffic jam, big city. We arrived in Lince, a central neighbourhood, and met her at a Chinese restaurant, together with Mirella, the director of the village of Tingo Maria, the first one founded by MT and where Soledad grew up. We talked a lot despite the noise and then went to their hotel, a calm atmosphere where we continued our talk. MT is a woman in capital letters, very French, educated and also “peruanized”, it was difficult to get her to talk about herself, always speaking about the Village and the kids, everything very interesting. When we finished, we went back to Miraflores, one of the most beautiful and safe neighbourhoods, very nice, modern and tasteful, we found out we could sleep in the beach “the Star”, in Miraflores, which has its own severe security, they don’t let anybody stay, camp or drink in the beach at night. They let us stay near the security guard, so we slept in the parking lot, with a spectacular seaview, and thanks to them, very safe.

Day 2: We got up, had breakfast watching the sea and left for the “warnes” (spare parts neighbourhood) in Lima, Lucanas street, a pretty dangerous place, so we were moving around with eyes in our backs, watching everything and everyone. We found someone who could change our hydrovac (servo brake?), he did a good job and as it was almost noon and everything was closing, we decided to go back and return on Monday, we went to the supermarket, and wandered in malls, and because we couldn’t park or leave the car anywhere, we came back to our house by the sea! Happy with the technical advances in the repairs, but still a long way to go for others, and no one trustworthy to do them… and not feeling comfortable with staying in LIMA two days more, such a big city with so much traffic and also dangerous. BUT, AS GOD IS MORE THAN GRAND AND TAKES CARE OF US…. as we were having a beer and reading a book by the sea, we catch a glimpse of a VW Beetle parking beside us, a young man comes to us and asks us if we were part of the VW meeting… laughing we answered: “Sorry? Meeting, here?” “Yes…” “Wowww, today?!” INCREDIBLE! We arranged and cleaned up Gardenia and soon other beetles and VW vans (kombis) turned up, very kind, funny people, we talked for a long time, they recommended us some mechanics and even managed to get one of them to open on a Sunday for us!! (Thanks Alex!) They left around 9pm, Mechi cooked some delicious prawns and  mussels, and happy to bed, having spent an excellent afternoon.

Day 3: We got up, and by 9am we got to Robert’s repair shop and met Alex there; they took a look but as the lathe operator was closed, we arranged to come back on Monday. We were planning to eat something nice at Miraflores when Daniel gives us a call (25 years old, the one with the first Beetle the previous day); inviting us to a “parrillada” (barbecue) at his uncle’s house with his whole family… Woww, eating… Asado! (barbeque) What? When? Where?!!, I tried not to show my excitement and joy, so “Well, ok, let´s go, thanks”… He met us and we followed him with Gardenia to a very nice neighbourhood called La Molina; to a super house with a swimming pool. His whole family was there, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents; very amusing, everyone was very friendly, they attended to us in a marvellous way, I ate tamales, chorizos (sausage) and a lot of meat… Then we started making good friends with Daniel´s family, very nice people. There was a nice swimming pool, and even though most of them didn´t seem fond of it, except the smallest kids, as we were 2 days behind our shower routine, (cough, cough) Danny assisted me and dived in with me. I made good use of it and kind of took it as a bath, Mechi couldn’t find the courage because no girls were in the water, hahaha… We had a very good time, and before 7 we left to get to Mass, and then sleep at our spot in the seafront!! What a SPECTACULAR WEEKEND!, not to say that it had looked to us it would be somewhat boring…!

Day 4: Monday, very early we headed to the mechanic in the spare parts neighbourhood in Lima, and that same day the Police was investigating the theft of a car and therefore asking for each car´s papers, so we almost couldn’t get out of the place, hahaha. Mechi was in the kombi (VW bus), which was already lifted up, writing and putting pictures in order in the computer; I was very dirty getting under Gardenia, trying to see what was wrong. They took apart the right arm and changed some terminals, and then got some pieces filled up. Everything was going very slow, then Henry came to try to straighten up the doors, (if I had known it would be lots of hitting, thumping and pounding, I would probably had done it myself), but he did a good job, partly, because he didn’t finish with the double door, so we had to come back the following day. We met the “Chino” from the VW fan club to whom Robert was assembling the engine, while Steven was fixing up our suspension. We also changed the shock absorbers (very cheap! 15 US each). At noon Robert invited us lunch, delicious and abundant. Before leaving we took a cold but indispensable shower there at the repair shop. We had to come back the following day to finish some stuff. That evening we had arranged to meet Danny and we also met his girlfriend Claudia. We had a great time, Danny is an incredible young man, with a great deal of enviable strength, energy and faith. He’s been fighting for 12 years (and winning the war) against the  Carcinoid Syndrome, (for us ignorants would be like a kind of pre-cancer). When he told us we couldn’t believe it, a very healthy boy, joyful, affectionate… And now even more generous, he tells us that he was surprised to see that no one would write about their internal process with this kind of illness, that no one would write to let others know how they feel, so he now writes a blog www.elguerrerocarcinoide.blogspot.com where he writes with the intention to help others, to encourage them… We were speechless. A gift from our “Tata” (God) having met him, he is really Love in action. We had an amazing time, we said goodbye thinking it would be the last time we saw him, but that decision, again, is not up to us. Again to our beach to sleep, but this time, just showered!

Day 5: Tuesday, early to Robert´s repair shop again, Steven took apart the central bolt but in order to fix it we had to lower and dismantle a great deal from the front part, so we decided not to do it now. He left to work for another guy, “I´m coming back right away” (“ahorita vengo”) is the worst thing a Peruvian can tell you!!! As we felt very comfortable in Robert’s place, and the Chino was still fixing his Beetle, well, we just had to relax and enjoy. We bought chicken and we invited them with our kind of asado, which I made in their rooftop, hahaaha. The grilled chicken turned out delicious, and only by 5pm Gardenia was being put together again. Just then Danny dropped by! He stayed and kept us company for a couple of hours, I took a shower again and finally left with him to a beautiful park, we talked for a long time and enjoyed a lot, and we even shared a Rosary. He invited us to sleep at his house, his parents Cesar and Mary were there with his brother Cesar and his siter Katya… what a nice and united family!!! They treated us like kings, invited us to a Chinese restaurant to taste 5 different kind of rices and “Chifas”, each one better than the other. We had a nice, amusing chat, and we had a lot of fun, I came back with 2 kilos overload. They insisted that we slept inside, but we preferred sleeping at “home” in Gardenia in their parking lot and not  transferring everything from place to place. A luxury, we went to bed very happy, having met such a beautiful family. We are being so spoiled by the One Above!

Day 6: We got up and shared a good breakfast in family, stayed the morning in the house´s parking lot and entrance, while Alexander, another mechanic, fixed their VW bus, we were lucky enough to have Cesar in vacations at home, so we shared plenty of time together. Later I went with him to buy some spare parts, we had a good time. Mechi stayed at home washing our clothes and talking with Mary. At noon we were invited again to have their so-well-known grilled chicken with fries!! Delicioussss!!, Katya and Danny came also and later we returned “home”. We were about to leave but they insisted so intensely that we decided to stay. Clueless about how to return their generosity, we planned to knead homemade grilled pizzas at night in the beautiful garden. We felt just like home in our own families, laughing and joyful, even though the pizzas didn´t end up as good as they used to, but they liked them anyway. The family was complete, with Cesar´s and Danny’s girlfriends and even their grandpa. We tasted some nice wines and peruvian “Sangria” (fruits with red wine), and stayed up till late talking amusedly. Suddenly Danny disappeared and came back with a minicake with a candle so we all sang the Happy Birthday to Mechi..

Day 7: Now today we must leave… but it’s so difficult! We stayed with Mechi updating the blog almost all morning, they were coming and going doing stuff… THEIR VW BUS SET ON FIRE!!, luckily nothing happened and they could control it. Near 4pm we finally said goodbye, filled with gifts (beer, food, crackers, grapes), so generously lovable, they gave us all they could fina, IT WAS SO HARD TO LEAVE, now I think maybe we should’ve stayed longer, one day more. We left Lima with intense traffic, the steering wheel was too rigid with the new changes, I hope it will moderate in time because my arms are exhausted… we travelled till 730pm and arrived at a municipal camping with  a lagoon, had some good mashed potatoes with peas and by 10pm we were fast asleep.

Day 8: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHUNI!!! I woke up earlier as usual and let her sleep a Little longer, we got up and had a nice breakfast and set for out, our destination was a nice hotel in Tortugas to spend her birthday, we travelled along the coast filled with sand dunes, very desolate landscape.. the steering is still very rigid… little bit of a stress.., let’s hope it gets softer. Mechi received lots of phone calls, she was very happy. At noon we reached the hotel; it had a very nice sea front view to the bay. We ate a delicious “chicharron de pescado” (pieces of fried fish) and stayed enjoying the hotel and its view, we read a lot, Mechi dyed her hair and later we watched “The Lord of the Rings” in our laptop in our room; as if we were back home.

Day 9: we stayed til midday enjoying the hotel’s great view, and later we set up North, as usual!! We made a stop al Puerto Vesique, a very nice beach, stayed for a couple of hours, passed by Chimbote and reached Puerto Morin, a very nice beach that Cesar and his brother Gustavo had recommended us. It is where they spend their summers, a very calm beach. We arrived almost by sunset and parked on the beach with a great view. Just in time, Danny calls us and when he learnt we were there, right away made some calls and Gustavo, his uncle, called us and didn’t take no as an answer when he offered his house. He had already called Neto, a friend who has a restaurant and just in a second, he had called everyone to make us feel comfortable. Neto took us to Gustavo’s house where we cooked pasta in Gardenia and ate there in the gallery.

Day 10: we got up and searched for a good spot at the beach, with Gardenia, the 3 of us. In no time, people were dropping by like ants, the beach is nice and big, so we were able to set up our awning beside Gardenia. This is life!!! With the fridge still cold, we had the beers Cesar and Mary had given us in Lima. Luckily, with our good shade, we were able to enjoy the sunny day. It was very crowded, even though we had parked far from the center. We were astonished to see the way people eat at the beach, very strong and abundant meals with lots of rice. We talked with some of our neighbours (almost seated elbow-to-elbow), some cars got stuck in the sand because they were too near the water. By 5, we paid Neto a visit, and he invited us to have ceviche and beer, we chatted for a while with him and his wife, Rosita, and then headed back “home” and by 10pm we were fast asleep.

Day 11: we woke up and went to say goodbye to Neto and Rosita at his restaurant, and by noon we were arriving in Trujillo, we stopped at a shopping mall, using wifi for a long time, updating blog, buying some groceries and a swimming suit (ith the weight I´ve lost, most clothes don’t fit), so I bought one very trendy (it seemed to Mechi a little bit “borderline”). We ate some hotdogs in Gardenia at the parking lot and headed to Huanchaco. Looking for a place to sleep, we bumped into Cristian (Connie’s boyfriend, the ones in the VW T4), they were staying at a hostel, but as it was late, we preferred staying by the sea front and entering the hostel the following day (and save one night!)

Day 12: about 9 in the morning we checked in at the Naylamp hostel, we set our tent in the garden because e couldn’t sleep in Gardenia in the garage (of course we would anyway). So, with our tent still up, we stayed all day enjoying our friends’ company plus 2 chileans, one Italian and a Canadian. We chatted, took a nap and by night.. sushi all together! It was very funny, the only thing was they were majority vegetarians, and the couple Italian-canadian were vegans, so the whole time we kept talking about what they can or cannot eat. They cannot even have Philadelphia cheese on their rolls… poor guys, they’re missing it! We slept tight in Gardenia, in the garage.

Day 13: we got up, had a nice breakfast, took a shower and by midday headed for Trujillo. We had 2 tasty Mc Chickens at the mall and then we wanted to check on the steering, which was still quite rigid (even though a little softer). We saw a mechanic who had been recommended to us by a beetle owner, the only thing we did was change the steering shock absorber which was smashed. The rest will get softer as we use it… we travelled further and by sunset we were arriving in Pacasmayo, a small town by the sea. We asked the police and they let us park on the beach. We left Gardenia and headed to Church, Mass had already began…wow, such a fervent town, lots of people! Incredible… 2 minutes later, Mechi realizes it is Ash Wednesday. We had forgotten; but at least we attended half the Mass, which is better than nothing. We went back home, ate pasta “again” and good night..

Day 14: we got up, and had a nice breakfast watching the sea; bread with jam. Then we went to the Parish’s office to inquire about someone for our testimonies. They told us we should contact Rose, who, with other ladies has a group that handles a help centre for people with terminal diseases. She turned out to be a very nice lady, our mothers’ age, with whom we had a pleasant conversation. By midday, we kept on moving forward, stopping by Zaña, an old town with lots of ruins. We had a tasty “Peruvian lunch” and visited the old Monastery of St. Agustine. Afterwards  we kept on driving, crossed Chiclayo (quite ugly city!) and reached the Bruning Museum in Lambayeque. WE PAID THE ENTRANCE OF A MUSEUM and covered every inch of it, it proved very interesting learning about the different civilizations that populated Peru and their evolution. As it was getting late and there are no places or beaches safe to sleep, we asked for permission to sleep in the parking lot, which has its own police. We walked around the town, went to a nice church, but it was not allowed to enter in shorts, we passed by. Later we bought a chicken breast to set down pastas for a while!! The chicken with potatoes turned out to be mouth-watering!, Mechi did a great job, it was really yummy! Death to pastas, I cannot take them anymore!

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