Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chiclayo to Cajamarca

Hotel Fundo Campero San Antonio, Cajamarca, Peru

10:30 p.m.

Just had dinner with Anne. The restaurant dining room was being prepared for a large wedding reception this weekend, so they set a single table by the fireplace in the lobby. It was quite nice. We shared "Parrillas San Antonio": a mix of grilled flank steak, pork, chicken and skewered beef heart(!) A bottle of "Castillero del Diablo" Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Chile was surprisingly good. Shared lots of stories. A relaxing evening. Later, tried to connect to the blog, but could only look at e-mail.

Tonight, the moon is straight overhead. Very strange.


Left the hotel in Chiclayo by 8:00 a.m. this morning. The air was very cool. Refueled before leaving town, paying $4.70 per gallon for premium gas, I think the highest price yet.

Around 10:00, Anne spotted the “Cevicheria Yuly Hoy" and we pulled over for "brunch": ceviche de camerones (fresh water crayfish?) from the nearby river. "I hope this doesn’t kill me."

"Cevecheria Yuly Hoy". Painted trees!

Ah! Little catfish ready to eat raw...

At "Cevecheria Yuly Hoy", we opted for the "Inca Cola", but not in plastic! It also comes in a glass bottle that weighs about two pounds.

Breakfast at the "Cevecheria Yuly Hoy", en route to Cajamarca: freshwater shrimp ceviche (actually crawfish, I think), camote (yams), yuca, conchitas and "Inca Cola" (not "Cusqueña" cerveza, as the glass says.)

Great minds think alike. Note the two-pound bottle.

Conchitas serranas, a popular corn snack in Peru

On the road to Cajamarca, a reservoir in the Andean foothills.

We followed a river deep into an Andean valley, until the highway finally started to climb in winding hairpin turns. I'm becoming less comfortable with my tires every day. Today's ride found them slipping more and more on some of the turns.

Anne makes it look easy!

Beautiful weather: very warm in the dry valleys, then becoming nice and crisp at the highest elevations. We stopped briefly in the town of Magdalena, getting off the bikes to stretch a bit. In front of one shop "cochinilla" was laid out on mats to dry in the sun. I learned that these insects are gathered from local cactus and used to create dyes. I saw a woman dressed in the brightly-colored clothes typical in the highlands. I asked if I could photograph her, but she refused. Anne commented that some feel that a photograph steals the spirit.

In the little Andean village of Magdalena, cochinilla, or cochineal insects are laid out to dry. They are used to create dyes. The purple insects are collected from cactus in the surrounding mountains.

They forced me to take their picture.

Very arid, even to the highest elevations, where forests of eucalyptus are being grown. We encountered several caravans, each of 6 to 8 gasoline tankers, making the long haul over the mountains.

The first view of Cajamarca (left center) nestled about 9,000 feet up in a mountain valley.

Reaching Cajamarca, we attempted to find a hostel around the main square, but none appeared to offer parking for the bikes. Anne consulted her "Footprint" guide. It listed an attractive-sounding hotel outside town, on the way to the Inca Hot Springs.

With some help from bus drivers and local residents, we found our way to this hotel, about one kilometer off the main highway, down a dirt drive.

It was secluded and very quiet. Rain started to fall soon after we arrived. Great timing. Anne dove right into e-mail, as I unpacked my bike and made myself at home.

Later, we relaxed out on the patio with some beers. We talked about our travels. Both of us feel riding solo is a different and probably preferable experience. It's more challenging and forces more interaction with the local people.


Genevieve said...

I remember yuca. Much better fried, I think, than boiled.

timtraveler said...

The only form of yucca I tried and enjoyed were the yucca chips - like potato chips.

Genevieve said...

We ate fried yuca a lot in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The yuca was cooked (boiled) like in your picture, then cut into slabs an inch or two long and browned on all sides (kind of like frying leftover boiled potatoes if you've ever done that.) After I had lived there about six months, I finally figured out that yuca was the manioc root we had read about in Social Studies class when I was a little kid.

timtraveler said...

You covered ground in your Social Studies that my classes never did!