I know I ended my last entry by telling everyone that my knee was feeling better and that Will, Olli, and I were all heading seperate ways but let me tell you what actually occurred. After I finished crushing out my blog entry on Panama, Montanita and Banos, we all made our way down to the bus station to figure out what bus each one of us needed to catch. After about 30 minutes of walking around and checking out the different options we all decided to haul ass down to Mancora, Peru together. It was pretty funny how we all were looking to do different things but then realized that we couldnt live without each other. All we knew was Mancora was the perfect place to be for Friday and Saturday night and that we had a lot of buses to catch in order to get there.
After booking our tickets to Guayaquil (the largest city in Ecuador), I then went to the hospital in order to get my stitches removed and carry on with my trip. Unfortunately, my stitches ended up being incredibly infected and needed to be removed immediately. I will always remember talking to the doctor and mistaking her explanation of the situation. My medical Spanish is far from expert and when she was telling me that she had to remove the stitches in order to stop the infection I thought that she was telling me that they would have to remove my leg. I dont know if my heart has ever pumped that fast before in my entire life. Anyways, this doctor thoroughly cleaned my knee and told me to buy some rubbing alcohol in order to get rid of the infection and I was on my way with no charge because Ecuador has free health care for EVERYBODY.
We hopped on our bus that night at 7:00 p.m. and after 4 different busses, participating in the most bizzarre tsunami drill at the Peruvian border, and experiencing an aggressive attempt to get thoroughly ripped off (or Gringo`d), we arrived at 5:30 p.m. in Mancora, Peru. This town is one of those black hole places that every country in Latin America has. Nicaragua has San Juan del Sur, Panama has Bocas del Toro, Colombia has Taganga, Ecuador has Montanita, and Peru has Mancora. All of these places consist of beaches and parties every single night. The reason I call these places black holes is because you meet some backpackers there that only planned to be there for 4 days and when they finally look at a calendar they realize that it has been 3 months and they have only slept for a total of 86 hours. Now just because some people take the party a little too seriously does not mean that you also have to. These black holes are must do`s on the backpacker circuit but just make sure you get yourself out of there after a week at the most. Traveling has so much more to offer than just the party towns but there is no denying that the party is one hell of a good time.
But I digress, we fluked out and were able to secure a spot at Loki Hostal which is by far the most popular hostal in Mancora. Upon walking in you felt like you were on a Greek island surrounded by bright white buildings, a swimming pool and an awesome bar. The second place you feel like you are in is Scandinavia as I swear that 80% of the people there were from Denmark. This wasn`t a problem because Danes are great people to party with but it definitely was lacking in Peruvian culture. Even upon meeting a group of Argentinians they explained the difficulties they were having ordering a drink from the bar because nobody spoke Spanish.
It may sound like I am complaining but honestly we were all more then aware of what the place was going to be like and decided to just embrace the social atmosphere at Loki Hostal. Being Friday night Olli, Will and I made our way out for dinner and ate our go to quarter chicken and salad while sharing a nice $6 bottle of rum. Later on we made our way back to the hsotel in order to meet up with all of our new friends at the bar and then left for the discotecas. The discotecas all ended up being side by side on the beach without walls where the front door should be. Somehow the music didn`t blend and board shorts and thongs were mandatory apparel.
At 6:00 a.m. the next morning Will and I woke up to Olli, the toughest Fin in the southern hemisphere, groaning and calling for an ambulance. Will and I were quick to take action and soon had an ambulance (which was just a regular pick-up truck) there to pick Olli up. He ended up being diagnosed with Gastritis Anguda which still means nothing to anyone of us and they were able to release him by 5:00 p.m. that night.
While Olli was in the hospital I decided to take advantage of the situation and have my knee looked at by a second doctor. My Peruvian doctor took a look at my knee and then told me that my Ecuadorian doctor in Banos was an idiot and that I needed antibiotics and not rubbing alcohol. I finished my antibiotics on Friday afternoon and my knee seems to be healing slowly but surely.
At 4:00 a.m. Devin Delany finally arrived outside our hostel to find Will and I outside waiting for him. We sat and chatted for awhile catching up but soon made our way to bed in order to prepare for a day of sun. With Olli and I both on antibiotics we all took the next few days pretty easy a part from the epic doubles games we had on the Ping Pong table. By the time we were ready to move on Will and Olli were feeling well under the weather and to make matters worse Devin was able to obtain food poisoning. We were all on our way to Lima but decided to stop in Chicolyo for a day to see some ruins and continue on our way that evening. Unfortunately Devin was stuck in bed all day and Will and Olli decided to follow suit. It was at that moment we all realized that we were in need of different things. Olli and Will went with Devin to Lima in order to relax and start to feel like normal again and I decided I needed a little more adventure.
I decided to make my way up to Huaraz which is located in the western-Andes and is only a hike away from the highest point in Peru. I arrived in Chimbote at 5 a.m. without a clue of where the bus was going to drop me off. After seeing the city as the bus passed through I was more than relieved to be dropped off at an actual terminal. After waiting for 3 cold hours alone in the terminal I was finally able to catch a bus at 8:00 a.m. to Huaraz. I was without a doubt the only foreigner on the bus and due to this I was quite the attraction for the kids of the bus. The ride up was more than epic as we made our way from sea level up to 3200 metres where the town of Huaraz is situated.
Over the next few days I went on some epic heights even reaching a laguna that was 4600 metres above sea-level. It was only on my second day that I reached this altitude and although I never thought it would happen to me, I had a terrible feeling of altitude sickness throughout my body. To make matters worse we ended up waiting at 4000 metres for an extra 4 hours as we waited for two Korean girls to make there way down the mountain. We all thought that they had gotten lost and sent out a rescue team but it turned out they were actually just the world`s slowest hikers.
Huaraz is one of the most unique cities i have experienced during my trip. The people are very indigenous looking and have a very traditional way of dressing. Also, right outside of our hostel is where they have the central market which sells next to everything. You can buy rabbits, chickens, pigs, and even guinea pigs. The guinea pig (or cuy) are a very popular meal up here in the Andes and so of course you know I had to try it.
So the part I have most been looking forward to in this blog is to tell you about my next adventure. I am going to be making my way down from Huaraz in a few hours and making my way towards the town of Yurimaguas. From there I am going to take a 3 day boat trip along a river until I reach the city of Iquitos located on the Amazon River. This will be the most adventurous journey of my trip taking me deep into the Amazon. I promise to take lots of photos and right a nice blog about how it is in the Amazon. Wish me luck everyone and I hope to update the blog as soon as I return from exploring the deep jungles surrounding the Amazon River.