Where are we?

Hola! Peru! Country #3 out of 8

We spent our last night in Ecuador in a small gravel pit just off the highway.  At least it was quiet and better then a gas station.  Even had a herd of at least 15 goats walk around Vanna to go home. Couldn't see the goat herder though. Seems these goats know what time to head home??  Besides the goats there were at least 5 dogs around but only one stayed right out side the van - hoping :) We did give him a couple of pieces of bologna 😃

Still in the mountains before crossing the Andes
I made pizza for supper with the good pizza crust recipe that I got from Annette. Have been using her recipe for years, but forgot to put my recipe book in Vanna before we left so all my recipes are still sitting in the trailer :(  I always bring my trusty little recipe book for times I dont have wifi to check for something different to make for supper.  Anyways, I made us personal sized pizzas so that the crust would be thinner.  Also cooked up the onions, mushrooms and green peppers first. Once I cooked one side of the pizza crust I flipped it over and quickly put on the sauce, pepperoni, cooked veggies and then mozzarella and black olives covered it so the cheese could melt - and yes it was yummy!!😋 Worked out much better then last time. The crust really made the difference.  And since we were out in the boonies we couldn't even go out for ice cream!!  But that's ok we had one in the afternoon when we bought some groceries in Loja :)

So this morning we were on the road by 8:30.  Still have another hour to drive to get to the border.  And once again we were at 7000' so had to drive thru the clouds 😝  Getting a little more use to it, not bad as long as we can see at least 30' a head of us! It's when we can only see a few feet ahead of Vanna when I get a little tense!!

We get down to the west side of the Andes and it looks very different on this side of the mountains! Very dry again - much like when we left Guayaquil and headed into the mountains and ended up driving over and being on the east side of the Andes - which if very lush and green.

The view all the way to the border is pretty blah as we leave the mountains behind.  Once at the border the process of leaving Ecuador and getting into Peru was easy. Took about 40 minutes. We also had to buy vehicle insurance which cost us $45US for 2 months. We could have bought for 1 month at $20 but not sure we will be out of Peru in 30 days. We seem to be just over the 30 days in each country.  Once we got into Peru I must have totally missed the Bienvenidos a Peru sign! I'm sure I saw it in the distance when we were driving up to the border- oh well no pic of that sign.

Checked the mileage on Vanna and we have put on 6850kms since getting into South America. That driving back from Zumba added a few kms plus gray hairs for me!!

Now we are driving in pretty dry area in Peru. Lots of sand as we drive further southeast away from the mountains. The riverbeds are all dry.  And they haven't quite figured out what to do with their garbage!! It is spread ALL over the place!! The trees here look pretty blah, there are a few nice red flowering trees but other then that it sure looks different on the west side of the Andes then the east side!  Reminds me of the area we drove through south of Sedona - very dry and not much to look at. Except they can grow mango trees here so lots of mangos for sale along the side of the road, also watermelons.  There are also lots of rice fields. Guess there must be irrigation for flooding the fields.

Now in Peru and this was the biggest river we saw

Selling watermelons here but there were also lots of mango vendors

Such a pretty tree in drab conditions

We drive thru a few small towns before getting to Piura which is our first stop - 140kms from the border. The population here is around 500,000 and it was the 3rd city the Spanish founded in South America 1532. Its located in the Sechura desert, so that explains all the sand!  We are about 30kms from the coast, but won't be going there from here. We'll wait until we get a little further south.  When we first drive into the city it was like we were in Thailand with all the tuktuks around!! I guess there are no taxis at this end of the city because the streets are full of tuktuks!

All different looking tuktuks 

No the tuktuk didn't crash, just having a tire change

Parked outside the Mercado waiting for customers

I'm looking at the tuktuk and the 2 guys are smiling and looking at us :)

As we get closer to the center of the city our first stop is to find a bank and get some Peruvian Soles out so we don't have to use our US$s.  It was funny that there were no guys at the border exchanging money, guess maybe only on weekends when more buses go thru because it was pretty quiet today.  We see a bank and find a parking spot. I go to the ATM while Dwayne waits in Vanna.  I find the ATM and got out 450 soles for $180Can.  Things seem to be about the same prices as in Ecuador other then the gas, it's up to $1Can per litre.  So our expenses this month will be higher since Peru is a pretty big country with lots of ruins to see!! Not just Machu Picchu! We hope to get to Kuelap in north central Peru which is know as the MP of the North - just not quite sure what the roads will be like to get there - I know they are not paved.

Then we head to a large shopping center that has a Claro store so I can get a SIM. Once we get to the shopping center and get parked we head to Claro. When we got to see someone it probably took him at least 30 minutes to get me registered.  I was able to buy 14GBs for 100S ($40Can) so that's a REALLY good deal! The other plan is 3GBs for 30S ($12Can the same as in Ecuador) Dwayne told me NOT to get excited about all the data I'm going to have!! But it is much better to have my own wifi because somewhere along the line using wifi other then mine (even though the wifi has a password) my Amazon acct was hacked! On Dec 4 they ordered a package of batteries $15, then on Dec 5 a men's watch $40 and then another item I can't remember. But luckily I always get an email reviewing my order at which point I could cancel the order! So changed my password and since then nothing has been ordered. I "chatted" with amazon because I was also charged for Prime TV on my credit card which was cancelled back in Sept. They cancelled the charge and I told them about being hacked. They would check into it and email me - but so far no response! So, using my wifi is much safer - I think??

Then it was off the grocery store to see what is different here and get a supply of fruit since we lost a little of it at the border (orange and tomate del arbol not sure why they didn't take the apples- maybe because they had stickers on them to show they were bought in a store) We also get a few more veggies. Dwayne checked for peanut butter again and found Jif but at $7 a small jar - he's given it up until we find it cheaper. Couldn't find it in Ecuador until we were in Loja - but again the price was the same $7. I guess we should have brought a bigger jar when we packed Vanna!!

Hummmm black or purple corn-not sure how that would taste
Once the groceries were put away we head to a park nearby that we will park at for the night. There is another park a block away that was really busy, so after I made a salad and a beet salad for dinner, we headed over there to see what was happening. Guess they must be having some special Santa Claus is arriving event because there were all sorts of things going on for kids to do PLUS Santa came in his tuktuk decked out as a sleigh with reindeer!! And Santa was driving!  The kids seems pretty excited- as I was LOL!- and were able to go for a ride in the "sleigh", but I didn't.  We also watched a bunch of guys on their skateboards, since there is also a skateboard park here. Reminded me of the park in Abbotsford that I would take Cruz to so he could ride his scooter around and I'd hear the slamming and banging of skateboards as the riders were trying to flip them, or jump up on a bar etc etc!! Crazy bunch of dudes both here and Abbotsford!

There's the Big Guy!

Kids love getting in the pit and trying to running up the wall and try to get out

After awhile we walked over to the Cathedral at the Plaza de Armas (what Peruvians call their central main park) even though it was to light out yet to see what it looks like all lit up, but I don't want to be eating dinner at 8pm and I know once we have dinner we'll probably just stay in, so better to go now.

St. Michael the Archangel Cathedral 1558

The lights keep changing color and looks very pretty 

We came back around 7 and I started supper - chicken cooked in parchment paper that is all spiced up. I had found the same stuff when we were in Europe and it's great!! Not sure if Maggi makes it in Canada to, but a very easy way to cook chicken without oil and have it all spiced up :)  Also warmed up some rice that we bought at the deli at the store. Along with the beet salad and regular salad it was a pretty good meal :)

After supper I worked on the blog and Dwayne read and before we knew it was already 9:30. Guess no Sopranos tonight!  My sister was getting rid of a bunch of DVDs and I picked up Season 6 - not sure where the other seasons were but we're enjoying this season. When we were walking to the cathedral earlier we saw some people selling DVDs - pirated of course - but we didn't have any money with us to buy them. Maybe tomorrow they were be there. We'll check before leaving the city, would be nice to see some more up to date movies ;)

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