Where are we?

Well can't say northwest Peru is pretty!

We did go back to Plaza de Armas in Piura in the morning before leaving but did not see the DVD girl out selling. Guess she probably comes out late afternoon when more people are around.  We walked around the area for awhile and then it was time to head to Lambayeque.  It's 2 hours south along the Panamerican highway. Plus I've had enough of the constant horn beeping of taxis and tuktuks (mototaxis) SOOOO annoying!! It is NON stop and there are so many of each!

The road out of Piura to get to the Panamerican highway is pretty bad - rough and full of pot holes. We stop at a number of gas stations trying to find water. But had no luck until we were on the main highway heading south. Also found out that the gas stations here only take VISA not MC- which is all we use. I did have an Amazon VISA but cancelled it some time ago - guess I should have kept it!  Anyways we'll have to pay cash for gas until hopefully further south we can use MC again. Hate having to take cash out of ATM all the time or carrying alot of cash with us.

So now that we have water and gas,  off we go. The next 2 hours of driving has been the most boring drive todate!! Nothing but sand and scrub brush on both sides, LOTS of garbage and a few small towns with only small boxes for houses. Very sad looking area! Also very hot and windy. The area reminds us of Morocco and the highway is as boring as driving the I-10 from El Paso, New Mexico to San Antoine, Texas!! BORING!!

some of the houses along the way

Garbage everywhere

Wonder why the green flags?

Think this is bamboo that has been bought because none grow around here. They must use it for building

Some families even have cows, horses, goats enclosed in this fencing. But they have to bring in feed for them.

It's a long road of nothing

Some areas the sand blows across the highway

Oh, there are a few truck stops along the way :) 

Saw a Canadian flag on this truck but the driver never returned while we were parked to find out the story

Another huge load of sugar cane going to the processing plant
We finally get to Lambayeque to go to the Royal Tombs of Sip├ín Museum. The tomb of the Sip├ín ruler was discovered west of here in Sip├ín in 1987. All the tomb artifacts that were found- ceremonial vessels, necklaces and jewelry and Lord of  Sip├ín and his entourage are here - or at least the bones are ­čśŐ.  SO MUCH gold and jewelry was buried with him. Unfortunately everything is in Spanish plus no picture taking is allowed. All cameras and cellphones have to be left outside the museum!  I had to read online more about this ruler and his people. They were known as the Moche people and lived in this area (Sip├ín) from  50-700AD. They built pyramids that had platforms on the top which went between each of the pyramids to connect them.  Because there is no apex on the pyramid similar to those in Egypt, these are called truncated pyramids. BTW I had to look that up ­čśť This pyramids were only used for ceremonial events, because the tombs that were found were in a different area next to the pyramids. This is one archaeological site that had not been looted by the Spanish conquest. The tombs were are intact. Pretty amazing objects from that tomb! This culture was also able to bring water thru irrigation canals to water their crops. They also made very ornate and complex ceramic water vessels using moulds along with jewelry made of gold, silver and copper plus they did weaving. This was one of the first cultures that were not nomadic.  We'll be going to Sip├ín where the tombs were located tomorrow. North of here in T├║cume there are at least 25 pyramids, but we decided to pass that one and see the Sip├ín ones. One reason is because of the tombs and second they look like hills now with many crevices due to rain damage over 1500 years!

We drive to Pimentel a small town on the beach. We drive out onto the beach which is huge and the waves are pretty big to! But not big enough for the surfers - even though there were a few out there. But what we did like seeing are the Caballitos de totora which are reed boats that have been used by fishermen in Peru for the past 3000 years! These newer ones though have the reeds wrapped around styrofoam to keep them a float. There were quite a few standing up along the beach. All finished fishing today.  We did see a couple go out and the guy actually sits in the middle on top of the boat with his legs out in the water and paddles out like a kayak. The little hole in the back of the boat is actually to hold his catch.

Where the fish are laying is where the fisherman sits and the opening in the back is for his catch

Lots of paddling to get thru the waves!

I make dinner while we are parked so we could have our dinner on the beach and watch the sunset. We have read that parking overnight on the beach is not safe and others have been told to park by the police station. So as hard as it is to leave this spot to park in town we do it - especially since it's a Friday night - also the 13th AND a full moon!!! Who knows what kind of wackos come out LOL!!!! Plus don't want a knock on the door at midnight by the police saying we should move as others have. So we drive to the police station find a level spot close by and watch some more TV.  At around 8 or so a guy and his family in a van stopped beside us calling out 'Hola! Hola!'  and asked (all in Spanish) if we would like to park at their house. He showed me some comments made of his place online (English) but I explained we are leaving early in the morning and are good here by the police station. He did say it was free but we passed - we're comfortable where we are and I'm to tired to sit and visit with him and trying to speak only Spanish - which I would feel we would have to do, kinda rude to just stay in the van! LOL!! So we smiled shook hands said  Muchas Gracias!! and they left.  The only thing that bothered us during the night was a vehicle going by at 1:30 beeping his horn a bunch of times. Annoying!!

This morning I thought maybe we could head into the Mercado in Chiclayo on our way to Sip├ín.  So we head inland about 15kms and then Dwayne spotted a gas station that showed Mastercard decals! Yea! So went in and sure enough they take MC - great!  Then we needed to get to a bank so found one that doesn't charge :)  We've tried a few in the last couple of days and they all charge $3-5US even the Scotiabank so didn't withdraw any cash!! We find the Bank de la Nac├şon, this one charges no fees.  I used both our cards since can only take out a max of 400 soles (S/400) per card.  I then had to go into the bank and get smaller bills since the ATM spits out S/50s and S/100s . So went to the "Old peoples" window and got in right away because the lineups are long on a Saturday,  changed the big bills to S/10s and S/20s. Much easier to use in small towns.

The traffic is crazy being a Saturday morning so we aborted our trip to the Mercado - I was only going to buy fruit. Made a quick stop while Dwayne was held up in traffic and went to a bakery for bread and a couple of warm chicken empanadas :)  Have I said how much I dislike taxi and mototaxi drivers??? They are the WORST in Peru!!! They have absolutely no respect for anyone on the road. They just drive around us on either side!!!  We inched our way out of town with me sticking out my hand at the taxis to let us in the lane and head to Sip├ín!

More taxis in the city than mototaxis 

Another nice green area Plaza del Armas and the Cathedral in Chicloya
We get to Sip├ín 30 minutes later and went into the museum first, but didn't take to long to go thru since a lot of it was a repeat from the museum in Lambayeque. Then we walked over to the pyramids - or what is left of them to see where the tombs were dug up.  When you think of 1500 years of rain and wind erosion it explains why they look nothing like pyramids!  Just hills with big ruts in them.  When we walk over to the 2nd pyramid you can actually see the adobe bricks in places. Really cool.  Well not really, it's pretty hot here even when its cloudy out!! There is a bit of a breeze to help but I'm still pretty hot!

Sugar cane fields along our trip to Sip├ín which is closer to the mountains- barely visible thru the haze 

Arrow points to the pyramid in the distance

Zoomed in

Hummm hope the owner was driving when this happened!!

Some of the adobe bricks uncovered

Looking down into the tombs - replicated to show what they originally looked when discovered

Showing all the gold chest plates

And ceramic water jugs

This is the Lord of Sipán's tomb with is wife and others that were close to him

Walking along the top of the pyramids

Much greener in this area

This opening shows the adobe bricks, but not sure if there is a room or tunnel there

Dwayne next to the Lord of Sipán and what he was buried with

Model of the 2 pyramids - with the arrow on the right showing where the tombs were found
Now it's time to head back towards the coast a little and then into the mountains to go to Cajamarca. This is where we will try and get to the K├║elap ruins.  I've read there is a cable car that will take us to within 2km of the ruins. Hope we can drive on the road to get up there. Or we may need to take a bus and save Vanna ­čśä

Back near the coast a new development is starting

Very small houses

As we get closer to the mountains it gets green again with many rice paddies

Guess it helps to when a river is nearby

Those are all corn cobs drying in the sun

Each of those rice plants are planted individually!

There are also papaya plantations here

I had to zoom in to show how rice is planted - amazing amount of work to plant each individual plant!

We end up finding a spot for the night about an hour before Cajamarca on a reservoir.  Nice spot :) 

Think all the haze in the area is from burning of sugar cane stubble once it has been cut

Hazy sunset

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