Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 22 & 23, 2014, Macara, Ecudaor to Piura, Peru

 Our last day in Ecuador was an awesome drive from Azogues to Macara with huge elevation changes (again) and non stop turns, switchbacks and more livestock to avoid.  Our hotel room in Azogues cost $31 USD (including breakfast of eggs, buns, Colada de avena con naranjilla, coffee or tea along with ham and cheese) was huge with lamps and lots of ceiling lights which is extremely rare (usually only 1 dim light in a room). The Colada de avena con naranjilla is a refrigerated juice made with oats, cinnamon sticks and naranjillas (a citrus like fruit) and is fairly thick and filling. The following link is for the foodies who want to check out this drink and other Ecuadorian recipes.
 Azogues is known for their white felt Panama hats.
 Ecuadorian highlands.
 While taking a break we notice this elderly lady taking a nap with a walking stick propping her up, a short time later the stick fell to the ground and we thought she would end up face first on the sidewalk.
We arrived in Macara late in the afternoon and found a couple of hotels on the same street, Diana checks out one while I go to the other. She is quoted a gringo price of $40 USD while my hotel was $20 USD. We take the cheaper as it's cleaner and only one flight of stairs and the other was six flights and at the high altitude it's exhausting making three trips from the bike to the room. In the morning I can't get the bike out of the secured garage because three vehicles have me jammed in the corner and we finally get going about 9 am. On the way out of town this medium size dog comes running out of a vacant lot, I think his intention was to get a piece of us but instead we hit him (at 60 km/h) in the right shoulder and both front and rear tires go over him. I look in my mirror and can see him walk away and I'm not about to wait around for the owner, if it even has one to extract a cash payment from me. We continue our dash for the Peru border and are pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to exit Ecuador, takes about 15 minutes for both customs and immigration which are about 20 feet apart and we are the only ones there. Same thing on the Peru side, we are the only ones entering, both customs and immigration are next door to each other and takes about 45 minutes including a conversation with the customs officer.
Trucker taking a nap while waiting for customs clearance.
 Road signs like these are constant in Ecuador (I missed taking a photo of the hairpin sign)
Our expectations of Peru being the same as Ecuador and Columbia are dashed within a few kilometers of the border. The poverty we witness takes us back to Central America, people are living in enclosures made of bamboo weaved together to create walls, no roofs and no doors. There is no running water or bathroom facilities and garbage collection is not existent.
Bamboo huts without doors or roof.
There are goats everywhere and you are constantly watching for them to run across the highway. There is also lots of donkeys, cattle and pigs around every corner. 
We make a run for the coast with intentions of settling down for a number of days so I can recover from this cold and now a groin injury. The 50 kilometers drive from Sullana to Paiti on the coast is littered with more garbage than we have ever witnessed. When we arrive at Paiti we do a quick tour of the city and decide we are not staying in this hell hole and set our sights on Piura which is inland about 55 kilometers. With a population of 380,000 it has a good selection of hotels and restaurants. With the help of the GPS we find a very nice hotel for $48 USD with AC, furniture, hot water, and a great bed.
These are Mangos (not ripe yet), we stopped at a roadside stand and Diana gave the vendor a dollar thinking we would get a few mangos and she stopped him at seven as we didn't have room for more than that. They are extremely juicy!

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