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Pan American Highway: Lima to Huarmey

We left Lima on the four o´clock bus to Huarmey, traveling on the Pan American highway for most of the trip.  That road follows the length of South America and  goes up into the United  States  as well.  I remember hearing about it when I was a kid, but I don´t know where in the U.S. the Pan American Highway goes.  I´ll have to learn more about that later.

Anyway, it took over an hour just to get out of Lima.  I´m going to call that bus ride one of the three most ëxciting¨rides of my life…. It is very dry on the coast; in fact, it´s a desert with sand dunes.  One stretch of the highway cuts right through these huge dunes.  I have no idea how they build and maintain such a road.  Why doesn´t it slide down the mountain??  The driver was going so fast and passing ¨slow¨trucks on this relatively narrow road.  Hay carumba! But we made it to our destination alright in the end.  The view of the Pacific Ocean was stunning —  as long as you didn´t look down to see the sharply angled  slope of sand upon which the road was resting … oh, and no guard rails, of course.  🙂

Every so often the bus pulled into a little town or city and stopped to take on or let off passengers.  Vendors buzzed around the outside of the bus whenever it stopped, selling cold drinks, food, and other items. It was a little hard to watch the children trying to make money in this way, but I understand that this is reality for them.  But the  kids here get to me — I keep thinking of my own child and wondering how different life would be for us if we were poor. How very lucky we are!

We arrived in Huarmey (which is sort of our project´s homebase)  around 10 p.m. and piled our bags on the sidewalk at the bus depot.  Two children were watching us, and they asked me what were doing.  At first I answered that I didn´t speak Spanish, but then I tried anyway.  I told them we were going to the mountain villages.  They looked very surprised to see us and all of our gear.

Huarmey is a smallish place.  No big taxis or vans to help us carry our bags.  We took about nine tiny taxis instead.  These taxis are three wheeled and look sort of like a giant tricycle with a back seat enclosed in a pliable plastic box.  We had a LOT of gear to bring to the Parish house before we could do anything else.  After we left our equipment with Father Ruly of the parish, then we carried our personal bags to the hotel Paraiso.

Our hotel here is smaller than the one in Lima, a little less comfortable and clean but still not bad, I think.  We had a short group meeting after we all got our rooms, and then a group of folks went out to try to find some supper.  (That was about 10:30 p.m.) Some of us, however, were too wiped out and stayed behind to go to sleep.  I was one of those who stayed behind. I decided to forego using the elctric heater for the shower water.  Yes, you read that right!  You turn on the water first and then with your dry hand you flip on the electricity. I thought, ¨Hey, I don´t really need hot water to get clean…¨ So I enjoyed a bracing cold shower before bed.  Refreshing. 🙂

This morning we ate  desayuno (breakfast) at the jugueria (juice bar) in the marketplace.  I ordered jugo de piña, mango, y platano  (pineapple, mango, and banana juice) and pan con pollo (a white roll with shredded boiled chicken meat).  All deliciosa!  The señora told us to come back tomoprrow. Nice.

After breakfast I tagged along with M. (the Peruvian grad student) and we went to the hospital to see about whether they can help us with transportation into the mountains.  The hostipal is on strike, but they are still going to be able to help.  Whew!  I also met a man, Antonio,  who runs a technology center for kids from the mountains.  I had brought a digital camera to donate to his center.  The camera was a gift from my son´s school.  I have to say, Antonio was SO HAPPY!!  He saw iummediately all the uses for this gift and was very appreciative.  The kids are on summer break right now, but before they return in March, he will take some photos and send them to my son´s school.

I´ve got to sign off now.  I do not know where we will be in the next few days since transportation is still not all set.  We have about half of what we need (in trucks) and are still working to get the rest.  Maybe we will take local buses to some places…  Meanwhile, the crew is working hard to repàck our equipment for each team to make sure they have what they need.

 So, for now, adios!

3 Responses

  1. I would’ve been nervous on the bus ride too. I’m glad you made it safely.

    That’s awesome about the digital camera. I’m sure it made you feel good to present such a gift.

  2. Woaaao, that was a real experience.It’s amazing for me as a “huarmeyano” read about your trip.That’s my little town long time ago I didn’t visit it.But most of my family it’s still there.Including for me was a incredible experiencie travel from Lima to Huarmey and Huarmey’s highlands . Most people are friendly with reserves . I hoped you had enjoyed stop by in Huarmey.

  3. I DID enjoy Huarmey. It is a nice little town. Going to the highlands was very different but also really good. I am glad that I went on the trip!

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