While I have taken a multitude of day trips to different districts in Lima, up until earlier this week, I had not actually left the city. To be honest, this break was the first trip that resembled any sort of vacation that I’ve had in a long time and it was great to just travel. Although out of the people who I work with, I am by far the least traveled and sometimes it leaves me feeling a little green. For example, this trip included my first time going on a travel bus – both of them were night busses (not to be confused with the Knight Bus) and staying in a hostal. Nonetheless, the flip side of the situation is that I know that I’m surrounded by people who really know their stuff.
That knowledge was really helpful, because even though this little trip was pretty short, I think I might have been a little overwhelmed if I had done it alone. I still find it hard to believe that we did all that we did in the time that we had. Here’s a basic break down of the logistics:
- Monday, 11:30 pm: Bus departed Lima
- Tuesday, 9:00 am: Arrived in Trujillo
- All the fun times in Huanchaco and Trujillo
- Wednesday, 10:45 pm: Bus departed Trujillo
- Thursday, 9:00 am: Arrived in Lima
So what does “All the fun times in Huanchaco and Trujillo” entail? Loads!
The hostal that we stayed in is located in a small beach town called Huanchaco, which is located outside of the central city of Trujillo. When we arrived, we were proper ready for some breakfast. We were served a questionable meal about thirty minutes after leaving Lima the night before and none of us ate much of what we were given (although the alfajore was palatable). Our hostal, MyFriend, had a pretty decent restaurant. The atmosphere was everything you would expect from a surf hostal. Where the walls weren’t covered by framed photos of swells, they were lined with surfboards. A combination of Latin American and beach time resulted in a very very relaxed pace of service, but all of us were too tired to really make anything of it. As if the surf hostal didn’t remind me of Santa Cruz enough, the resident surf instructor, Victor, (they offer full rentals of boards and gear to those who want to take lessons) was wearing a Santa Cruz skate boarding company t-shirt. Too much.
The beach was about two blocks down the street from the hostal. In fact, there’s a clear shot view of the beach right outside of the hostal’s door. (I still regret not taking a picture of the view!) Although despite the fact that all we had done since arriving in Trujillo was recline on the beach and eat, we were all in for a good power nap. Simply put, Tuesday was tranquillo.
On Wednesday morning we visited the ruins of Chan Chan which are located about half way between Huanchaco and Trujillo. Visiting these ruins was much more enjoyable than the trip to the ruins of Pachacamac – the main reason being that it was incredible to be able to really walk around the palace ruins and semi-freely wander. Yolekha had been before so she provided us with a bit of a tour. Our trusty Lonely Planet guide book supplemented the tour with its ever present knowledge and occasional witty remark.
One of the most interesting parts of the trip was the visit to SKIP (Supporting Kids in Peru). One of the main reasons we went to Trujillo was to visit Yolekha because she’s just finishing up her time volunteering with SKIP. Fun facts: 1. Like Building Dignity, SKIP is an Omprakash Partner organization. 2. I almost volunteered with SKIP. We spent about an hour talking with volunteers and the organizations coordinators at the center about their programming and sharing our own work as well. It was a little surreal to be walking around SKIP’s classrooms and outdoor areas, because being a SKIP volunteer very well could have been what my life looked like. Nevertheless, the visit reinforced how grateful I feel to be involved with Building Dignity and the people that I have gotten to know over the past few months.
Before heading out for dinner and subsequently back to Lima, I got to meet a woman who is in the same Omprakash Volunteer Grant cycle as me! It was so cool to be able to network and meet another grant recipient and in general, someone that I only knew through email and reading responses to material we worked on in EdGE. I think that we may be the first grant recipients to have ever met in person. We very well couldn’t be the first, but I think that the idea sounds really nice.
You did good, Trujillo. Maybe I’ll pass through on my way to Ecuador…