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Second time in PERU...Brazil...Ecuador again

PERU | Sunday, 28 November 2010 | Views [791]

November 28, 2009 –  January 8, 2010

After arriving to the Loki hostel in Lima I was able to start working for them bartending by the third day after I arrived.  I told them I could work until December 22 and then I will make my way to Brazil for Christmas and New Years. 

The owners of the Loki hostel (www.lokihostel.com) seem to do quite well.  In five years they have four hostel locations and recently just bought the house next door to their Cusco location to expand there.  In each location there are five owners and the fifth person is different in each location, so there are four original people.  With 5 people in on each location I wouldn’t imagine they are doing that great, but I think they actually do. 

I bartended at the hostel four shifts per week for six hours each, and in exchange I got a free bed in a staff room with 3 bunk beds in it.  We also got free home cooked dinner and 40% off of food and drinks.  In the morning they also have bread, jelly, and hot tea for free at the hostel, so I usually took advantage of that as well.

During my time in the hostel usually it was just me and two other girls staying in the staff room, but one of my first nights we had an extra body.  There was a guy named Chris who was the graphic designer for Loki and it was the night of his birthday.  He usually stays at his own place but on his birthday night he decided to have one too many drinks and decided that he was going to climb up on the top bunk above me around 5 am after a full night of drinking.  All of us were sound asleep and we all could hear Chris struggling to get to the top bunk with his plate of dinner food in hand.  He is about 300+ pounds and out of shape with tattoos all over his arms and earrings in both ears.  I have never heard someone sit in bed and chomp on their dinner and chips for as long as he did.  I felt like it was a good hour of chomping loudly on his food.  For all I knew I had a bear up in the bed above me.  Eventually, after eating his meal, he started to snore and had left all the lights on.  One of the girls got up to turn out the lights and tried to get Chris to turn over so he would stop snoring.  I can’t say I got much more sleep that night, and later on in the day I noticed his dinner plate and empty bag of chips were still in the bed.  Luckily there was a maid to clean up after him.

After some lazy times in Lima and working at the hostel, I was eager to catch my flight on Wednesday, December 23, to Brazil.  I was scheduled to fly out at 10:23 pm so took a bus from the hostel and arrived the airport about 5:30 so I figured I would have no problems with my flight.  When I gave my passport to the ticket lady she looked at my visa and noticed an error in my Brazillian Visa.  I had gotten the visa in Lima at the Brazillian Embassy and they put 06 Nov/Nov 2009 as my birth date rather than Nov 1980.  So the airline told me they were going to call Brazil to see if I would be allowed into the country because they usually don’t let people in with any errors on the visa.  Of course, after two hours of waiting for an answer, she came back with the answer I didn’t want.  She said that I would have to go to the embassy and get it fixed before I could fly to Brazil.  The visa took 3 days to get originally and there was only one more day before Christmas, and now I was basically screwed because of my flight and out $135 for my Brazillian visa that will also expire if I don’t use it within 90 days.  I tried to argue, but it didn’t do me any good.  I then returned back to the hostel and stayed up all night until 9 am when I returned to the embassy to see what they could do for me, but of course they were closed on Christmas Eve.  I looked online and saw that the Brazillian Embassy in the US was open on Christmas Eve so I figured it had to be open here as well, but wasn’t lucky enough.  I guess I had to wait until Monday, December 28, to see what they could do.

I felt extremely bad because Barbara’s parents had rented a beautiful house right on the ocean about 1.5 hours south of Rio in Angra dos Reis, and her parents had purchased a flight for her from Curitiba to arrive Rio the same time as me, and then we planned to take a bus to Angra dos Reis together to meet up with her family.  Luckily, I was able to get a hold of her to let her know about the unfortunate news.  She couldn’t believe it as well, and I guess her parents had all sorts of plans of different things to do while I was there including checking out Ihla Grande which is supposed to be amazing.

On Monday, December 28, I went to the embassy first thing in the morning after spending the last two nights at a friends’ place named Mayte because I didn’t have my bed anymore at the hostel.  They ended up taking on two different bartenders because they thought I was leaving to Brazil.  So I spent a couple nights sleeping on bean bags in the lobby of the hostel, and then when I was up late on MSN Mayte said I could go stay at her place even though she was out of town.  It was nice to just relax on her couch with no one else around to bug me and just watch movies the whole time.

The embassy put a note in my passport saying there was an error with my birth date and then a certified stamp so I would be able to get into the country.  Then I went across the street to the TACA airlines office to fix my airline ticket and I got the same flight times that I originally had, but just leaving Monday evening and arriving Tuesday morning to Rio.  I just had to pay a $55 fee to change the dates on my flight, so I couldn’t complain.  I was just eager to get away from Lima and soak up the sun in Brazil!

When I arrived in Brazil Barbara and her Dad were at the bus station to pick me up after I arrived Rio and took a bus 3 hours south to Angra Dos Reis.  They had been there waiting for an hour to pick me up when I arrived at 3 pm.  Then they drove me to the beautiful house right on the ocean.  It basically had four separate buildings to it.  Down right on the water it had a boat house type place with a sauna and an area to cook along with patio chairs looking out on the ocean, and then it had a separate house for the dining room where we had dinner, a TV room, and then also a small little bar area.  Then up above there was two separate areas as well where all of the bedrooms were.  Barbara told me the house rented for 20,000 reals for 10 days which is about $11,428.  They also had a family coming to rent right after us and the house was booked through the whole summer.  I am assuming the owner does quite well covering all the expenses of the house and some additional for that price.

The first day I arrived was the only day of sun that I had and it started raining in the evening.  I had never seen so much rain for such a long period of time.  It was a steady down pour for the next 48 hours or so.  It even ended up being a steady down pour for New Years Eve, so we just had a nice dinner and celebrated inside.  As a result of the rain we had no power either because a tree had fallen onto the power line and they never came to fix it while we were there because there were so many landslides all over the town of Angra dos Reis.  There was one hotel on the water where a land slide hit and killed over 30 people.  It was actually directly across from the house that we were staying at about a mile away by water.  There was also another landslide in a favela about a mile to the east of us that killed quite a few people.  In total there were 80 deaths in Angra and many more in Rio.  We had no way to get out of where we were staying by car because of so many landslides that occurred and were blocking the roads on the way out.  So Barbara’s Dad had gotten the neighbor to take him to the town of Angra by boat to try and work something out for us to get us all back to Sao Paulo and then he would come back and get both of his cars and the rental car that he had rented when they cleared all the big boulders from the streets.  Unfortunately the rental car company was charging him for each additional day of 180 reals ($102) per day even though it was a natural disaster and unpreventable. 

I had a flight out of Rio on the night of Jan 2, but it was too difficult to get to Rio with all the landslides blocking the road so I just caught my morning flight on Jan 3 at 7:47 am from Sao Paulo.  That is where everyone else was going to be flying from as well, so Barbara’s Dad rented us a boat on January 2 to have us picked up at 9:00 am.  The boat took us to downtown Angrawhere Barbara’s dad had rented us a private bus to get to Sao Paulo.  We finally arrived Sao Paulo about 6 pm or so, and then dropped all of our things off at Barbara’s parents place in Sao Paulo and then had the bus drop us all off at a friend of Barbara’s parents because they invited all 16 (Barbara’s family and two French couples along with their kids) of us over for a BBQ.

The BBQ was a lot of fun and at a huge house with an outdoor pool and BBQ area, but of course it was raining outside so it limited our time outside.  They had a couple of microphones and a couple who played the guitar and sang as well.  They were very talented and sang the whole night.  It was quite the BBQ with excellent food and a great way to finish my last night in Brazil.  We took four taxi’s to Barbara’s parents place about midnight or so and then Barbara and I got showered up and got our things organized to go catch our flights at the airport.  Her parents had planned to give us a ride to the airport, but of course they didn’t have their cars, so we took a taxi to the airport.

I arrived Lima again on January 3 and Barbara arrived one hour after me (10:55 am).  We then took a taxi to our couchsurfer Lizzybeth and Miguel’s place where they had a nice extra bedroom and were a very friendly people.  We spent one night with them and then caught a semi-cama bus the following night at 10 pm (30 soles/2.85= $10.53) with a company called Transportes Cromotex (01-424-7575).  We shopped around for different prices and they were the best price and also gave us dinner and breakfast on the 9 hour trip.  We arrived Trujillo at 7 am and then waited in the bus terminal till 8 am to call our next couchsurfer Rudy.  Rudy was actually out of town when we arrived, but his mom was happy to let us into their home and make both Barbara and I feel like we were at home.  We relaxed for awhile and then caught a bus to the beach area called Huanchaco which I had already been to on my last trip to Trujillo, but found some great ceviche to eat by the beach at a restaurant with a nice view of the ocean.

Our second day in Trujillo we took a bus to the famous Ruins called Chan Chan about 30 minutes from Trujillo, and had a bite to eat for lunch at another place on the water for some more Ceviche.  After some walking around the town we took a bus at 8:45 PM (Dorado 30 soles/2.85=$10.52) to Mancora, Peru.  After the nine hour bus trip we arrived about 5:30 am and tried to check into the Loki hostel, but it was completely full so we stayed at another place with an ocean view that worked out just fine for one night in Mancora. 

Mancora is a small beach city on the northwest coast of Peru that has many tourists and was a very hot city.  They have some excellent ceviche, but definitely a small city and not much to it.  After one night in Mancora we were ready to continue north up to Machala, Ecuador.  We caught a bus on Friday, January 8, to Machala (4 hours 30 soles CIFA International) where our couchsurfer Kahyda had been waiting a hour for us because the bus ride took an hour (5 hours) longer than normal.  There was quite a few people waiting in line at the Peru/Ecuador border and also the CIFA bus company was not very good.  We were about 15 km from Machala and they told us we needed to change CIFA buses to get to Machala because our bus was now going to Guayaquil.  Then when we got onto the other bus they dropped everyone off at this gas station that I had know idea where it was.  I asked the bus driver why we weren’t being dropped off at the terminal of the bus company, but he just said this is all the farther the bus goes.  I complained to the guy and told him I had a friend waiting for me to pick me up at the main terminal, so he dropped us off there where Kahyda was waiting for Barbara and I.



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