The bus overnight was smooth, Peru has some extremely luxurious buses with bus attendants, meals and even cushions. We arrived in Trujillo in the morning and I shared a lift with a few people to Huanchaca.
The streets were empty in the early morning and I walked around trying to find a good, cheap place to stay. I checked out a few, but they were all booked out. There was one on the shore with a bunch of really chilled out (probably drugged out) Americans ineffectively running the place. They first had a room, then they didn't then they did and then 'Oh my god' I went to find another place.
Ended up staying in a dirty dorm with some quite OK people. But the vibe in this town was not so great. People unfriendly, and as the day went on it started to get hotter and the streets jammed with locals from Trujillo coming down to the beach. I managed to rent a board and went out for a surf in the Pacific ocean. It was good clean waves, not too much power but fun and cold and good to be in the water. I finished the surf and chilled out the rest of the day, surfed the next morning. Then got fed up with all the travellers, too many people taking too many drugs and talking about too many extreme things... I thus decided to head to the jungle. I bought a bus ticket to Chachapoyas and then was on the bus again for the night.
Another strange experience on the bus, I was now a single man travelling to a small town on the edge of the mountains, the edge of the Amazon basin. I got a seat next to a youngish women, girl who had her family sitting behind her. I then settled down for a bumpy yet comfortable ride on the luxurious Peruvian bus. Then as we bump along, the girl starts to do suggestive yawns, and her arm stretches out and touches my leg. I think, OK I must be taking up some space so I shift over closer to the window. Then after a while I feel the arm up against my leg again. Hmm, never had this before. I hear all the stories of girls getting groped on bus's all over the world and here I am getting some sort of groping, by a beautiful girl on a bus in South America. So she slowly tries more and more as the night goes on, but very carefully because her mother is sitting behind her. Eventually I just hold her hand and the groping stops. I fall asleep, wake up in the morning and we all get out the bus.
I promptly get ignored by the girl, she plays with her mobile phone and looks the other way while her mother packs their bags into a taxi. Innocent groping in the bus, a new experience for me! Then I see a tall guy with clear blue eyes standing talking away in Spanish trying to organise a taxi. His name is Dennis and we start chatting and it turns out that we have the same idea of what we want to do. Go see the famous Kuelap fortress ruins next to Chachapoyas and then head over to the Yurimaguas on the banks of the Amazon. We plan to take the river ferry from there down to Iquitos for three days.
He is a German guy who speaks (what seems to me) like perfect Spanish, a great attitude and we end up having some amazing adventures together. First off was a tourist trip to see the Kealap ruins. These ruins are found on the top of a mountain, in between ancient lush trees. Organic round houses forming a fortress protected from enemies, only two entrances to the summit that allow one person at a time up onto the mountains. We are there with an organised tour, which turns out to be a lot of fun, the other tourists are Peruvians from Lima and they are enjoying travelling with some Gringos. We laugh a lot and talk a lot and the ruins are impressive. Intricately built and standing there against the harsh elements for over 1000 years. They date back to pre-Inca times when the Chachapoyas people ruled over a large portion of the Peruvian Andes. The Incas then came and conquered them and not too long after the Conquistadores came and wiped out the culture.
We stayed in a great wooden guest house in Chachapoyas, I bought some Malaria medicine at the local pharmacy. That evening this little Finnish girl walked into the back packer and we started talking. Hanna from Finland (ha now you can find her on Google, there only 4 million Hanna's from Finland) was also travelling alone like me and Dennis. It turned out that we all have girlfriends and boyfriends back home or travelling and were out in the worlds by ourselves. Thus we made a good team and we set off in the bus to the next destination, the Amazon!
We arrived at the last stop on the highway before the river takes us eastwards into the heart of the Amazon for a few days of idyllic cruising on the biggest river in the world. Yurimaguas was extremely humid and hot, we had a ruthlessly cheap room, with a fan and no separate bathroom. But funny to stay there for one night! We bought water and some supplies for the boat, hammocks at the docks and tied them up on the top floor of the ferry to settle down for three days of nothing to do but look at the jungle, sit in our hammocks, eat in our hammocks or sleep in our hammocks. What a memorable few days, too short! We had a great team, Hanna, Dennis, me and the latest member Anna from Columbia. All lined up in a row, unable to escape. Food three times a day from the canteen, people on all sides. A gentle breeze from the motion of the boat. Endless jungle, a green mass that looks like it never stops. Truly something incredible to see!
We laughed and cooked and slept, we sat on the roof of the boat. Stared at the green mass. The flooding river moving quickly toward the ocean thousands of kilometres away. People singing, everybody wanting to talk with you. Naughty kids to do karate with, bland food in large portions, more than you can eat. Peruvians, Colombians, Swiss Latino's, Germans, older travellers and young stoners. Locals from the jungle, tourists from Lima. A mix of people together on the boat with no escape. Heat in the day, fresh air in the evening. Tropical thunderstorms, lighting and rain. Scorching sun and amazing sunsets. Yes, as you can see, it was memorable, one of the best things I have done as a traveller. And I have done quite a lot.
Before we knew it it was over and we were in Iquitos, and this was also a memorable city. In the jungle, only accessible by river or air. A bustling city in the heart of the Amazon. Old architecture and a million motor taxis, vibrant colours and deep smells. We arrived to this and booked in at the most touristy of touristy backpackers that floats on the waters of the flooding Amazon. Run down and dirty with weird people running the place, none of this matters when we order beer and drink under the umbrella's in the heat of the day. Smiles on our faces, an amazing feeling being here in this place so far from everything we know, and yet WIFI for their laptops and a mere Skype call from home. We buy food, drink and cook into the night. The bugs are not too many the beds are comfortable, team Dennis, Hanna, Adrian and Anna living the dream and living it well.