|Buenas Dias from Peru!
We were up early to catch a bus that would cross the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border without having to disembark in the border town of Huayquillas. Stumbling out the hostel at 5am into darkness we managed to find a cab to take us to the bus station and we jumped onto the bus to Machala. Comfy seats, foot rests, tv and an on board toilet - a great start to the day! As usual the scenery was stunning and we just sat there looking out of the window taking it all in. We were heading down from the mountains towards the coastal town of Machala for our first change of bus and into the hot and humid climate. On arrival at the bus depot we were told that our bus was not going direct to Piura but was stopping at Tumbes. Not really understanding why we couldn't go to Piura we set off for Tumbes where we would try and arrange something later. We then found out from a local that there was a blockade in between Tumbes and Piura and no buses were running until it was resolved.
We were told that passport control would come on board our bus to stamp our passports in both Ecuador and Peru but as we reached the Ecuadorian border all the gringos (tourists) had to disembark and walk across the road to the passport office. At that point the bus departed along with our backpacks. We got our stamps and wondered where our bus had gone, thankfully 20mins later the bus returned - with our bags! We jumped back on board and came to the border town of Huayquillas which resembled a dusty, dirty market town not out of place in a good western film! We then crossed over the bridge and we were in Peru. One final stop at the Peruvian border crossing for our visa. The immigration man was duly waiting for us but was transfixed with his tv and the Superman film that was showing. He almost stamped his desk rather than our passports as he was so engrossed in the film - almost comical!
Tumbes is mainly a border crossing town which was first conquered by the Spanish and most people try not to stay here. We found it to be quite small but also quite relaxing and nice. David went off for a haircut and then we both headed out for some food and a drink. It was here that we tried our first Ceviche at a local restaurant in the Plaza de Armas and the local brew. Ceviche is raw seafood marinated in lemon, chili and onions, served cold with boiled yam. At first it didnt look inviting but it turned out to be absolutely delicious.
After chatting to a few bus companies that day it was clear that we had to stay in town for the night and try to continue our journey the next day. That was when the fun began!