Up and out by 6:45, colectivo waiting for 2 more passengers til 7:30. Only 6s. for the hr drive up a river valley full of irrig agric - sugar cane, potatoes, asparagus,, onions, peppers, etc. From a walking bridge over dry river bed we hiked another 15 min. to the site. see pics. Both of us agree - restoration is a bit misleading, not really what was orig built...lacked the thick stucco walls which we think were more likely there 5,000 yrs ago. Mostly a facsimilie and in addition, they would not let us wolk the grounds w/o a guide! This prevented us from going to many places since we did not pay the exhorbitant 20s. extra and they put us w/ a very slow moving group of locals (guides only speak Spanish as well). Since we only had a bit over an hour by the time we had to leave they had walked only 1/2 way thru the very expansive site. see pics. Back in Barranca we got to bus stop by 12:30 since we were told the bus to Huaraz would pass by betw 1 & 2 and didn't want to miss it. After 2-3 buses passed by full we changed plans and got on bus headed for Casma, Transportes Anita.
It cost us 20s. - just as much as total fare from Lima! Once in Casma we bought tickets for 11 am bus to Huaraz then ckd into Hostel Gregori, Lea, the administrator, was very helpful, told us about visiting Sechin...mysterious ruins from 1600 BC only 8 km from here.
Got up and went to Sechin - very nice museum + , see pics. Back and a brkfst before ckg out of hostel and to bus station by 10:30 am. While waiting we talked a long time w/ Juan Ferrando (411633), the owner of the bus station/agency. His family mostly lives in US...Long Is. (2 sons are MDs there). We watched World Cup, NZ vs Italy ended in tie. Then about 11:15 we thought bus was coming so we went out front on street w/ our packs to wait. It didn't come but I stood just outside the door against the wall (packs behind me). Bon had put her day pack on top of our packs behind me and was watching on street for the bus. At one point a woman on my right spilled water on my pack and was apologizing. I made the mistake of turning toward her and saying 'Oh, that's not important'...prophetic words! At the time I thought it a bit strange that she made such a fuss over a little water. Next thing I know Bon is saying 'Where is my pack?' For some reason I did not believe her - it had to be here somewhere! I completely forgot the young woman as we frantically looked around, Bon saying 'You were right there! Where is it? How could it just disappear?' Then I remembered the woman...Bon is in shock, I am distraught because I let it happen right behind me! The owner, Juan, gets into it and begins inquiries on the street. He talks to a fellow nearby who knows alot about street stuff (black market, etc), he talks to police who were away at lunch. W/in 30 min everyone around knows what's happened...they believe it was someone from out of town.
The bus comes and waits for half an hour - all hoping it will return since, Juan has let it be known on the street that nothing of value is in the pack but we will pay $10-20 US to get it back. Bus leaves...Juan has bought wine and fruit juice for a mix he says is local favorite and offers us some. He says, 'When times are bad, best put on a happy face'. Wish it were that easy. I can tell he is feeling bad for us too. We just sit in shock having decided to wait 24 hrs to see what turns up. Finally, we get our tickets changed for tomor at 1:30 for Huaraz. Juan closes at 2 on Sundays so we head back to Hostel Gregori where Lea, administrator, is about to leave, all dressed up for Sunday afternoon 'thing'. She is sympathetic too, says 'Remember, I told you to be careful, many people from out of town on weekends. But at least you have your health, and lost very little! We must be thankful for these things!'
Now back in our 'old room' instead of on our way to Huaraz - the day began so promising. Juan was optimistic when we left (tomor morning your little pack will be here he said before we left) and Bon is hoping he is right or else...no LP, no Malarone, no Synthroid, no rain jacket, no head lamp, no check register, no ADDRESS BOOK! Bon is very upset, I've never seen her this quiet and it makes me even more pissed at myself for letting this all happen!!!