Our beachside layover at Puerto Lopez was really relaxing and we were keen to find a similar location for another couple of days a little further south, so we picked a spot on the map and headed off. When you need to navigate a big city, in this case Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second biggest, you need to be prepared. Fortunately Mr Garmin behaved very well and I only misinterpreted one turn, but this was enough to flare tempers between Gus and I. The city had a very good by-pass and we avoided a possibly messy situation. We made our destination Machala by lunchtime, so we decided to push on to the border, which all turned sour.
We ended up getting separated in traffic and we missed each other twice by the side of the road and I arrived at the Peru border without my papers as they are stored in Gus’s bag. He eventually showed up and we had ‘words’. I had to turn back to Ecuador to Customs 10km back ! He saw the place and I didn’t… by the time I returned after getting my bike stamped out of Ecuador, Gus had still not got his Import Permit from Peru Customs, they were just being bastards and stalled us no question, deliberately… so we did not lose any time at all. Their ‘paperwork’ is third world stuff and I have no idea why they even bother as no one even checks the bike serial numbers, which is what this is all about ?
It was getting late afternoon and we bailed out in the town of Tumbes, which our guide book said to avoid. Turns out it was one of the nicest and cleanest towns we have found in Peru. We also found a nice hotel with parking and topped the night off finding a great little restaurant bar, with good pasta, steak and Pisco Sours ! All this while watching a Paul McCartney concert on a big screen, a rather fun night for us.
Next morning we were back on the road to our seaside destination, but all went bad when it turned out to be an ‘oil town’, which was quite grubby and not a great beach after all. Plan ‘B’ and we shot off for Paita which started to look like a similar town, but to our surprise a big fishing town with hundreds of trawlers moored in the bay which was a really colourful site. Not a lot of hotel options, but we tracked down something quite decent and then later a nice beachside retaurant bar with an amazing seafood menu (and more Pisco Sours !!)
Next day was long boring stretch of desert road down the PanAmerican Highway and my bike chain became quite loose needing a short roadside stop under harsh sun with no trees for shade for miles. We rocked into beachside Huanchaco, quickly realising it was Sunday and the towns traffic was mayhem with weekend and day trippers. A need for cash at the ATM brought us unstuck as not one machine in town would accept our card ? Fortunately I had some US dollars left over from Ecuador and the Currency Exchange booth saved the day. The hotel search was long and tedious and this always flares tempers between Gus and I, a constant issue when ‘crashing’ towns. Eventually solved with parking and WiFi and I logged into our Bank account to discover an unauthorised $1079 transaction at a cafe in Turkey ! The ‘plot thickens’….. rang the bank and I was put through to the fraud section in Melbourne, they had frozen the card, hence the ATM issue but was unable to contact us. Good to see their systems work. I have 4 backup systems for funds, so it was no drama and grateful my experience and planning easily solved this dilemma.