Thursday, December 1, 2011

Huancayo, Ayacucho and Andahuaylas, Peru 18-21 Nov 2011

We didn’t spend a night in Lima, we found another connecting bus to Huancayo at 10:30pm. Another long haul night bus. :-( By now, we should be immune to the rock and roll and crappy movie while sitting 45° in a so call “Semi Cama” seat. All you wish is that the fellow sitting in front of you don’t put the seat all the way down.

We arrived in Huancayo around 6am, we started to look for a hostel, they are a lot of “Hostel” around but most of them do not have dormitory, they offer Single and Double room. We were shocked to find the price @ S40 for a double room. We were not willing to pay so much in a small town like this. So we walked around with our 20kg backpacks for half an hour and finally found an unknown hostel @ S28. First thing I did was to take a nap, the bus ride was not so comfortable.

We headed out during lunch and made a mistake to choose to eat Roast Chicken. It didn’t fill our stomach. :-( We found a Tourist Information counter at the square to get some info of the town. We came here with one reason, to visit the weekend market. We were Friday and hoping that there is a market on Saturday and Sunday but the gal told us no the market at Huancayo is only on Sunday, but there is one at Chupaca on Saturday. Chupaca is 30mins by bus so that sounds like a plan. We couldn’t get a free map of the town. Anyway she told us there is nothing interesting in the town, only the Artesan market which is opposite our hostel. Next was to find a bus to Cusco,  we were told that there is no direct bus to Cusco, we have 2 choices. The fast way is to go back to Lima and switch to a direct bus to Cusco or take 3 buses connecting to Ayacucho, Andahuaylas and then Cusco . Shit! Too late now! :-( We opt for the long way to avoid going back to Lima, and on the plus side we can see more of the small town and countryside. The gal sent us to the terminal 2km away from our hostel which we then found out that it is only for buses to Lima, so now we got new info to the specific bus company that goes to Anyacucho which is located 3 km back to the other site of the town. :-( Well, we take it as sightseeing around the town. Finally we got our bus for Ayacucho that leaves on Sunday morning at 8am, I read somewhere that the view is amazing.

After sorting out our tickets, we have time to relax now. While in the town, we heard big bang of music and drums. There was a big street carnival going on. Later found out that it was a celebration for 119 years anniversary of Santa Isabel College. Hundreds of students dress up in different indigenous custom dressing, walked and dance down the street. It was such a scene. We got a chance to see all the custom dressing of entire Peru, we were so lucky!

Next day we went to Chupaca for the weekend market. We arrived in a small town with lots of locals. The market must have attracted a lot of the locals from around to do their weekly buy and sell. We were hoping we can find some handicraft in the market but all we see was stalls of clothes, shoes, houseware, vegetables, fruits, food, animals and hardware tools. I always love to visit markets, I can see many local customary in terms of what they wear, use and eat. I tried a fruit that looks like sea coconut, they called it Yarina, it has 4 holes that filled with juice and coconut alike meat, taste a bit like coconut too. We discovered a type of local medicines that they cook with birds, frogs, flowers and herbs, according to the local it will help to make the brain works smarter. :-) Want to try?

Back to Huancayo, fed up of local food, we went to the mall nearby and have a Burger King Whopper! Wow! It definitely tastes different! In the evening thick cloud starts to cover up the town, floating low in the sky, we went out to take some photos of the churches around but before we reach the hostel, it started to rain…but no…it doesn’t looks or feel like rain, there are fallen pieces of ice! We run for our life 50 meter to the Hostel. It’s hail! The temperature dropped suddenly and we run back into our room. From the window, we can see pieces of ice pile up outside the glass windows and the road. I was excited to see this for the first time, I went down to take some pictures. :-)

We left Huancayo 8am in the morning. It was 9 hours to Ayacucho. The road was bad, it was unpaved and not larger than 1.5 lane for a bus and a car to pass, one side is the wall and the other side is the steep drop off to the river. I was glad to sit at the left side. The bus did a lot of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers at small town sometime in the middle of nowhere. They all come with their big bag of fresh food, the 2 sitting in front of us have 2 chics in a box, every time the bus went pass a hump or pothole, they chip. :-) It wasn’t so funny after 9 hours in the bus, we start to smell the chicken shit.

We finally arrived at Ayacucho at 5pm, we shared a taxi with a Richard from NZ to find the other bus to Andahuaylas. The next bus leaves at 7:30pm, and we can connect with another bus at Andahuaylas in the morning to Cusco. Great! Sounds good but that means we will have a total of 25 hours in the bus straight. Ouch! Unfortunately there is no more seat left for the 2 of us to connect from Andahuaylas to Cusco. We took up the night bus option which is “Semi Cama” from Andahuaylas to Cusco.  “Semi Cama” means half bed, slightly bigger seats then the Economy and it’s double decker.

Again arrived in wee hours at Andahuaylas. We took out our sleeping bad find ourselves a corner in the bus station to sleep. The floor was cold! I managed to sleep a bit until the sunrises. We left our bags in the bus office and went to town to see what we can do for 12 hours. :-( Talking to the lady we bought breakfast from, she told us there is a lake nearby which is very beautiful, we can have trout for lunch by the lake and it’s only S3 to get there. The town is pretty small, very dirty and dusty. We found the Park Central and a seat under the shade, both of us just can’t wait any longer, we took a nap on the bench. We sat and watched locals passing by, one hour two hours pass by slowly.

By noon we decided to go to the lake, we jumped into a taxi which we thought the driver said S3.5 for the fare. We arrived to the lake and he asked for S35. We both argued with him and digged out all the small change we had and paid him S15. He finally said ok. Phew! The trout was good and the lake is beautiful. We spent 2 hours just doing nothing but enjoying the view by the lake. It’s almost 4pm so we better get going. This time we took a collective which cost only S3 per person. Now we understood that the lady was telling us the fare for a collectivo not a taxi. :-)
Finally the time has come for us to jump onto the bus to Cusco, for the “Semi Cama” bus we got a cup of diluted coffee and a bun. This night I slept all the way to Cusco.

Huancayo  - Unknown Hostal - S28 for private double room with attached bathroom.

Bus from Lima to Huancayo – S35 (Executive)
Bus from Huancayo to Ayacucho – S30 (Economy)
Bus from Ayacucho to Andahuaylas - S30 (Economy)
Bus from Andahuaylas to Cusco – S30 (Executive)

Huancayo - Day trip to Chupaca market by minivan– S1 per way
Andahuaylas – Took a taxi to Lake Pacucho – S15 one way, took a collectivo back S3

1 comment:

  1. It's so great to meet you, Mynudi! I'm a Canadian expat living in Huancayo and I'm always interested in people's take on the city. I'm surprised that you paid so much for the bus! I usually only pay around 10-20 soles to and from Lima and Huancayo.

    And how funny that you mention being sick of the food and eating a whopper -- I head over to the mall every once in a while for a "taste of home" too. =)