Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Lima to Huacho

I woke to the news that the national bus strike continues, and likely to do so until Saturday at the earliest. So, there's more than one way of skinning a cat, find out how much your journey will be by taxi. Compared to UK prices they are paltry, so wasn't surprised that the 150Km north to Huacho would be $60. I can manage that, but there is always the problem here, and of course in many parts of the world, the quality of car and driver. The 'beat up' Toyota looked like it might get there, and I'd informed the hotel doorman of my destination, agreed price and no tip - all confirmed with the cabby.

There can of course be one more slight snag as far as this sort of thing is concerned, and that is does the driver know how to get there, I was assured he did!! Seven times we stopped to ask the way, while even I knew that the town was on the Pan American Highway going towards Trujillo. Yes, I hear you say why didn't I drive then, well because these maniacs make up the Highway Code as they go along, for example, if a left indicator is flashing there is no way the vehicle is turning in that direction. I always find it facinating to watch a city or large town come to life in the morning, and so the traffic jam both ways was a bit of a bonus. Where do all those people come from, what do they do, just like the rest of us trying to make a living. All along the track, especially within the city, there were a forest of stalls being erected, buses jam packed and most risking their life at some stage just to get across the road. It was a full hour getting out of the conurbation, after which the terrain turned to desert which is how it stayed for the rest of the journey. Anyway, I'm here, the hotel in adequate, clean, cheap and only a stones throw from the sea, where I'll be heading as soon as the temperature drops a bit.

Andean & Horned Coot are high on the list of species I'll be seeking tomorrow (don't ask me why, I just fancy them) and already have spoken to someone, with the aid of the Field Guide, who tells me they are available. The lake I had sussed before leaving home, Laguna El Paraiso is, according to Google Earth, just 5 miles south of here, but there is also an archeological site with its own lake where I could get lucky. Either way the taxi fare is said to be less than 50p so I can cope with that as well. So for now, off to get some provisions, suss the laundry and Post Office then back to work, and hopefully finish this later.

The beach, or should I say the cliff top, was no more than 5 minutes walk from the hotel, band an excellent vantage point from which to make a decision which way to go. To the left, there wer hundreds of people and what seemed like as many dogs, so my choice was already clear, but to the right were 'thousands' of Gulls. Not wishing to risk the scree path I took the scenic route down to the sand where straight away I saw Belcher's, Grey, Franklin's and Grey-hooded, but much further on there were 'clouds of them occasionally filling the sky so there had to be a Sabine's Gull or two among them. I was only part way to my target when a group of women and their children came running towards me shouting "no, no don't go, robbers", I didn't need a second telling. Turning about I walked the 2 or 3 miles to the small fishing port where Hudsonian Whimbrel, Snowy Egret, all in the dozens, and a single Spotted Sandpiper were seen. In addition, in the arid area away from the beach I found a new species for the trip, a pretty handsome Killdeer. Making it back to the main road through the docks full of vessels on stocks being repaired, I decided on a Tuk Tuk, and as if to order there was Chiefy with his Mrs and Chico just waiting to take me back. At the end of the ride they didn't want any money (puzzled) but a few bob must have come in handy, while the nipper got a shilling too.

Killdeer - like to find one of these at Lodmoor Daragh?

Killdeer showing 'bib'.

Grey-hooded Gull with still a sign of juvenile plummage.

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