Adventures in South America

Chapter 9 - The queen of the spring parade

Our plans till the rest of the trip in South America are like this. As we lost 2-3 days and as the weather is bad almost everyday we decide to stop trekking and leave Peru in favour to Ecuador. it will take us a day to arrive at Huaraz, another day to Trujillo, Peru's third largest city (pop. 750,000, alt. 0m) (after Lima, Arequipa and before Cusco) and another day to Guayaquil, in Ecuador. (these places are located about 7-12 hours by bus from each other). In Ecuador we plan to visit the Galapagos islands, but that will be told in the next (and last) chapter...

In Huaraz we arrive hungry enough to eat several trout fish and visit the French Creperie. The night bus to Trujillo is OK and we arrive in the morning as planned. We buy next night bus ticket to Tumbes, a Peruvian town on the border with Ecuador having bad reputation because of thieves. We go downtown to give our clothes for cleaning. On our way we meet a 20 years old boy who sells pecan nuts and wears a T shirt with the word "Jerusalem" printed on it. We buy some pecans and start to chat and discover to our amazement that he talks almost fluent Hebrew !!! No, Joseph is not a Jew, but he met some Israeli tourists and became interested very much in Israel. He learnt Hebrew and hopes to immigrate one day to Israel. He is an orphan, having only one sister who is married to an American Jew and who lives in NY. Hearing our plans, Joseph recommends to us to stay one more day in Trujillo in order to see "La reina de la primavera" (queen of the spring) festival which will take place tomorrow. I quote from our guide book: "Organised by the Club de Leones, it is a celebration of the arrival of Spring and has grown over the years to become one of Peru's most important tourist events. The festival is not for the politically sensitive as it is basically a massive beauty pageant with beauty queens from South and North America participating". Joseph also tells us that we can sleep at the only Jewish family in town and give us their address. We will think about it.

Meanwhile we visit the famous "Huacas del sol e de la luna" Moche civilisation pyramids. Then we sit in a computer store and send to you "Adventures in Bolivia - 2" chapter which is the last to be sent from South America. The people in the store are nice and tell us too that we must not miss the festival. OK, we get the clue and go to the bus station to change the date of our tickets (although it's written on the ticket that once bought, you cannot change nor cancel it). We stand in the line behind a Peruvian woman who is well dressed. She tells us (in English) that she has lived for several years in England and is recently back in Peru. She feels like she stayed too long in England. For instance, asking for the price of a shirt in a shop here in Peru, she agreed at once. The friends who were with her were shocked - are you crazy ? did you forget that here you are expected to bargain ??? Fortunately, nowadays she regained the "right behaviour"...

We felt that she is the one to help us. We told her (in English) our problem and she told us not to worry about it, SHE will manage. "Just pretend not understanding Spanish" and it will be all-right !!! And like that it was - we played the stupid ones not understanding anything and she told the teller that we meant the next day. The teller did not believe her, but reluctantly agreed to change the date...

We went to the "only Jewish home" in town and found a charming family their. Several days before was Rosh Hashana (Hebrew new years day), and many Israeli's were around. Now there's only one. We slept in comfort and went to see the parade. It was nice, full of females fresh flash, but a bit commercial (the best parade we saw was in La Paz, Bolivia). The most beautiful girl was for our taste, Miss Ecuador.

The queen of the spring parade.

In the evening we were on our way to Tumbes hoping to keep our record of not being cheated nor stolen in Peru. It isn't easy, as the guidebook writes about the border crossing from Tumbes to Ecuador: "Police officers on the Peruvian side of the international bridge continue to ask regularly for brides. Try to avoid them if possible but if approached be courteous but firm. Porters on either side of the border charge exorbitant prices; don't be bullied. Also note that relations between Peru and Ecuador are not good; Ecuadorian customs may confiscate guidebooks and maps of Peru which show areas claimed by Ecuador as belonging to Peru."

Will we succeed ?

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Last modified: Mon Jun 11th 17:03:08 IST 1999