I have rather mixed feelings about Chiclayo so far. The bus ride from Cajamarca was uneventful so we arrived in the early evening. As was expected, there were taxi drivers inside the bus depot touting for trade and trying to coax people into going to hotels different from those they had booked. This is quite common here but I had already paid 25% deposit on my hotel reservation so was not going to be tempted elsewhere.I also have no desire to ride in one of the very small “Tico” cabs, which are the next size up from a child’s pedal car with approximately the same leg room. Still inside the bus terminal, I asked the driver if his cab was spacious and he assured me it was and we negotiated the fare. That is normal throughout the country, fares are not regulated and there are no meters. I had, however, not asked him about the overall condition of his cab, or indeed, if he could drive it competently.
The taxi had certainly been in a few scrapes but it was only a short distance to the hotel, so I thought I would chance it. Before leaving Cajamarca, I had taken advantage of Google Earth and “walked” the journey from the bus station to my hotel. It was just as well because in spite of his assertions earlier, the driver had no idea and I had to direct him. “Have you been here before?” he asked. “No” I replied, ” you are supposed to be the one with the local knowledge”.
It was soon apparent as to how his vehicle had become so battle scarred. He was a very bad driver, as are so many people here. Thankfully the journey was short and soon over, although at one point he did say that the journey was longer than he thought and should be a different tariff. I reminded him that there are no actual tariffs and that we negotiated a price at the start of the journey. He accepted this and left to go in search of another potential victim.
On entering the hotel, I was not surprised that they were not expecting me, in spite of the advanced booking and deposit and 2 emails updating them on my estimated time of arrival. I was not expecting the red carpet treatment, just the room I had reserved. Fortunately, they had a spare room with three beds in which they assured me would be just for me and just for the one night. I was happily relocated the next day.
The hotel staff are friendly and helpful, with the receptionist even walking me to a nearby restaurant which she recommended. Also, giving advice and directions for local sites of interest. Perhaps Chiclayo was going to be as friendly as advertised.
Not quite. I went out for a run early on Sunday morning and was attacked by two dogs. One tried to bite my leg and I am sorry to say I had to give him a severe bang on the ear to deter him. That was sufficient for him to lose interest and although the other one made a lot of noise, he kept a safe distance from me.
Not long after that, a taxi jumped a red light and almost ran me over. It was right next to a police station with two officers standing outside. I commented as I passed about the idiocy of Peruvian drivers and I heard them chuckling as I turned the next corner. I ran for a little over 6kms, which I was happy with, as I have only run a few times since arriving in Peru. I have put in a lot of walking though.
At lunch time I decided to visit the Plaza de Armas and have general look around. It was quite busy, as was the Mercado Modelo.
The market is huge and just seems to go on and on.
The owner of this fruit stall advised me to put my camera (ipod) in my pocket or keep a firm grip on it as it could well be stolen otherwise.
I was kept amuse for a while by the antics of this taxi driver and his fare, trying to fit two big boxes of sound equipment into the cab…