Thursday, 25 February 2010

Leaving Cajamarca

My last day and exit from Cajamarca went well. I began the day by checking out the cathedral and later treated my adopted family and friends to lunch. In the end there were 15 of us in Salas Restaurant in the Plaza. This is an old, typical, busy and large restaurant and offers all of the favourite Peruvian dishes. I had lomo saltado and we drunk some passable Peruvian wine.

For the evening, I was  invited to accompany my cyclist friends to an evangelical regaton event. Seemingly an unlikely musical combination, we arrived at university sports hall at 7pm. By 9pm about 300 people had arrived but the sound team were still ironing out problems with the balance, decks and microphones. The act comprised 2 fattish, baggily dressed Mexican Americans and they punctuated their songs with short sermons. The audience, mainly young people were at once animated by the beat, the electrified voices sounding to me as if they had been at the laughing gas. I pretty much got sucked in by the atmosphere and was reminded of my one and only attendance at the Elim pentecostal church. Still, they were a good natured bunch pogoing like mad but without a drop of alcohol.

The next morning, before 6am, Vicky and Mirita kindly saw me off into a taxi and Richard, my cyclist guide met me at the bus station to wish me well. How kind! The journey to Celedin was breathtaking and a tad worrying. We climbed to about 4000m and followed a snaking dirt road with fabulous views and steep unprotected cliff edges.

Celedin is a slightly sleepy mediums sized rural town and I am lodged in the Hostal Celedin with a simple  ensuite  bedroom for only £7.00 a night. By the end of the afternoon I had explored the town to its edges and enjoyed its comparative tranquility.

Awaking early I went on an excursion to some thermal baths. Llanguat is a small village 23km down into the tropical zone, I Joined 2 others at 7am sharing thee cost of the fare of £12 round trip. The journey was   fantastic as we passed into a vast canyon down to the river bed. The road was pretty bumpy and narrow made worse by a recent mud slide 'hauco'. These naturalevents happen in the rainy season when great chunks of mountainside gather speed and come cascading down; their force destroys or covers everything in their path. The baths comprised 2 swimming pools, the hot one iron red and a very comfortable temperature. I soaked and chatted with othersand we returned after a lunch of chicken, yukka and rice, topped off with bananas and sweet lemons. 

All is well; I was sad to have left Cajamarca but pleased to be moving on and experiencing some different countryside.

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