Sunday, August 01, 2004


Olmos Made It

Just got back from a really nice excursion, we drove out of Chiclayo into the countryside, a little north and a little west, though directions are not very important as we followed the only paved road heading that way. Driving in the Celica is simply excellent fun in itself - peasants stare open-mouthed as we whiz by their laden mules, teenage boys in villages shout and gesture, little kids tug on their mum's arm to point us out. I used to feel quite embarrassed by all the attention... and rather apologetic too, seeing as few of these little kids living in country pueblos would ever forseeably grow up to own a car, let alone a sexy one. But now I tend to think well, you would too, if you could, wouldn't you? Anyway, after whizzing along for two short hours, accompanied by the outstandingly groovy tunes of Boney M and Aqua, we ended up in a small town called Olmos with a delightful Andes backdrop. It's claim to fame was as the almighty capital of limons - a cross between a lime and a lemon - so there wasn't a great deal kicking off. The town did, however, have a rather pleasant whitewashed hostel (El Remanso) owned by a 78 year old architect who speaks perfect English. He lived in London, Sweden and Poland while he was studying. Oddly, he had also previously lived in Puerto Eten, a town close to Chiclayo, and had been friends with Tito's grandfather. (Having next to no family myself, the endless connections in Peru never fail to tickle me.) Anyhow, we spent a lazy evening there, playing table football and drinking beer. We weren't, unfortunately, at all prepared to go hiking into the forest to look for petroglyphics, as the proprietor suggested (we had no boots, no sunscreen, etc). In the morning we instead choose to drive 10 minutes down the road to an aviary. It had lots of lovely jungle birds, peacocks, and an absolutely enormous Great Dane who wanted very much to be Wanpi's boyfriend. We said no, as she's only three months old. We had a really pleasant wander round in the sun, followed by a yummy lunch at a rustic outdoor restaurant in town. The ceviche was pretty good, although I can't say for sure that was due to the quality of the limons! We were quite anxious to stay another night in the nice little town, but after interrogating the hostel staff, a vendor of ice-cream, the aviary keeper, and the waiter we came to the inescapable conclusion that there were but two tourist attractions in the area... the aviary and the petroglyphics. The limons, I'm afraid I have to say, don't count - no, Olmos didn't quite make it. So, we whizzed the two hours back to Chiclayo, just in time for tea.

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