This post is coming at you from a state of total relaxation. I’ve been spending the last week in Mancora, Peru, where the sun’s always out, it’s a steady 27 degrees with a mild breeze all day, and the only choice I have to make when I wake up is whether I’ll be chilling at the beach or chilling at the hostel pool & bar.
I came here from Cuenca, Ecuador, a very old and picturesque town full of old-looking churches and older-looking people. It’s eminently photographable – the sun’s bright, the colors pop, and there’s an abundance of humanity with the wear and tear of time leaving traces on both buildings and people. On my way down, I had to do a stopover in a harbor town where I somehow ended up in a 4-star hotel for the absurd price of $12. What do you get for $12? Well, no hot water, for one.
Peru has been a lot more exciting and fun than Ecuador. I felt that in Ecuador I had a bit of a harder time connecting and meeting new people. Everyone was coming from different places and heading in different directions, and it was also pretty cold all the time. But now I’m here and in a week I’ve already done a number of things I never thought I’d be doing in my life.
For one, I’m now wearing flipflops. Turns out they’re not stupid, and actually really comfortable to wear.
Next, I also picked up surfing and it’s really, really awesome! I took lessons twice in the beginning of the week and have been practicing every day since then. I can now catch a wave, stand up, and steer a little bit to the left (can’t turn right yet). I’m certainly nowhere near consistent and I spend a lot of time fruitlessly paddling and wiping out in the white water. Still, I feel like I’ve made progress and it’s such an exhilarating rush when you stand on the board tearing along with the tremendous noise of the wave right behind you. I try to catch both high tides, so I’m out there at 7.30 in the morning and then again at 5.00 in the afternoon.
Another first is that now is the first time I’ve seriously considered pausing my travels and staying here for a couple months. It’s just such an easy life here. I wake up, have some toast, grab a board and get to the beach for a morning surf, then back to the hostel to chat a little with the other backpackers, maybe have a drink and a swim in the pool, read a book, listen to some tunes, have a good lunch, then head back out in the afternoon for another surf, watch the sunset, back at the hostel to play some cards or ping pong or darts or whatever, and finally a good dinner and a little bit of dancing at the beach. It’s completely stress free and I love it.
I will have to head out though, because I know there are a lot more amazing places to see. On Monday I’m taking the overnight bus to Lima, after which in the next couple of days I will be going surfing on sand dunes and heading up to Cuzco to get up close and personal with the wonders of the Inca civilization.