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Day 5 – A fish meal on the water front
The people in the hotel recommended that we visit two lakes nearby. We searched but couldn’t find them, so we continued to Podgorica and from there to the old capital Cetinje. At some point the road was blocked and we had to take a partly dirt road passing between the villages. When we finally got back to the main road we saw a sign after 2-3 km with the direction to Rijeka Cernovica. We continued in that direction, and we were surprised when we noticed a big lake with a swamp flora. It’s a narrow road on the side of the mountain (at least in the direction we were driving), with an amazing view of the lake.
We drove north and crossed the longest concrete bridge in the world – 1,439 meters – and it cost us 30 kn. On the first turn we took a left onto a road that took us to a beautiful lookout on the bridge. We weren’t impressed by the old city of Senj.
We tried buying tickets from P.S. to P.E. prior to the dive. However we had troubles with Compu Ticket site so we postponed it to after the dive. We thought to ourselves, how many people are driving from P.S. to P.E...
So when finished the dive and were ready to go with this guy, we went buying tickets from their office (which somehow always located inside SPAR supermarket chain). But of course, when we got there, they run out of tickets and the only options is buying ticket for the day after...
With no choice we paid this guy 300 rand so he can drop us and Durban where we spent another night at Hippo Hide. However, it was joy to notice we still kept our word and not take the Baz Bus, and with all the detour and the extra night it still got us cheaper than a Baz Bus ticket: from Durban to P.E. with City to City company it cost us 350 rand, while the Baz Bus ticket cost 1200 rand.
The railway station was very crowded - everybody is going to Machu Picchu. Tourists and locals. A locked gate separated us from the platform, and it didn't seem to be opening soon. Despite the crowding, I was shivering under my fleece. (Bring with you very warm clothes, no matter what season you're traveling, otherwise you'll get sick as I did, in one of the most beautiful places on earth).
When the gate opened a ticket collector arrived and started arranging people in columns. He reviewed the ticket and directed each person accordingly. I sat down near two young Brazilian men, and spoke with them in Spanish until I realized that their Spanish isn't any better than mine, so we switched to English.
Early in the morning, before sunlight I left Cajamarca, after four days which felt like a lot more. From the hotel I took a Taxi to the bus station (again, there isn't really a central station, ask the driver to take you to the office of Rojas, they have god buses with high frequency) and from there the bus left to Celendin. It's a small village, four hours driving from Cajamarca, which serves as an exchange point for buses heading to Chachapoyas. These are not going in high frequency, so you should reach Celendin as fast and as early as you can. The bus I drove was a small one, modern and and almost as comfortable as Virjen del Carmen company. The way to Chacha takes 9 hours, depending on the bus size and random disruptions on the narrow and steep roads.
The way to Chacha is breath taking, sometimes in the frightening sense. The bus is winding on a narrow road, glued to the mountain side, and its other side has a several hundred meter drop. Sometimes you find green drops from both ends, but you'll always be accompanies by enormous green mountains, with little clouds hanging between them.
On my way from Cajamarca I met two french tourists - a french lady who taught kids art in dusty Celendin, and a french Canadian who just finished volunteering, working with monkeys and Jaguars at Manu National Park.
Field log: Frenchmen aren't afraid to talk in English (nor Spanish), aren't afraid to leave of the well plowed tourist route. and monkeys are more dangerous than Jaguars.
It took a night and a long morning to get to Máncora. A night bus took us to Chiclayo located on the beach, and another bus took us north along the beach to Piura. From there the road goes through desert, similar to the Sinai desert, and when an oasis with palm trees appeared after several hours we thought we were hallucinating,
We continued driving near the river on a beautiful road and after a while we reached a spot where construction work was taking place, beyond the construction we had to drive on a narrow road, where only one car can pass at a time. The road was scary and I was worried a car might come in the opposite direction, but all that vehicles that passed us were motorcycles. We drove in the direction of Treviso and from there made our way back to Slovenia.
My Lancha arrived at noon, after a light delay of seven hours. I embarked it with several pigs fighting for their souls, because they knew why they were being brought on to the ship.
I took a shower and for dinner I ate chicken soup with noodles, and a tasteless banana. On this boat I got a place on the comfortable third floor, and ate some cookies I bought at the Nucuray's grocery store everything seemed optimistic.
If I can give you a single bit of advice on this Selva (tropical area) is that when you're offered with food, don't ever refuse - because if you're not hungry currently, you will be soon. Same for mosquito nets.
Field Notes: New definitions of biological verity - you look at your hand and see 10 different types of insect bites.