Throwback Thursday: Everybody’s Gone Surfin’. Surfin’ P-E-R-U

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

I happen to be having a love affair at the moment and it’s called Peru.  I just can not get enough of it.  Which is why you happen to be getting 2 Throwback Thursdays back to back.  There’s just so much we did in this one little big country that I’d feel ashamed of myself for leaving any of it out.

A quick side note on if you’re ever questioning where to take a 3-4 week vacation and get the biggest bang for your buck?  Peru.  Hands down, no questions asked.  This is one of the most diverse countries we’ve ever seen.  It Has.It.All.  History, culture, mountains, deserts, and sea sides.  Which is exactly where we found ourselves during our last stop in Peru.  A beautiful little ocean-side town called Mancora.  It surprised me that after weeks and weeks of getting sick of island and beaches and craving nothing more than a few good bustling cities, I couldn’t wait to get back to the shore.

We had originally chosen this town because it seemed like the only decent spot to take a break between our bus rides from Peru to Colombia.  In fact, as we stepped off our bus and were immediately harassed by about 20 tuk tuk drivers we questioned if we made the right decision in stopping there at all.  But as soon as we were checked into our ocean front hostel, met another traveling couple that we quickly fell for as travel buddies, and even let our 21 year old selves out for a game of beer pong one night, it was very apparent that this stop was exactly what we needed.

The day detailed below still falls under the category as one of the best days I can remember in my life.  Filled with friends, adventure, fun (plus cheap food and beer), I almost find myself packing my bag again to go back.

You can find the original post here.

Wednesday September 11, 2013


Photo courtesy of Nicolas Castellanos

Remember when I mentioned before that all great plans normally start over a drink?  Or four?  That’s how we woke up this morning with plans to go surfing in the Pacific after hearing last night that Kyle and Hannah had intentions of going.  It might not be Californi-a, and there may not be any Beach Boys hanging around, but there was water and a few crashing waves, and we were going to take advantage of it, however we always had in our minds that cradling in lacrosse isnt easy.

Forget the fact that neither Matt or I had had ever taking a surfing lesson before, or had never ever sat on a surf before.  A two hour rental of a board was only $3.50, so how can you not sign up for some time on the water at that price? But luckily, both of us had bought our wet suits. You can visit Buy4Outdoors website and buy one for yourself. Being reminded of the fact that I am no longer 22 years old, I sat at one of the picnic tables trying to stifle my headache while eating some yogurt and granola while I waited for everyone else to show up. In addition to our group of four, we were also having a new guy, Nicolas, who I’d never met before but made friends with Kyle at the hostel, join us.

Once we all gathered, it was down to the beach where we each handed over 10 soles and got a surf board in return.  We were about to head down to the water which I already knew was, to me, arctic cold.  I was not looking forward to getting in.  Thankfully we were called back by the shop owner to grab wetsuits that were hanging on the wall.  We hadn’t even known they were included in the rental.  Watching everyone try to shimmy into theirs was almost worth the cost of the rental itself.  Nicolas had one that was shredded throughout, giving him the appearance of a surfing villain, and Kyle had to struggle into one that had no zipper, basically turning himself into a contortionist just to get it on.

surf boards at Loki del Mar

Matt & Jessica in wetsuits

Kyle with a nip slip

 Dragging our boards out in front of the one crest on the beach,  all of us were given a quick lesson by Kyle who had been on a surf board once before.  Most of us weren’t paying much attention (possibly Matt and I), but instead kept making random quotes from the movie ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’.  “The less you do, the more you do.  Let’s see you pop up.  Do less, try it again.  You’re doing too much, do less.  Remember, don’t do anything.  Well, you gotta do more than that, cause now you’re just laying.”, referring to a scene where Paul Rudd’s character is trying to teach Jason Segel’s character to surf with the most illogical and unhelpful instructions ever.  Five minutes of fooling around like this, and then we were ready for the water.

surf lessons from Kyle

beach in Mancora Peru

Pushing our boards out into the water, we joined the 20 other people out already that morning, all trying to catch waves in the one area that the rolled through.  The one area that was shallow and had sharp jagged coral that was exposed at low tide.  Completely ready to ‘do more by doing less’, I paddled out to where the waves seem to be breaking, not even really sure what to do once I got there.  The paddle in itself was a little tiring, so as I finally approached the cresting waves where the much more educated surfers were riding them back to shore, I had no problem sitting a few of them out while I took a breather.

Then, I was ready for some giants.  But as soon as I was theoretically ready to ride the waves, they all disappeared.  The current however, was still going strong.  Most of the next hour was spent floating towards shore in calm and flat seas, and then paddling back out to deeper water where I hoped for some rollers to come in.  My patience did pay off as a few waves did start building awhile later, but then I ran in to the fact that everyone out there was trying to catch the same wave.  Trying to space yourself out from the others was half the work and the few times I did feel ready to get up, I was almost diving out of the way of people who had caught the wave before me and were careening right at me.  Overall I was able to push myself up on my knees twice, but I never rode any giants.

Finally succumbing to the cold and the exhaustion, I let myself float back to the beach on the current and tried to ride the last little breaking wave that builds up just before shore.  It was a little more than I was expecting and the force threw me from my board as I tumbled a few times before resurfacing again.  Luckily, the only thing hurt was my pride, and anyone within eye shot didn’t let on that they had seen my lack of grace.  Not long after, everyone else joined me on the sand as we peel off our wet suits and tried to fight fatigue.  A lunch of ceviche and Lomo Saltada were also quickly devoured since I think we had all just used up the calories we’re used to exerting in a day, on two hours out in the water.

I thought the rest of the day would be full of lounging and relaxing, but Loki had other ideas for us.  While we were all lounging by the pool and enjoying a mid-afternoon happy hour beer, one of the staff members came to drag us all out to participate in yoga.  Surprisingly, Matt did not persist.  This may have been because the girl in front of him was wearing a short skirt while practicing her downward facing dog.

yoga at loki

 Photo courtesy of Loki del Mar.

There were two more things on our list to do that night.  We all wanted to catch a sunset out on the beach (yes, even after watching them from the boat every night for how long now?, you still don’t get sick of it dipping behind the horizon), and also watching a little show from Kyle.  Did we forget to mention that he’s a fire poi performer?  This is where little balls of fire sitting at the bottom of a chain are swung around in a variety of rhythmical and geometrical patterns.  Kind of like the little girls in gymnastics, but instead of a pretty little ribbon fluttering around them it’s two balls of fire instead.  We were very intrigued.

The sunset itself was magnificent.  We all grabbed a cold beer from a street vendor and made our way to a quiet patch of sand as we watched the determined and hardcore surfers catching waves in the last rays of the sun.  Couples strode with arms wrapped around each other, and horses gently trotted through the damp sand on the beach.  This is just one more place we have come across that is literally picture perfect.

horses on beach, Mancora Peru

surfers at sunset, Mancora Peru

Kyle taking photos, Mancora Peru

our group on the beach, Mancora Peru

no camping sign on beach, Mancora Peru

 When the sky had just about grown dark, it was time for our show to begin.  As we circled around him, Kyle ignited his balls of fire, and as some music played in the background, we all stared with amazement as he began swinging them through the air, creating lasting trails of light as they twisted and dipped.  It was such a fun thing to see, and even members of the neighboring hotel were inching toward the beach to try and catch glimpses.  The only unfortunate part of the whole thing was that because he didn’t have the proper fuel with him and was forced to use basically a lamp oil instead, the flames did not want to stay blazing for more than a minute at a time.  Over and over he’d have to stop to relight them and continue the show.  It was still well worth it though, and we’ll make sure to force a second performance out of him when we drop in on them in London next year while we’re (hopefully) doing some land travels through Europe.

Kyle doing fire poi, Mancora Peru

 With such a full day that we’ve packed in, I guess there’s nothing left to do but go back to the hostel and watch the nightly ritual of the blood bombs, drinking for your country where scores are tallied on a board based on how many drinks each country buys.  Sadly, I don’t think the United States will be represented tonight.

blood bombs, Loki del Mar, Mancora Peru

Lima, Peru, Backpacking, South America

Our 54 Hour Bus Ride to Colombia

Saturday September 14, 2013

Lima, Peru, Backpacking, South America

So you know how I was just talking a few days ago about how there was no way we could add Bolivia to our list because it was going to be hard enough squeezing three countries into our visit? Â Well, make that two now. Â We’ve decided to skip out on Ecuador since we feel that if we do both that and Colombia, we won’t really get the full experience of either country. Â I don’t think either of us expected that we’d have spent over two weeks in Peru, but there was so much to see and so much to catch our interest that we couldn’t just whiz through it, only stopping in one or two places. Â This is what we feel would happen if we tried to fill two countries into our last two weeks. Â Sure, we could spend one day in about two different towns in each country, but that would be it. Â Even from where we’re sitting in Mancora, going to Bogota is almost 800 miles just in travel as the crow flies. Â Traveling there in a bus at speeds of 40 mph while you wind through mountains and treatcherous terrain, and it becomes a very long trip. Â Another 300 miles from Bogota to where our plane departs in Medellin and I think it’s safe to say that just a couple of those days will be eaten up by travel. If I had to do it again, I would just get a jet card membership at Jettly to lessen my travel time.

So we’re leaving out Ecuador.  People just keep giving so much praise to Colombia that we want to be able to experience it just as much as we’ve done Peru.  Which, I should note, we could easily spend our next two weeks here and not get bored.  I am SO glad that we chose this country to visit.  It was really hard to say good-bye this morning, and if we hadn’t already purchased our forwarding bus tickets back in Lima, I probably would have been able to talk Matt into a few more days here.  But we had no other option than to leave at two o’clock that afternoon, so we made the most of what time we had left there.  Packing our bags was no easy feat, I swear they grow bigger each city we stop at.  Which I guess technically they are, since we seem to buy some kind of souvenier at each place we stop.  In Mancora, it was a blanket sized sarong that we’ll now be able to lay on beaches with, without the fear of dragging sand back to the boat since it will shake right off of it, unlike a towel.  After that was finished we paid our bill at the hostel and spent our remaining time laying on the beach and going out for one more lunch.  I am really, really going to miss this place.

enjoying a Cristal beer on the beach in Mancora Peru

lunch in Mancora Peru

I think I’m going to miss you most, $4 meal (including beer).

Having just a little bit of Peruvian money left as we arrived at the bus station, we filled our backpacks with a few more snacks and drinks for the ride.  When our bus finally pulled into the station an hour and a half late, it was not at all what we were expecting.  For a direct ride that was going to take over 2 days, we thought it might be more luxurious than the normal buses we were riding, not that they had been at all bad, but come on.  2 straight days on a bus?  It better be a pretty frickin comfortable ride.  But this was not the double decker bus we were used to.  This was a bottom of the line bus.

When we approached our seats, we found a younger Latin girl already in it.  We pointed to the seat numbers on the bus and then at the matching numbers on our tickets, and waited while she moved 50 different pieces of belongings to the open seats on the other side of the aisle, including a fuzzy blanket that had me spending the first hour of our ride pulling pink colored fuzzies off my clothes.  It also turns out that our new seats disrupted a conversation with the people sitting in front of us that she had been talking too.  No matter to her, she just continued the conversation over us at a louder volume.  Yes, I know it’s part of the Latin culture to be loud and talkative, but if there’s one thing that can instantly get on my nerves, it’s loud or high pitched noises.  It’s why I tend to avoid crowds in general. She, happened to be both.

A few hours later my stomach began to growl and I was about to pull out one of my snacks except that I expected dinner to be served at any moment.  It was normally served around 6 pm, and I was getting extremely excited to have a hot meal and a cold drink placed in front of me.  Except it never came!  Even though we were using the same bus line we had been since we’d gotten to Peru, this particular class of bus did not serve food either.  It was looking like it was going to be a very long 2 days.  As we pulled into customs and immigration that evening to check out of Peru and into Ecuador, there was a quick run to the tienda across the street for some Doritos and Coke.  Just when we had been starting to eat healthier meals, we were thrown back into old habits of chips and pop for dinner.

The next morning around 10:30 we made a stop in a large town in Ecuador called Quito to unload passengers and take on some new ones.  I was tempted to run into the streets to see what kind of street vendor food I could pick up, but I had no idea how much time we were stopped for.  When we were picked up in Mancora, I don’t think the process took more than five minutes.  I decided not to get off.  Getting on though, was another young gringo couple close to our age.  I was elated when I found out they held the seats right next to us.  Finally, someone we could talk to.  They went through the same process we did of having to kick out the same Latina girl and also subsequently spent the next hour picking pink fuzzies from their clothes.  We found out the name of our new friends were Ardun and Jen, and they hailed from Australia.

As our bus set off and bumped along again, we found out that just like Hannah and Kyle, they’re taking a few months to take on South and Central America.  Except unlike our other friends, their lives basically revolve around traveling.  A few years ago, they actually road tripped across the United States by living in a Dodge Ram camper and even wrote a book about it called Boon Dockers.  The four of us got along great, and during our one stop of the day for lunch, we had a great time recounting our stories from our South American travels so far.  Jen and I also united while, during our check in to Colombia that night, we tried to stall the bus driver from leaving as the guys ran down to a street vendor to grab us all dinner.  For a moment there, we thought the four of us were going to be stranded on the side of the road.

Jen & Ardun Ward

 (Photo courtesy of Jen & Ardun Ward)

Even though there were the occasional leg cramps and having to hunt down toilet paper since the bus didn’t supply any, the trip was looking up.  We’d learned to stash food when we could, they finally added subtitles to the movies, and we had some great and interesting people to talk to.  I was feeling quite content when my eyes began drooping just after 10 and and settled in for another night’s sleep.  I didn’t find it too unusual, when just after midnight, the bus rolled to a stop.  I figured it was a requested bathroom or food stop since we were in front of a gas station.  One of the stewards walked down the aisle to give a quick speech, and people began floating on and off the bus, and smiling and laughing as they talked to each other.  Pretty routine I figured, and tried to go back to bed.

The bright lights and talking had woken Jen and Arudun up though, and I overheard a conversation she started with the bilingual guy behind her, trying to get more information of what was going on.  “Oh nothing”, he replied, “We’re all fine, it’s nothing”.  “But I just heard the steward say ‘peligro'”, she countered, “That’s the word for danger”.  That’s when the guy broke down told her what was really going on.  There were reports of guerrillas that had stopped and robbed three buses ahead of us, and we could be next in line.  We were stopping  at this gas station to take on military protection.  It was at that time that we all looked forward to see one of the military men boarding, a loaded AK 47 in his hand.

Through more persuading, we learned that the intended plan was to bring three military men on board with us.  Two would board the bus, standing at the front and the back, and another would be stowed below with our luggage.  Matt and I looked at each other in utter shock.  Our thoughts turned to everything we had on us.  Two cameras, two computers, two e-readers, and $600 in cash.  We started scanning the seats for any crevices we thought we might be able to hide our belongings in, but we knew the search was fruitless.  If we were stopped, the guerrillas would find it.  We settled on stuffing a good portion of the cash in the seat back, while I tucked $50 into my underwear.  We’d heard that if stopped, they line all passengers up next to the bus and make you empty your pockets, plus take off your shoes and socks.  I couldn’t think of any other place that hiding money might be safe.

As we started moving again, my breaths were short and shallow.  It was one of those things that I had a feeling deep down inside that everything would be fine, but the armed guard next to me reminded me that it might not.  I wasn’t worried for my safety, apparently after they ransack the bus they send you back on your way, just minus all your belongings.  But loosing all our belongings would still be a pretty big blow to us.  All the curtains were pulled shut inside the bus and every light was turned off except a few red bulbs running along the aisle.  Most people took the cue of what a sobering situation it was and kept quiet.  Not the Latina girl that had been seat hopping.  She made it a point to stand in the aisle in her glittery tank top, loudly talking with the person in the seat behind her and making sure the good looking military guy could see her every time she tossed her hair back and laughed.  I kind of wanted to smack her.

An hour later we rolled again to a stop.  We had made it out of the danger zone unscathed.  The military men were unloaded and we continued on our way once more.  I know part of me still should have been a little scared and a little alert, but by this point, I was just exhausted.  Young Latina girl had finally quieted herself, and I was ready for sleep.

The next morning we said goodbye to Ardun and Jen as they departed the bus in Cali, and we still had a few hours left until Bogota.  By now the bus was nearly empty and we were able to space ourselves out a bit more as well.  Loud Latina girl was gone, also having got off in Cali, and I was able to spend the remaining hours of the afternoon sleeping in something other than the fetal position, and getting some work done on my computer.  We’d covered a lot of miles, skipped one country, and almost had all our belongings stolen, but 54 hours after first boarding our bus, we were ready to explore Colombia.  Once we get to our hostel, eat, shower, and sleep.

beer pong, Loki del Mar, Mancora

If you Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em: Beer Pong at Loki del Mar

Tuesday September 10, 2013

beer pong, Loki del Mar, Mancora

Today we finally broke the curse of the ‘Outsiders as Backpackers’.  There are two ways we found to penetrate this curse if you are a 31 year old married backpacking couple.  One of them is this new fangeled concepts called ‘Joining in on activities’.  I know, I know, it almost sounds too extreme to attempt, but trust me, it works.  The other, is to find another backpacking couple.  Age or marital status doesn’t matter as much here, but it seems that any couples that have put more than a year into their relationship kind of have the cruiser mentality of reaching out to ‘people of their kind’.

One group of friends I was introduced to were a younger Dutch group (plus one Californian). Â Matt and I had spent the day moving ourselves back and forth between the beach and the pool at our hostel. Â At the pool, on one of the occasions that we were trying to find comfortable positions in the lounge chairs that have long ago stopped lounging and now just lie flat, I watched a group of about four people playing volleyball in the pool while playing casino games like UFABET168 เว็บตรงอันดับ 1 on my phone. Â As the day wore on I could no longer find a comfortable position in the chair, and my now bright red bum needed a little break from the sun that I had been forcing introductions with since I bought my new suit yesterday. Â When a fifth person joined their game and now made the teams uneven, I marched over and asked if I could join. Â And guess what?, they said yes! Â Man, I should have tried this thing of asking to join activities for years now instead of just sending ESP signals and waiting to be invited.

The game was quite entertaining and I found out that I can serve very well, but I’m as equally poor at trying to return a serve.  Or really, do anything with a ball that’s flying in my direction.  But the points I was able to earn while serving kind of evened me out, and my teammates decided I was worthy of keeping around.  Near the end though, the game wasn’t even concentrated on so much as scoring points as it was about staying in the sun.  For as hot as it is during the day, this place can get damn cold at night and members of both teams would slink toward the well lit side of the pool as the sun dropped below the palm trees and cast shadows on the other half.  Get that ball that’s headed toward the dark side of the pool?  I don’t think so, I’m staying in the sun. While there are also some people who want to stay in their cozy rooms and grind their way on video games. Most players will go on to the WoW Classic: TBC era as recent poll shows. I wonder what the price for WoW TBC Classic Gold will be once the update is rolled.

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Later that night after showering up and coming back out to the bar for dinner, we ran into the aforementioned couple.  Hannah and Kyle are from London and had just started a six month backpacking trip across South and Central America.  Like literally just started.  We recognized them from our bus ride up from Lima, where they had just gotten off a plane two days earlier.  We had a great time sitting by the bar and talking with them, us finding out where they were headed, and then finding out where we had already been.  Plus talking to people with British accents?  Those are just fun.  Every time Hannah would say something like, “Excuse me a moment, I have to go wee”, I would just about double over because it was both hilarious and adorably cute at the same time.

night shot of pool at Loki del Mar Mancora

night shot of bar, Loki del Mar, Mancora

Hannah and Kyle

 As we sat around one of the benches, talking and exchanging information, one of the Loki staff members came up to ask if we were participating in beer pong that night.  Yup, this was one of those hostels that had an activity going each night, and they were usually centered around drinking.  After having kept to ourselves every night of this trip so far, I blurted out “YES!!” before Matt ever had the opportunity to stop me.  Hannah and Kyle also agreed to play, I think all four of us expecting that we would be pitted against each other.  Which would have been nice since I don’t think any of us has played in years.  As far as Matt’s recollection goes, he’s never played.  I had to remind him that, yes, we’d actually played a number of times in his friend Kevin’s basement, but he probably doesn’t remember because the game of flippy cup which we eventually evolved to, was much more fun.  Which coincidentally,  also happened to be the game of choice at Loki last night.

Since all of us were no longer familiar on the rules, we went to the rule board to check it out.  For the laid back atmosphere this place administers, their rule board looked as technical as a rocket launch.

beer pong rules Loki del Mar Mancora

 Did you catch any of that?

There were so many groups of people playing that night, that only a certain number of tables could be set up and others would have to wait for one to become available before having the chance to play.  We took advantage of the little extra time on our hands and went to spy on my volleyball teammates, Wouter and Mark, who were busy drinking their defeat when we arrived.  It was still enough to pick up a few tips though, before we were doomed to our own table to begin.

Mark and Wouter at beer pong

 Luckily for us, our crazy French opponent in his crazy patterned pants, was very nice and more than willing to explain any rules that we were unsure of before we began.  They weren’t out to wipe the floor with our asses, they were just looking to have a good time.  Phew.  I started to relax a little bit.  That was, until Matt was pouring and racking up our drinks and I realized these were not the miniature sips of beer I was allotted as a dainty little girl back in our friends basement.  Between the six glasses in front of us, we had to empty two of the nearly liter sized bottles in to them.

Matt racking for beer pong, Loki del Mar, Mancora

 The game went much more quickly than I thought.  But that might have been because as soon as our opponents went to toss, they got their first ball in and I was sent to chug (and I mean really chug) about five ounces of beer as quickly as possible.  That will give you a good little buzz right there.  I remember tossing our ball and getting about two into their cups, but mostly I just remember chugging beer, and before I knew it, the game was over.  We had lost.  Oh well, at least we could still get new beers at the 2 for 1 game price.  After our defeat, we went to see how Hannah and Kyle were holding up.

Hannah and Kyle playing beer pong, Loki del Mar, Mancora

 Chug Hannah, chug!

Their game lasted slightly longer than ours, but they were soon out as well.  Making the rounds, I went to check back on other members from my volleyball team.

Gioia and Joss at beer pong

Wouter and Mark watch as Gioia and Joss play.

Mark, Jessica, Wouter at beer pong

And then to watch as one of our dorm mates, Renald, advanced to the next round.

Renald playing beer pong

It was kind of strange how we woke up that morning not really knowing a single soul at the hostel, and by 10 o’clock that night I was out fraternizing with half the people at the bar.  Talking to everyone I’d met earlier in the day, and also walking up to random people that I’d never even looked at before, just to see how their night was going.  Everyone was friendly and outgoing and more than willing to include us ‘old people’ in their conversations.  Maybe backpackers are kind of like cruisers after all, once you finally get the courage to go up and say hello.  Or, maybe you just need to ingest lots of beer.  That helps too.

hanging out in a private room in Loki del Mar

chillin at loki

Chillin’ at Loki and Relaxin’ all Cool

Monday September 9, 2013

3rd floor view, Loki del Mar

I can’t believe I’m saying this after all the whining and complaining I did back in June that ‘All these islands are starting to look the same, I just want to get to a big city’, I was so happy to come across a beach again.  Right now we are settled in the little town of Mancora, Peru, up on Northwest side, just under Ecuador.  I think we’re both ready to take a little time off from strutting through historic towns to kick back and relax for a few days with our toes in the sand and a cold beer in our hands.  Matt especially, who’s tensions seemed to be running a little high after being cooped up in a bus for another 17 hours.  I think these continuous rides are starting to take a toll on him.  As we were exiting the bus today and waiting for our luggage to be unloaded, dozens of tuk tuk drivers would hound you for a fare, not even giving you room to breath.  Matt may have had a little outburst at them while simultaneously yelling “JESSICA!!” to summon me to his side, which left the drivers laughing at his expense.  Poor guy needs some ceviche and a beer, stat.

We found the only driver out on the side that wasn’t bothering us, and gave him our business.  Our hostel, Loki del Mar, was less than a half mile up the road and we realized we could have walked it ourselves.  Oh well.  Getting ourselves checked in, we once again realized that this looked like a party hostel with a very young crowd.  And why wouldn’t it be?  It has it’s own slice of ocean front property, a swimming pool, cabanas, a bar, and dorm rooms for $8/night.  Yes, this place looked to be thriving on college kids out for holiday.  While making conversation with the girl behind the desk, we mentioned how the two of us stood out as much older than everyone else.

“How old are you two?”


“Yeah, you’re much older than everyone here.  I’m only 27, and usually I feel like the old one.”

“Oh.  Awesome.”

Chucking our bags in our dorm room, we set out about town to find me a new swimsuit.  You know, the kinds that are prominent in Brazil and Colombia, and cover more in the front than they do in the back?  I kinda think I need one of those. Literally hours were wasted as I tried on suit after suit since this is the one place in Peru we’ve been to where no one speaks English and it was hard to get across the T style vs the V style I was looking for.  In the end I decided on one set of bottoms from a higher class swimsuit shop, and then a top and bottom (interchangeable with the other bottoms) from a cheap street vendor. Prior to your trip, you may already avail your swimsuit online, such as those matching swimwear if you’re travelling with your lover.

It’s also worth mentioning that for lunch we finally tried one of those Peruvian set menus where you get a drink, appetizer, and entree, for some seriously low prices.  It had taken us this long to research the items that were constantly showing on these menus and realizing that they were things we actually wanted to eat.  You mean that ‘Lomo Saltado’ that I’d been seeing everywhere pretty much translates to ‘Steak stir-fry’?  One of those with a juice and and appetizer of ceviche for just over $3?  I was ready to set down roots.

After lunch it was time to head to the beach in my new suit and tan my pasty white bum.  We found a vendor selling liter bottles of beer for $2, and plopped down in the sand to catch the last few hours of afternoon sun.  I have to say, I think I’m gonna like it here.

hammocks and pool, Loki del Mar, Mancora Peru

While I was down here trying to take a photo to get a vibe of the place, one of the guys turns at me and goes

“Can you take our picture?”


“Are you going to put that up on Facebook?”

“Yeah, … I guess I can.”

“Cool, see ya later!”

No name, no email address, nothing.  I ended up posting it to Loki’s Facebook page, just so I could say I held up my part of the deal.  Good luck finding it guy…

hammocks, Loki del Mar, Mancora Peru