Mancora was the first port of call – a crazy little party town with huge surf which picks you up and tosses you about like a tourist in a big wave.
As well as the best surf, the clearest sky and the hottest sun, Mancora is also the current holder of the 'cheapest meal' trophy. We regularly wolfed down a two-course seafood dinner with drink for about £1.75. We got a little hooked on cerviche here, which is almost as addictive and equally raw as sushi.
It was here too that we bumped into Martin and Rachel – Stacey's parents' best friends who are doing a similar, if more whistlestop, trip to ours. Seeing them sipping beers in that bar in Mancora became a similar image – we have crossed paths two more times since then and will hopefully see them again in Cusco, probably for a beer. It was a huge buzz to see such familiar faces after almost four months on the road. Stacey and I have become so tired of each others faces that we now wear masks made out of paper bags and talk in regional accents, which we vary from day to day. For example today my mask depicted a confused eel and I spoke with a Swedish lilt.
I digress. From Mancora we headed to Trujillo, or more specifically Huanchaco, which was the first of three places that all sound similar and get us terribly confused. In Huanchaco we visited a couple of great temples. In Chan Chan, we made the mistake of picking up a replica helmet which was lying on the floor of a plaza. Before we knew it, a large guy dressed as a Chimu Emperor was steaming towards us telling us we shouldn't have touched it. Stacey, still wearing the helmet and matching neck decoration, argued that it was on the floor and we mistakenly took it to be for people to try on. The image of Stacey dressed as an Emperor arguing her case in all seriousness is something I won't forget in a hurry.
We stopped off in Lunahuana, where we tackled some grade 5 rapids – a feat which was made harder by the fact that we had a stinking hangover from drinking far too much Pisco, wine and beer the night before during a winery tour. (Pisco was pretty good, the wine was crap and the beer was cold).
Our final stop before we set off to Lima to meet my Dad was Huanchina, an oasis set amongst HUUUUUGE sand dunes. The Peruvian coast in general is a pretty arid place, but this was the most deserty of the lot. It looked like an actual desert. You go there to throw yourself down said sand dunes on a snowboard. It was the most fun we've had in ages, even if the sand did get in gaps we didn't even know we had.
We met up with Martin and Rachel again in Huanchina and we drank lots of Pisco Sour (very good cocktail with Pisco, lemon and egg white). We also got a boat out to 'the poor man's Galapagos'. We were poor, but we found it rich with wildlife and guano, which they hack off every 7 years, when it's about 20cm deep. Now there's a job – you only get paid every seven years when you have to spend two months on a rock up to your ankles in bird crap.
We're in Lima at the moment. We have met up with my Dad, who seems delighted at the price of booze but horrified that you are not allowed to put toilet roll down the loo.