Woke this morning on the coach to a breakfast of a single ham sandwich and a chocolate bar with a drink of orange juice. Though it was nice to have free meal it was dissapointing to open the cardboard box and find a single slice of unbuttered bread with a single slice of processed ham.
The journey up to Piura was through desert and very flat. When I fell asleep last night we were going through hills on winding roads with what seemed to be big drops, not that it stopped me falling asleep. The desert had a few dunes and scrubby trees, there were the occassional houses and settlements by the side of the road but no signs of agriculture and it extended all the way to Piura.
When the coach arrived in Piura it had a problem as the road to the coach depot was closed with a stage being erected across the entrance. The driver obviously had no idea that the road was shut and there was a bit of a pause before he headed one street further over and driving round the block. My personal problems were added to when we got off the coach, one of my bags had arrived on the earlier bus but the other hadn’t. Once again my excellent mastery of spanish stood me in good stead, well it was more sign language, drawings and guesswork. We eventually found out that my bag had gone on to the next stop and would be returned by 9 o’clock this evening. This meant that I wouldn’t be able to get to Colan this evening. Instead a trip to the tourist information office yielded a map, directions towards some Hospedaje and an explanation of what a hospedaje is (somewhere between a hotel and hostel) and WiFi. I walked down and found the California and booked myself in for the night, having dumped my bag I walked back in to the town centre for a look round and to find somewhere to eat. Once again in Piura there was a shopping centre, this time a lot smaller than the one in Lima and with less stalls. I had a hunt round in the department store but couldn’t find any sport socks or even any socks bigger than size 8. This sort of makes sense when I am about 6 inches higher than almost anyone else in town.
After wandering round the town for a bit I ended up in a restaurant trying to make sense of the menu. I chose what I thought was going to be gammon but turned out to be a very chewy steak. Back at the hospedaje I crashed out on the bed for a bit while using the WiFi. Just before 9 headed across to the coach depot to collect my bag. All day while I have been walking round the town I have had the tourist boards comments in Lima about not trusting people and fact that they gave me a business card for the Tourist Police in the back of my mind. It goes dark soon after 6 here so by the time I was walking across town it was definitely night-time and I would not have been surprised to be mugged. Luckily I reached the depot safely. As I got close I saw the manager trying to sort out another coach that had had to take the back route and was now jammed in. He waved me away and I went to the waiting room where a young man who looked to be about 14 was guarding the door. I waited outside until the coach was despatched and the manager returned to give me my rucksac. All this time the stage was pumping out the noises of an election rally with speeches and a band. It was not the rock stage that I had thought it maybe but it was refreshing to see people excited and passionate about politics.