If no man could become rich in Peru, no man could become poor.”
No movie last night: it was “spitting rain” as my mother would have said so my friends and I played games, ate inside and watched the Olympics. Today is still a bit damp, but I think the sun is making a decided effort to appear. The morning is a lot lighter than it’s been.
We’re still in South America, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We got here on a small boat from Duran where the auto-bus had finished its run after scaring the heck out of us while showing us the most amazing sights. Guayaquil was hot, and the hotel we found had no screens so I was a mosquito magnet. I don’t remember anything about the city. I just remember swatting and scratching all night. We stayed only a day as the city was really planned as a transit stop. The next day we took another local bus toward the border, and the people were again most accommodating in the passport transfer from the back to the front. We got to the Ecuadorian/Peruvian border too late to cross so we had to stay in Ecuador overnight. That border town reminded me of something out of an old western movie. People were walking out and about all night, and the cantinas were all open and crowded, mostly with men. Our hotel was right on the main drag, a cheap hotel right near the border. For a bathroom it had a hole which necessitated good aim. The hole was out back.
Because I had not slept the night before, I fell sleep right away and heard nothing. My friend was awake most of the night because of the noise and the people walking by our room right on the street. She was a bit frightened by the thought of our room being so central so I think staying up was really a sort of guard duty for her. The next morning we got breakfast and changed dollars into Peruvian sol as the rate was so much cheaper in Ecuador. We got double what we would have gotten into Peru, and knowing we were heading to Machu Picchu, we changed a lot of money. The two of us walked through the border into the first building, passport control. Signs were all over about the amount of Peruvian money you could bring into the country. We were way over the limit. We noticed clothes flung over a screen and realized someone was really being searched. My friend immediately started to panic as we had hidden a lot of money in our bras. I told her to write down on the entry form an amount of money above the limit so we looked honest. That worked. We got a lecture but that was all. The next building was to prove we had a ticket out of Peru before we could come into Peru. Anyone who didn’t was directed to a small building where they were forced to buy bus tickets they’d probably never use. I realized the guy checking tickets spoke no English so I gave him the sheaf of plane tickets, and he flipped through the pile and let me go. I told him my friend was with me, and he hand gestured her a wave out of the building as well. We boarded a bus to Lima.
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