Freezing cold showers in La Isla Del Sol and one overnight bus ride meant Leslie and Bryan had not showered for four days…yep, four days. The only thing we wanted to do was take a hot shower, eat ceviche, and lay on the beach. Mollendo seemed like the perfect spot.
Crossing borders is always a stressful event for me. So far, border crossing in South America has not been fun, mostly because we had to pay an arm and a leg to get into Argentina and Bolivia as US citizens. My research told me we didn’t need to pay anything for Peru, but still, one can never be sure. We hopped on the overnight bus from Copacabana with our new Swiss friend and about 10 minutes later we made it to the border. Thankfully, we didn’t have to pay anything! Yahoooo!
We arrived in Arequipa, Peru at 5am in the morning and it wouldn’t be a Leslie and Bryan adventure if knew exactly what our destination was more than a day or two in advance. In this case, we only had minutes to decide if we should stay in Arequipa for a couple days or take the next available bus to Mollendo. We chose beach and ceviche because we knew we’d be back in Arequipa.
The little town of Mollendo was brought to our attention by two Canadian guys we met in Bolivia. They were informed about Mollendo from a friend who lived in Peru for awhile, and it’s always best to follow local advice, so we decided to follow.
It is known as a vacation destination for Peruvians, mostly locals from the nearby city of Arequipa. For some reason, not a lot of backpackers know about this place, so we were pretty much the only non-Peruvians around. We weren’t sure if we were going to see our Canadian friends, Sean and Mike, in Mollendo because they had talked about going to another beach town first.
We found a hotel to stay that was little more expensive but it had HOT showers! We decided to spend the little extra to have this luxury and it was well worth it.
After showers we walked along the incredibly crowded beach and ran into our friend, Sean. It was easy to spot him as he was the only non-Peruvian for miles. We talked for an hour on the beach and decided to meet up later for sunset and dinner.
Beach towns in South America have been quite different from South East Asia so far. We’re used to cheap bungalows right off the water. Not having this made me miss S.E. Asia, but despite this, it was still a cute little beach town. Plus, there was ceviche in Mollendo. Ceviche is fresh raw fish that has been marinated in lime juice. It is usually mixed with chopped onions and cilantro. The acid in the lime helps kill the bacteria and makes it appear like it has been cooked. Basically, it is delicious, and if mercury poisoning were not an issue, I would eat it everyday of my life.
We met Sean and Mike later for dinner and card games. We played combo-buster, shithead (we need to come up with a new title for this one), and a new game Bryan and I learned called eucker. All and all it was a good night.
The next day was spent relaxing on the beach under an umbrella and swimming in incredibly humongous waves. They were so huge that it was almost impossible for kids to swim in the ocean as it would have been quite dangerous. As a result, there were little swimming pools all over the beach that people would fill up with ocean water. Sean, Mike, Bryan, and I had a lot of fun getting knocked down by the waves for the next couple of days. Swimming, eating ceviche, reading, playing cards, and trying not to drown was quite the life really and we had a lot of fun doing it with our new friends.
The night before Sean and Mike left we all decided to go to the local bar next to our guesthouse. This may or may not have been a good idea. It was a pretty sketchy place and I was the only girl there, except for the bartender. She was my hero. We were there for a good two hours, and we saw her kick out about 5 belligerant men. She literally had a stick in her hand which I actually saw her use. She was the toughest, most badass woman I have ever encountered and it was a pleasure meeting her. Bryan was able to get through many conversations in Spanish with some of the drunk local men, so he was pretty happy with himself. There were a couple interesting moments as one guy seemed to not like we were there, but he was wasted and we had Sean and Mike who are pretty tall guys with us, so I wasn’t afraid. All and all it was a good night.
The next day we moved to another place that was cheaper and had more character. We went to the beach with Sean and Mike and then they left for Arequipa later in the afternoon. Bryan and I stayed one more day and enjoyed relaxing in our room. Actually, I relaxed in our room and Bryan played video games at the internet cafe. He was pretty happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures in Mollendo because we were at the beach so much and our little camera was stolen out of our backpack while it was in the luggage compartment on a bus. It also just occured to me that we didn’t take any pictures with Sean and Mike. Sad. I guess we’ll just have to hang out with them again sometime in the future.
Alas, it was time to move on to the next spot. Arequipa and Colca Canyon, here we come!
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