We spent the night in a dusty little border town that was too noisy for its size and had more than its share of mosquitoes. After sunset it cooled down to nearly tolerable temperatures and we found a hotel where at least the walls weren't crawling with roaches (not an easy thing). The rumble of trucks woke us early and we headed to immigration which opened an hour later than it was supposed to, and after they stamped our passports, we hopped in a cab the last mile or so to the border.
The border was the usual chaotic scene of money exchangers, vendors, and souvenirs. When the cab stopped, we were ambushed by the money changers who demanded that we change pronto. Since we had already heard that you can't exchange Ecuadorian sucres for Peruvian sols, we didn't have much choice.
Monica had brought her own calculator, and we realized at once that they were trying to cheat us because the man Kavitha was talking to kept getting different numbers than Monica! We immediately dismissed the first one, muttering ladron (thief) under or breaths. The next man we talked to did seem to have a working calculator, but just getting the exchange rate right was confusing. He just seemed too eager to sell us money, so we had to sit down and really figure out exactly how much we should get. But how much should we get? Ten thousand sucres are worth about a dollar and one dollar is worth about three sols, so we should get a little more than three sols for every 10,000 sucres. It seemed simple enough, but by the time we figured out how much we all had, negotiated a reasonable rate, and counted all the money he gave us, I was so confused that I was just happy to have a pocketful of Peruvian money and be on my way to the border.
Crossing the border was uneventful, we spent the last of our sucres on a pineapple and took another cab to Peruvian immigration where we were finally welcomed to Peru with a new stamp in our passports, the tenth country we had visited on the Trek so far! When the cab dropped us off at the bus station, we tried to pay him and were shocked when he would not accept our money.
Monica tried the ceviche, which is the national dish. It is made of raw shrimp and lemon juice and is served like a cold soup. Just the thought of raw shrimp made my stomach queasy, but Monica enjoyed it so much that the woman who had prepared it gave it to her for free. There wasn't much to see in Tumbes but we still had a great time riding around being tourists, and delighted to actually be in Peru.
The Team - The Conquistadors: They Came, They Conquered, and Left Their Mark
Kavitha - It's a Small World After All!
Monica - If Decapitated Heads Could Talk!!
Making a Difference - Constant Threat at Big Mountain
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