Thursday the 29th of May 2003 – Day 100 to Friday the 30th of May 2003 – Day 101

Thursday the 29th of May 2003 – Day 100

Got up at 9.30am. The newspapers were talking about the emergency powers declared the day before. Different atmosphere today. Soldiers with automatic rifles blocked off all the civic centres like the Cathedral Plaza and “Civic Municipal”. No police with just CS gas now. They meant business. News just in.

From the Associated Press this Thursday morning.

“LIMA, Peru – Peruvian soldiers and police reopened the Pan American Highway after violent clashes with protesting farmers who had blocked the key 1,500-mile stretch of road with rocks and burning tires, officials said.

Thousands of travelers have been stranded since Monday as farmers sought to stop farm produce from getting to Lima and other cities to force the government to reduce taxes on some crops and protect local farmers from imports.

On Wednesday, government forces clashed with the demonstrators who had blocked 64 sections of the highway that links the north and south of Peru. In the most violent incident, soldiers and police fired tear gas and then bullets at protesters blocking the highway outside Barranca, 100 miles northwest of Lima. The crowd resisted and hurled rocks before scattering as troops advanced.

By nightfall, security forces had reopened the highway, Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola said.

Health Minister Alberto Sanabria said 95 demonstrators had been detained throughout Peru and 16 policemen were hurt in the clashes. There were no figures available on injuries among protesters. “

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Huancayo – Peru – This cheeky chappie posed for me in front of the Cathdral. They had this area cordoned off. Emergency powers were called in yesterday. (29-05-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – The Military have replaced the Police on the streets. (29-05-2003)

I don’t think much of this town. Its ugly and grotty and I have nothing to recommend it. Time to go. I see Lonely Planet really oversell this place. The four main companies under Entertainment, Accommodation, Activities and food are all owned by the same person. Anyway, my accommodation was good. I didn’t see another tourist or member or staff the whole time I was there. The cost was 20 Soles for a night´s peace and quiet. I recoomend it. Its called “La Casa de la Abuela” and its on Giraldez 691. You given a guy and thats it. You can help yourself to cold beer at the empthy bar and throw the money into a jar. Might stay there again if I am going to call back for the towns famous Sunday Market (biggest in Peru).

Also a famous service from here to Lima has resrted (the highest in the world). More details can be found at this site. The line is no longer operated by Peru Rail but a private company as a tourist attraction.

I went to the “Tourismo Centrale” bus terminal on Ayacucho 274 at 11.00am. I found that a bus was leaving for Pucallpa in the Amazon Basin at 1.00pm. The cost was 40 Soles. I bought a ticket (one of the few remaining). I went back and packed and got ready for my 20 hour plus journey.

Friday the 30th of May 2003 – Day 101

I see a protester was killed last night. From the Associated Press.

“Soldiers clashed with protesters Thursday, killing one and injuring 36, as Peruvians in several cities defied a two-day-old state of emergency called by President Alejandro Toledo.

Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola said the troops opened fire after a group of about 2,000 protesting university students surrounded their nine-man patrol near the city of Puno, 530 miles southeast of Lima.

One student died of gunshot wounds, Loret de Mola said. Thirty-six other protesters and 13 soldiers and police were wounded during clashes in Puno, he said.

The defense minister claimed that common criminals and remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group were among the protesters. The university students organized their protest in support of public school teachers, who went on strike on May 12, police said. “

Anyway, I got the bus at 1.00pm. It didn’t actually leave until 1.30pm because so much produce was been added to the bus. Nearly all the seats were taken and again there was a disproportional amount of babies present. One beside me with her mother (quiet, retrospective child), one behind with the mother (hyperactive, always crying), and beside me on the other side: Couple with Diva, attention seeking child.

Anyway, it was not a pleasant journey. There is no air conditioning and no wants their window open. Result was a stuffy, smelly, hot bus for 20 hours. We had one main stop at 8.30 at a petrol station to get dinner. Had a nice 1/4 of a chicken and chips for 6 Soles. People grabbed toilet stops when they could. The bus was an ordinary single Decker with no foot room for a gringo any bigger than 5 foot. The babies were crying all the way and the bus was getting smellier. People threw their rubbish on the floor of the bus.

No sleep got and was happy to see daylight. The weather was getting very hot but the jungle scenery was nice. Arrived in Pucallpa at 10.30am. Took a taxi (rickshaw taxis are 1 sole to anywhee within town) to my chosen hostel with is just 13 Soles for a single room with fan. (Hostel Residencial Barbtur, Raimondi 670).

Pucallpa is a fast growing town in the lowland jungle and is the capital of the department of Ucayali. After Iquitos, Pucallpa is the second important jungle town in Peru with a population of about 200,000. After Iquitos, which lies totally isolated in the Peruvian selva,Pucallpa can be reached directly by road from Lima although it is a tripthat can last several days by car or bus. The closest nearby town is Tingo María at 250 km. Pucallpalies on the shores of the Ucayali river, together with the Marañon the main source river of the Amazon.It is a modern town, without colonial buildings. It is a good starting point for making river trips along the Ucayali or Amazon, or for jungle excursions. Nearby is the beautiful lake Laguna Yarinacocha. But is so damn humid here. 74& humidity and 30 oc heat. Check out the cities weather here.

I walked around town and spent 5 hours on the NET to go back on he archives to (1) break the posts up to smaller pieces so as to make it more understandable to archive (2) Allow visitors to double click any picture to see it its original size. This allows more clarify.

I also had a chance to eat dinner and walk about although the moto rickshaws are so cheap its not worth walking in this humid heat. I thought I had stepped back to Cambodia with the noise, heat, rickshaws and general appearance of the place and people. Very different from the Peru I thought I knew.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Portrait taken in Huancayo – Peru – on the 28th. I have about ten of these portraits at home collected from different destinations like Prague, Thailand etc. I will post them for a vote soon. (30-05-2003)

I will visit the lake tomorrow. On Sunday i fly to Iquitos. I bought a ticket from the TANS office (Street Arica 500) today for 65 US dollars. Its gone up. Its either fly or take a 2.5 day boat journey and I do not fany mosquito bites.

YarinacochaThe attractive oxbow lake of Yarinacocha lies 10km (6mi) northeast of Pucallpa in the Amazonian Basin. It was once part of the Río Ucayali but is now landlocked, apart from a small canal linking it to the river during the rainy season. The small port of Puerto Callao is the main population center on the lake and has a few places to stay, several bars and restaurants and boats for hire for trips around the lake. You can visit Shipbo Indian villages, buy handicrafts, go canoeing and watch for wildlife in and around the lake – keep your eye open for freshwater dolphins.”

I the meanwhile, Im going out to see if I can find a good bar …………. BTW, they are no tourists in this town. Havent seen a white face all day …