Monday, March 24, 2008


Got sick the second day in Mancora. Hard to pinpoint the cause...but generally I would say the cause was Peru. I was moderately sick with a stomachache and the attendant digestional/excretory issues last time I entered Peru, and this time was similar except I had it coming out of both ends instead of one. But after a couple of days I felt fairly decent and now nearly a week later I´m 100%. Of the 7 countries I´ve visited in South America Peru is the only one to give me problems.

Mancora is very much known for surfing and I can surf a little bit now after learning in Ecuador 6 months ago. But given that it was Holy Week (big vacation time for people down here) the water was pretty crowded with surfers. Since I don´t have much control I just kind of paddled around out there rather than get in others´ way trying to catch a wave. Good practice anyway though...helped me get the feel a bit, which is good because I´m planning on doing some surfing in Central America in the next few weeks. Sun feels hotter and my skin certainly seems to burn a bit easier this close to the equator.

As for the town´s pretty undeveloped. Apparently, it used to belong to the Ecuadorians not too long ago but was ceded to Peru after a conflict. That last such conflict only ended in ´95. The strong take from the weak and on down the chain....Chile - Peru-Ecuador. At any rate, I would have thought more modern-style hotels and infrastructure would exist for what seems to be such a well-known vacation spot. You find yourself looking at the sandy beach with the fairly warm water and nice waves and good weather and wondering why there is not more development. I went for a run on the beach toward the north and was stopped by a police officer warning me not to go any further because robberies occur up further. I did it anyway as it was the middle of the day and I simply could not conceive of being robbed on a beach in the middle of the day...but anyway, what surprised me was that it was completely devoid of development of any kind. But given the lack of infrastucture (the highway is the only paved road and it is not exactly high speed, electricity can be spotty and the water...) dodgy land titles (I´m betting you wouldn´t want to just buy a piece of land and let it sit without watching it or building on it, i.e. guarding it), difficulties in arriving from the north (see my entry on crossing the border) and distance from the major population center in the south (see next entry), as well as all the other macro issues involving the Peruvian economy in general, I suppose it´s not surprising that investment really hasn´t taken off yet.

Did not see many North Americans or Europeans about...mostly just Peruvians and Ecuadorians. I tend to want to, well I would not say that I want to avoid my own kind these days...but I enjoy not seeing other Westerners...not sure why....

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