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 sheafΒ 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.

More tomorrow if you don’t mind.

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10 Comments on “If no man could become rich in Peru, no man could become poor.””

  1. peterrocker Says:

    Just love it Kat.
    Your description & feel are just wonderfull

  2. olof1 Says:

    I’ve been waiting for rain all day and the worst we’ve gotten so far was almost a drizzle πŸ™‚ To bad about the movie, do You get another chance or will You travel before You get the chance?

    I wonder if it is just as much trouble getting in to Peru now days? I’ve always wondered why there’s a limit on how much money one is allowed to bring in to the country, perhaps it’s because money laundry? (I hope You say the same about us making illegal money sort of legal πŸ™‚ ) But it was a smart thing to write down that You had a little to much money πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    No I don’t mind πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      I can show the movie any night as they come from my collection. The weather just needs to cooperate.

      I think if I had arrived in Lima by plane even back then the entry would have been far easier. We were backpacking and crossing at land border stations so I suppose we were a bit more suspect then air travelers.

      My time in Ghana had given me strange skills to deal with money and bus tickets and borders, and I found those skills so every useful in South America.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Travel may broaden the mind but it also sharpens the wit. πŸ™‚
    Good stories these last few days.

    It’s sunny and warm up here with a light breeze but I can feel the humidity starting to climb. I should go grocery shopping as there is nothing in the house to eat that is not somewhat tired now since I haven’t done any shopping in a couple of weeks. It can wait a day. The dog has food. πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Thanks about the last few days postings!

      It ended up with the same weather here, a nice day all and all. My larder is just as empty, but I have a few prescriptions to pick up tomorrow so I figured I’d wait and do grocery, CVS and dump in the same day. Gracie too has food; the cats have wet but not dry.

  4. Bob Says:

    It’s almost noon and the temperature is 95 degrees on its way to 107. Rain, what’s that?

    I am always amazed by the border protection people in the passport control halls in different countries. What are they really looking for? The worst place that to get into is Toronto Pearson International Airport. When I go to Canada on business I have to carry a letter from my employer explaining that I have enough money to support myself and I will be leaving their country. I always get the third degree from their border protection agents. One of our employees was held on a Saturday for several hours until our HR person in the US faxed a copy of the letter to Toronto. I work for a company which is based in Montreal, Canada.

    The terrible economic depression left over from the Bush years was not as bad in Canada because they didn’t do away with the banking regulations. The Canadians are afraid that we will be storming the northern US border to take away Canadian jobs. πŸ™‚ If I would just check off the box on the form that I am a tourist instead of the business box I would sail right through.

    US customs and border control are located in all of the Canadian airports. This way you are cleared into the US before you even board your airplane. Before the recent economic crises the US border and customs departments were going to locate a pre-clearance hall at the airport in Dublin Ireland. I don’t think it’s happened yet.

    My coworker was given the third degree in the UK because his passport looked worn. It was about a year from expiring and he had many stamps from many trips. The woman said it didn’t look neat. Only the Brits would care about neatness. I guess terrorists carry dirty worn bent up passports.

    In Chile US citizens must purchase a visa in the border control hall for $175 before entering the country. They take all major credit cards and the visa is good for the life of your passport.

    My favorite part of coming back into the US is when the agent tells me “Welcome Home”.

    • Kat Says:

      I don’t ever want to live where it is so very hot all summer. In Ghana it was almost that hot and it was dry for several months, but i could abide as I knew it would’t last forever.

      When I left Ghana last summer, my visa had lapsed but I didn’t figure anyone would notice. No one did. I haven’t ever had trouble because I was a tourist going into Canada.

      I know that those US border guards in Canada, during the Bush administration, watched all the tourists coming off the planes from Cuba. If any went to an American carrier, they were stopped. I found that out when I was researching the best way to get to Cuba.

      My Peace Corps passport had extra pages attached which looked like an accordion. They were filled with all the visas I had to get and the reentry permits into Ghana. I would not have passed the neatness test.

      I purchased my visa into Morocco at the airport in Marrakech.

  5. Birgit Says:

    As you can guess, I don’t mind more tomorrow πŸ™‚
    Reading (+internet photos) is like a short trip to a foreign world without leaving home. Perfect for a rainy summer.

    Some nice Guayaquil 2011 photos:

    (yesterday) Photos Devil’s Nose Railway (2008):

    Is that the “auto-bus” you mentioned?

    • Kat Says:

      I am happy to oblige!!

      I remember the church in Guayaquil but not much else. We weren’t there long enough.

      Those pictures are exactly what I remember of Devil’s Nose. The rail track was scary but wonderfully exciting, especially the switchback. I also remember Riobamba.

      That is exactly the auto-bus!

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