Although it is nice to be able to sleep in, I was awake as usual by 5 am. It was nice though, lying tucked up in bed listening to the surf, and knowing there was no desert or head wind to battle today.
We are used to eating breakfast at 6:00am, I thought the white board had said breakfast from 7:00am. But shock! horror! – when I got to the restaurant at 7am, it was shut up! I checked the whiteboard and it said 8:30am! One of the other riders had already checked the town a kilometre away and that was also all closed. So I sorted out some gear and went for a short walk along the beach. The hotel staff must have got sick of having a bunch of riders either prowling around or standing with their noses pressed against the restaurant window as they opened up early at 8 am.
Breakfast was ok, rolls and a small plate of scrambled eggs. The tea so far has not been drinkable in Peru as it has some sort of spice added to it. The other choice was instant coffee in warm milk or buying a plunger of coffee. Usually this would have been a simple choice but I only have $10 soles as I assumed wrongly where we were staying for the rest day would have a cash flow machine (also wrongly assumed there would be Wifi and power in the room). Luckily Jackie got a pot for us both.
Sadly Jackie is leaving in a couple of days, the day before we get to Lima. I will really miss her. After breakfast Jackie gave me the first option on stuff she was going to give away. I now have another sleeping bag inner which will help when it gets cold, a travel pillow, some more medications, and small bag for rest days.
There are no laundry options here, other than wash your stuff in the shower and them hang out to dry (there are no clothes lines, but I have a line and pegs). Luckily it has been only 3 riding days since the last rest day, and only 3 to the next rest day, so I just washed my bike riding stuff and strung out my line on the balcony.
Next I went for a walk along the beach to check out the town. I got some great photos of birds, including some pelicans.
Birds in La Gramita
Guano covered rocks with Pelicans
Editors note: I’m not sure this counts as a “Great photo of birds” . . . See below for a better example
A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)
Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)
The town is very small, there about 40 houses, a general shop, four restaurants and a small church.
View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel
Another view of the town in La Gramita
The industry here is fishing. A number of boats are pulled up on the sand, as there is no wharf. A few boats come in and out. The fishermen row the boats in until they are close to shore, then they haul them up onto the beach. The birds all hover around expectantly, and the dogs lurk around when any new boat comes in.
Fishing boats in La Gramita
Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramita
Fishing boats on their way into shore (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)
Fresh fish for lunch arriving (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)
As Jackie is leaving in a few days, this is the last rest day she will be around for so we checked out the restaurant options for dinner. One place looks a better option than the others (one of them we discounted as an option as the lady told us there is no menu), and Jackie who speaks a bit of Spanish checked that the one we were interested in is open tonight, which they say they are.
As predicted there are no cash flow machines in town, and none of the restaurants take credit cards or American dollars – the ‘restaurants’ consist of a few plastic chairs and tables, on cracked concrete floors. Thankfully one of the other riders Rolf has offered to lend me money so I will be able to eat tonight 😀
While we were walking around the town we went past one shack, and 5 gorgeous little puppies, about 4-5 weeks old, came running out. They were delighted to see us and wanted to come with us. They looked quite well cared for, but they must have been bored as their mum was out an about – probably at the shore watching the incoming boats with hopeful interest. We ended up having to lure them back to the shack, push them inside, and run flat out to the corner and hide until they lost interest to get away from them.
Local residents just chilling in La Gramita
Could this be a cousin of BenBen’s? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too
Before leaving the hotel I had put on swimming shorts and a top, and on the way back we stopped for a swim. The water was cold to get into, but once you were in it was ok. The waves were quite strong, and a couple of times I got spun around and around by them. However, as I do not know this beach I made sure I did not go out past where the water was over my head.
After we got back to the hotel Jackie found out that the owner was happy to change American dollars at a reasonable exchange rate. Yay I have money again! In Pacasmayo when I used the cash machine I did not notice the bit where I had to opt out of getting American dollars and pick soles, so I had a reasonable amount of American money.
I spent a bit of time with the usual repacking. I am going to trial only having one pannier, and having it behind my seat instead of two panniers one on each side. With the headwind we are having, and expect to have for weeks, anything that cuts down the wind resistance will be a bonus. However to do this I have to decide what is in and what is out, as currently both panniers are full. This takes quite a while, but eventually I get everything into one pannier.
The next problem I have is to fit the stuff that did not make the cut into the one pannier into one of my two bags. My permanent bag has lots of room but, I can only access it on rest days. My daily bag is so full it is a 5 minute struggle everyday to close it!
After this we set off into town for dinner. We got to the restaurant that had confirmed it was open till 8pm and it was just closing! Two of the other restaurants were also closing or closed. We couldn’t go back to our hotel for dinner as we had to notify them if we were eating there at lunchtime.
The lady who had the restaurant that had no menu was standing at her doorway smiling at us, making “come in” gestures, so in we went. There was still no menu so we confirmed we were happy to have what she was serving – the only other option being having nothing to eat.
It turned out to be one of the best fish meals we have had. The fish was really fresh and even the rice had a nice flavour. Also she must have missed out on the price fixing memo that the rest of the town and restaurants have been following, as it is less than half the price of the other places, and the beer instead of being $10, soles is $2. Also she was delighted to have us.
The whole time we were eating, a local dog was sitting to one side unobtrusively, watching hopefully. At the end of the meal I went to give him a piece of fish. As my hand went out from under the table a previously unnoticed cat reached up and gently but firmly removed the fish from my hand. This was watched with a resigned look by the dog. I did manage to break off another piece and throw it to him clear enough from the cat. We left a reasonable tip and happily headed off.
Walking back along the beach we were so pleased we had bought our headlights as there were crabs galore scuttling around everywhere. We had to walk carefully so as not to step on them. A few rear up and challenged us but mostly they quickly scurried away.
Crabs on the rocks at La Gramita