Behind the beautiful scenes of our adventures, it’s not always pretty. Vastly different from the well-preserved Chachapoya ruins or the Spanish Colonial city centres, poverty is evident as we tour Peru. Nowhere was this more apparent than when we arrived in Barranca!
“Barranca, Barranca.” came a resounding voice from the speakers.
We looked at each other somewhat confused and agreed, “I guess we’re here!”
We climbed down from the second level of the bus and out, the luggage handler was already pulling our packs out from the cargo hold. Before we could question the situation, we watched as our transportation pulled away.
Puzzled and standing by the side of the highway with our backpacks tossed across the dirt, we looked around and wondered how come, unlike all the other times, we didn’t get dropped off at some semblance of a station.No time for answers. The sun was going down, and we still didn’t have a place to stay so we hurriedly put our packs on and started walking towards what we assumed to be the city centre.
On either side, walls upon walls of mud brick homes lined the dusty streets, garbage and plastic littered here and there. It was eerily quiet.
“Ok, this is surreal, I feel like we’re on the set the Walking Dead” Andy comments.A local, carrying a wooden carpentry box slowed down as he passed us on his bike. He offered guidance and pointed us towards El Centro.
As we got deeper into town, two women sitting on the step to a home nodded and giggled as we walked past. Dogs roamed the streets. A kitten started to follow and stayed with us for about eight blocks even as we accidentally kicked the little beast as it got tangled in our feet.
Finally, we reached a busier section of town where we flagged a mototaxi. The driver was kind enough to drive us around until we secured a place to spend the night.
Here is the morning view from our room, not un unusual sight to see garbage beside a ‘nicer’ property.Throughout Peru, you only need to walk a few block beyond the central plaza, or a side street leading to the waterfront to see that a different reality exists.
Rebar is everywhere, sticking out from unfinished buildings in various stages of construction. Apparently, there is no property tax to pay until construction is complete which explains the multitude of unfinished projects.
Adobe homes are surrounded by tall brick walls, some topped with broken bottles set in cement and corrugated metal roofs are held down with stones, bricks or rubber tires. Broken windows are covered in cardboard, wires are dangling everywhere, but colourful laundry hangs out to dry on the unfinished second stories, clearly showing that families live in these conditions. In other instances, the living conditions are even more basic.Here and there are dilapidated or abandoned buildings with peeling paint and plasterIn the afternoon, we took a walk down towards the beach. More dogs everywhere, some are strays while others guard their homes.We followed the shoreline towards the statue of Cristo Redentor that we could see in the distance.On the way back, Ginette walked through some beached fishing boats and as she stopped to take photos, three dogs advanced barking.We’ll leave you here in suspense, for what happens next come back for part two.