Holy smokes! After a cocktail of Pisco Sour, and now three glasses of wine, I'm calm enough to relate our experiences for the day!
Actually, most of the day was unremarkable but our arrival in Chiclayo was interesting, to say the least.
We left Lima this morning at 6:00 hoping to get through town before the traffic got crazy. Being a city of 10 million people or more, it still took us an hour to get out of Lima. Once on the Pan American highway north, things went quite smoothly. For the most part, there were no problems navigating through towns along the way. We learned that things were not very well marked; and following the majority of the traffic didn't necessarily keep us on the Pan-Am!
We were stopped once by the national police. He checked our paperwork, and asked our destination. Once we told him we were going to Chiclayo; he sent us on our way. He made sure to tell us arriving in Chiclayo, or other cities along the highway, later at night would be dangerous and to take care. He didn't check our passports or driver's licenses.
We had already been warned Chiclayo was a dangerous place to be after dark. Being a port town apparantly offers some unique challenges. A transient population added to a population with a very high unemployment rate is not a good combination. We planned on staying at the Inti Hotel as they had secure parking facilities; the problem was, we had an address, but no idea where it was in town. We even located it on line before arriving in town; but the roads were so poorly (or not) marked, we were soon downtown in traffic with little idea of what to do!
In order to get this picture, you have to remember that driving in Peru is crazy! A four lanes accomodates six or seven vehicles across. Stop signs are ignored; traffic lights are only for decoration. Merging traffic happens with fraction of inches lee-way and the most aggressive wins. So, I'm looking at the map on the computer in the car and Doug is trying to navigate the streets. We finally find the hotel; I hop out and run in to find out where there parking is. The receptionist tells me to back up a half block to enter the parking lot! Right...no way. (she must be living on another planet!) All in all, we make it into the parking lot, into the hotel, and into our room. Whew!
So now, after four glasses of wine, I'm feeling good and looking forward to an evening of TV, hot water and sleep.