Last week everyone was talking about their plans for the Peruvian Independence Day. So we decided to join in the fun and take a road trip. We went to Ica and visited Chincha, El Carmen, Huacachina, and the City of Ica.
Day 1: Chincha and El Carmen
We took the Metropolitano to the Peru Bus station and there was a bus ready to go. The buses leave there every 15 -20 mins so you don’t need to purchase a ticket in advance. Along the way we passed the huge sand dunes, farms, small houses that were basically boxes, and then the beach popped out of nowhere. Using our trusty Lonely Planet “The Book” guide we stayed at the suggested Hostal La Posado. Which was perfect for one inexpensive night. It was comfortable and clean- no fireworks. It was however double the price due to the holiday weekend.
Chincha and El Carmen are where the majority of black people live in Peru together (there are more in Lima but they are dispersed)- they are the descendents of the African slaves that were brought to Peru. Chincha is like your typical busy Peruvian city but with more black/mixed people and with black manikin in the stores =). I wouldn’t necessarily say at first sight that this is a predominantly Afro Peruvian community; however it may be – there might just be more of a mix here. We walked around town and ended up on the street that has anything and everything for sale, from peanuts, to sunglasses, to shoes, and jackets. Of course I had to stop because the sun was out and got some sunglasses then I stopped and tried some boiled peanuts. This street lead to the market that had all different types of food.
That evening we took a micro combi to El Carmen. El Carmen is a predominately black town near Chincha, we went there for a pena (a place where they play criola – afro-peruvian musica). As Matthew said were “in a random city, on a random road, in a random combi” lol.. That’s what it felt like. Unfortunately we got to El Carmen to late in the afternoon to see anything and to early in the evening for the Penas. When we got to the square there were kids playing and a few adults out and people sitting outside of the local stores that sale beer. So Matthew grabbed a beer from one of the stores and we grabbed some food at what looked to be the only restaurant at the plaza. It was great. I had Tacu Tacu with chicken and Matthew got what the owner told him they had. Which ended up being fried chicken and french fries lol. After dinner we hopped back on another random combi, in a random city, on a random road. Except this time the crobador (see previous post about the Combi Diablo) was this kid that had to be no more that 12. He had to be all hard-core to prove himself. It was quite comical but sad at the same time. The driver (probably his father) got mad at the kid for kicking some teens off who didn’t have enough money. But he was laughing about it. This is a situation where I normally would not accept the ride because it supports child labor. However we didn’t know when the next combi would come and there were not any taxis in site.
We got back to our hostel and asked the owners about where to go. They suggested Scorpions and gave us the flyer. That night they were even having a pena because of the holiday! In the club they play latin music and African Peruvian music. It was amazing seeing black and white latinas dancing like the way I learned when I was a little girl in African dance class.
Click here to see more pictures: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150245270882927.324092.599187926&l=08ea0dfc65&type=1
We got up and had lunch at a local cevicheria – Matthew had talarin saltado (Chifa version of Chicken Lo Mein). Walked around the city a little more and then took a bus heading to Ica.
To be continued……..