Sometimes a short journey is the best salve against both homesickness and the rigors of living abroad. This is the first post in a series about refreshing Peru travel.
Taking a break from the routine, I took my colleagues’ suggestion to visit Chachapoyas, Peru. Chachapoyas serves as a base for exploring myriad recently discovered ancient ruins. They even claimed to prefer it over Machu Picchu. That appealed to me, the contrarian traveler who eschews most touristy stuff. I wasn’t disappointed.
I boarded a Movil Tours bus from the Sechura Desert that surrounds my current residence in Piura, across the Andean continental divide, and to the hamlet of Chachapoyas. The capital city of the Amazonas department, the town of Chachapoyas takes its name from the ancient tribal culture who lived there. It’s an Inca word that translates as “people of the clouds”.
Exhaustion clogged my movements and thoughts after the 14-hour journey. Upon arrival I hobbled down the cramped stairwell. My eyes peeled opened enough to see the sunrise smiling golden rays over verdant Andean mountain scenery. The tepid air refreshed my skin and perked me up enough to start thinking in Spanish again.
The local dialect instantly forced me to bear down on my listening skills. I’d become accustomed to the clear, articulate Spanish of northern Peru. Here, though, the words slid and curved– even seemed to slant in different directions. It was tantamount to the difference between Chicago and Macon, Georgia. A few awkward adjustments later I checked into the Hotel El Dorado after booking trips with the young man who checked me in. Exploration into the local historical culture, art, and architecture would wait a few hours; it was time to make up for sleep as one only gets when traveling: Hard and dreamless.