I trawled the local handicraft market, where the old women drive hard sales and ended up getting roped into to buying an Alpaca wool poncho (complete with hood) "Señor it looks so good on you!" and I was putty in their hands.
After some fragmented communication with Paul and Alejandra his PhD student in Ecuador, we formulated our plan to get to Cuenca with the help of Wilson the ex tour guide. Despite Google maps' insistence that it's a mere 12 hour drive, there seems to be no easy way of getting there without renting a car and going it alone.
We walked to a bus station and booked tickets to Trujillo, a town on the west coast and roughly the direction we need to head. The woman there was a massive bitch, and aside from being unhelpful was quite clearly making fun of our (admittedly pitiful) attempts at Spanish. Unfortunately our options for getting there were somewhat limited so we handed over the S50 and picked up some snacks for the journey.
The plan is as follows Huaraz - Trujillo, where I intend to spend a couple of days on the beach in my budgie smugglers soaking up some well earned rays and frollicking in the sea level oxygen again.
Trujillo - Chiclayo probably via bus
Chiclayo - Tumbes hopefully via bus as it's a 9 hour or so journey
At Tumbes we walk across the border and hopefully don't get questioned by the Ecuadorean border force as to why we have 15 unlabelled packets of Puya raymondii seeds and a tub of white powder (TTC). I am NOT using my brown suitcase.
On the other side we'll find a way to Cuenca...
It's the final day; we went to a fish place for lunch with Yanet which was actually pretty fun considering we couldn't understand eachother. Later I wandered into town and managed to get lost in a huge market that I hadn't found before. It's one of those proper gristly ones, with skinned chickens dangling in your face every where you look, amongst great slabs of raw meat, opposite dumpy old women sewing away at machines. The gap between the aisles was about 2 feet and being a head taller than the average Peruvian meant I was constantly knocking into things and apologising to them. After half an hour or so of browsing in awe I burst out onto another main road which itself was lined with vendors of all sorts and tried to establish my whereabouts. I got sidetracked watching a man stuff a sack with live chickens, and then another with squeaking guinea pigs and felt a pang of sympathy before nearly getting mowed down by a tuk tuk. Back in the office, and we've just got time for one more cup of that addictive Peruvian coffee, before we treat Oscar and Yanet to more of that delicious anticucho and intestines and then begin our mission to cross the border!