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Yep, chilled sums it up

We have both totally chilled. We got caught out by the combination of sun and wind yesterday and have a few tender patches so we have opted for a day in the shade of our balcony. In a few days we will have left Perú and will be in Ecuador but other than that we have no plans of what we will do or where we want to go. The only thing I know is that the central valley is above 2,500m so if we go there I want to be prepared in advance so that I do not get altitude sickness again (or at least do not suffer from the effects of it).

I spent the morning reading the Ecuador book. Stef spent it snoozing in the hammock! By lunchtime we had a broad plan but we still need to look into the options for jungle lodges and trips to the Galapagos. Neither of these options are cheap so it looks set to be an expensive couple of weeks.

At reception we asked for information about buses to Ecuador. We know there is an international "tourist style" bus but we do not know the times. The lady at reception asked if we had much luggage. We said "no" but probably our big packs are a "yes". Her advice is to take a combi (usually a little bus) to the border town of Aguas Verdes, a colectivo (a mini van) across the border and then a short walk to the bus station on the Ecuadorian side. Here we should be able to get a bus to Loja or Zamora. Lonely Planet only seems to send people to Machala for an overnight stop but we do not want to go there.

Exhausted by the effort of reading, eating lunch, watching the world go by we had a little siesta and in the late afternoon headed out for a walk along the beach. There are still some empty plots of land ripe for development. Most of the strip though is small hotels and a few private beach houses, all with al alquiler, (for rent) signs outside.

It is not a bad spot to have a beach house. The beach itself is not wide but it is wide enough. There are rocks just by the waterline and the tide seems to have a strong undercurrent. What we thought yesterday were baby crabs buried in the sand are not, they seem to be small shells. I dug one up on my sunglasses to have a look. The shells are still soft and pliable, almost translucent, and there is definitely something alive inside that crawls about slightly when not covered by sand or water. Our Spanish will not be up to trying to find out what they are, not because we could not ask the questions, more that we would not have the vocabulary to understand the answers.

Just another perfect Pacific sunset

There seems to be a bit of an international flavour here and we had a brief taste of home passing one place with a St Andrew's flag flying ("two pints of heavy please" was our reaction). A Swedish contingent are also in town. We did not make it round the point to Máncora village as the light was fading and the tide has cut off the beach path. We will probably go there tomorrow.

Back at our hotel we sat on the beach to watch the sunset. Its slightly hazy today and the sun is much more of an orange colour. As I watched I saw a spray of water in the distance but could not work out what it was. It happened again but this time was followed by the graceful curve and flippers of a whale diving back into the sea. "It's a whale, it's a whale" I shouted to Stef, very excited. We saw whales years ago off the coast of California and hope to see then in Canada in a few weeks time but I had not expected to see them here. I was like a kid with a new toy watching it and waiting for it to appear again. I am not a great nature lover and do not normally go out of my way to see wildlife in their natural habitat but seeing things like this gives me a real kick.

As with yesterday, we had a quick dip in the pool and then headed up for showers. I desperately needed to catch up with my diary on the web as its a week since I've updated our Perú pages but I simply could not bring myself to do it today. We are so chilled that we are staying for another day rather than moving on tomorrow so perhaps I will catch up tomorrow night!!

Rafting out to sea
An egret with its lunch

Today is another beautiful, hazy, sunny day just right for lazing about and doing not a lot. We walked along the beach in the other direction away from Máncora. Here there are not so many houses and hotels so there are more open spaces along the bay. The beach is also wider here. In the sand there are patches with hundreds of the little shells buried beneath the surface. As the waves wash out they are uncovered and you can feel them underfoot - not a very nice sensation! I got accused of being a big girlie "for someone who is so independent and stubborn" (me stubborn - surely not!!) because I did not want to walk on them. Neither did Stef really, he juts wouldn't admit it.

A little way up there were a few more rocks and we went crab spotting. Comparatively, the crabs here were quite big, but they are not really. They are a very dark green/grey colour, almost black, camouflage against the rocks they live on. We found a few shells on the sane, no pearls in the oysters, and saw a small fish darting about quickly in the shallow water. Other than that it was just sand, sea and a few people stretching as far as you could see. For the most part we walked in the ocean - lovely warm water.

Its difficult to judge how far we walked. Even though the ground was flat the combination of sand and the undercurrent from the tide meant that it was not easy going (but not exactly difficult either). It was just lovely to while away a few hours with no fixed plans of where to go or what to see. We had a lunchtime swim then headed to our balcony to sit out the midday heat. In the afternoon we just relaxed, played cards, caught up on diaries and generally let time go by until it was time for bed - stunning!!

The culprit: ceviche, raw fish in lemon juice

We were meant to be moving on today but ........ it is so relaxing here we have decided to stay for just one more day. I think Stef is quietly pleased - he is suffering from a bit of an overdose of chilli and garlic from yesterday.

At breakfast I saw the three American girls down cutlery in mid flow and go, cameras in hand, to the window. Swimming along the bay was a group of dolphins. There must have been ten or twelve of them and they were quite close to the shore. No one was in the sea at the time but I wonder if the dolphins would have come to say hello if they were.

Stef crashed for a while after breakfast and I set up camp by the pool. It is quite hazy but the sun still feels strong. We both got burned feet walking through the water yesterday and I had to cover mine up. On the beach there are the ever present ladies selling hats, necklaces etc. What I had not realised is that they are actually sat here making them whilst waiting for someone to buy. One of them seems to be making a lurid pink bikini for one of the sunbathers on the beach.

At lunchtime I went to find Stef. He was still in bed and not at all himself. He got up for lunch but did not eat and then went back to bed. I had another lazy afternoon in the sun - bliss.

Evening came and went - another idyllic day in Máncora.