Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Four)

Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Four)

It’s Saturday and my last day in Zorritos - tomorrow I’m heading to Máncora for the night to finally have my date with steak. My TEFL Zorritos course has taken up most of my time and mental space this month, so for those who wait with bated breath to hear about a Latin lover in the mix will be sadly disappointed. Cramming 120 hours of study, including 10 hours of real teaching experience in one month has been an intense, mentally demanding task - yet now that we’ve all come through the other side, I say it’s been worth it.

Four of us have taken placements in various parts of Peru - Oliver heads to Chachapoyas at the edge of the Amazon, Jess and Amelia (who met and formed a great friendship during the course) will continue their adventure together in Arequipa. Today Kassie is heading home to the US as she is planning to teach online, and on Monday I will soon be making my way south to my placement in Huaraz. Before then, I hope to check out the archeological sites in Trujillo for a few days, a city which is about halfway between Zorritos and Huaraz.



Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Three)

Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Three)

The hotel pool is peaceful at this time of the morning - there’s panpipe music in the background, and apart from the staff and I, it feels like the world is still asleep. A double-decker bus just pulled in, I guess they’re having breakfast here. Sometimes they stay a few nights, sometimes we hear the music and laughter from our rooms and by the time I come out, it’s quiet again.

I just heard the word “promociones”, which is a bit like an end of year school camp. There must be at least 70 people in the restaurant, inside and out - even the hotel manager, Cindy, is in the white Pinamar t-shirt. Feeding people is serious business in Peru. Maybe I should have had breakfast earlier!

Yesterday marked my third week in Zorritos - and I have slowly ventured away from the hotel to try some of the locals’ hangouts. I tried a new restaurant called Pollo de Anthony which serves pollo a la brasa (Peruvian rotisserie chicken) - I ordered 1/8th chicken, which was served with fries and salad for 9 soles (NZ$4). The pineapple juice pushed my meal to 13 soles (NZ$5.85). After dinner, I walked to a nearby bakery, ordered a few sweet treats to take back and share with the teachers. It was essentially someone’s house with a display cabinet at the front. The woman was so nice and patient with me, speaking clearly to explain the cost and the different portion sizes. I walked away with slices of chocolate cake and local biscuits.



Peru: Máncora - Surf, Sunsets and Dusty Shoes

Peru: Máncora - Surf, Sunsets and Dusty Shoes

Oliver had a date with a Peruvian woman, and I had a date with steak. Máncora is only an hour away and makes for a nice weekend getaway. Yet, the trip over can take a lot more - that’s because we planned to take the public minivans to save money. Let me explain, in rural Peru, this is the cheapest way to travel, but there are no timetables. It costs 10-12 soles one way (NZ$5.40), which is the same price as a local’s lunch menu. Is it safe? Yes, and because of the language barrier, most people just leave us alone. Just smile, and if you don’t understand say politely,
“No hablo español.”

Are there alternative transport options? Definitely, but you will pay a lot more - like the taxi driver that wanted 80 soles ($36). I haven’t been on the buses, but I do know they get stopped for longer at the “checkpoint” between Zorritos and Máncora. The minivans get stopped too, though because they have less luggage, generally they don’t stop for long? What are they looking for? Anything illegal I guess, these buses often cross the borders so maybe it’s their equivalent of local customs agents...Peruvian style.



Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Two)

Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Two)

It’s Monday, just before 8am and I’m writing this post poolside - there’s an air of tranquility at this time that helps me write. We’ve had more overcast days than sunshine this past fortnight, which doesn’t bother us as much when we’re in class during the week. Then as soon the sun comes out, it’s like we’re rats in a cage who can’t wait for the day to be over. Our classroom is on the veranda above the restaurant - where a cool breeze insists that we wear pants and jumpers.

Our second week brought the added challenge of teaching three night classes, an hour for each trainee. We taught primary aged students to adults at all levels, though last week I only had primary and adults. Although free to the community, they are real classes and we’re observed by our course trainers. The TEFL method is essentially total immersion learning - that means without the use of the native language. That suits me because my level of Spanish is less than most of the adults’ level of English! What’s been my biggest challenge? Getting reacquainted with grammar!



Peru: Máncora - Beach, Sun, Ceviche and Cremoladas

Peru: Máncora - Beach, Sun, Ceviche and Cremoladas

The minivan stopped as traffic came to a standstill, now adding to the snake of various vehicles making their way out of town. It’s never a good sign when your driver gets out and starts to have a chat with someone on the road. You know you’ll be awhile. There is only one road to Máncora from Zorritos, and being only an hour away made a nice getaway for us TEFL Zorritos students.

Máncora is a surfing town. Popular with locals and tourists for its clean breaks and great weather, it reminds me of the vibe in Mount Maunganui before they built the beachfront high rises. Any town that draws in tourists also means tourist pricing. We didn’t stay overnight to party, but I have heard of cocktails at 30 soles, which can be price of dinner for two.



¡Hasta Luego, Nueva Zelanda!

¡Hasta Luego, Nueva Zelanda!

If travel is a go to metaphor to describe how to embrace change, then airports teach you patience. Everybody and everything is in constant transition – people you meet, your interactions, sometimes, even your final destination changes. Nothing and no one in life is stationary, even if it feels like it. This blog post spans over 30 hours of travel and transit, the beginning of my planned eight-month adventure in Peru.



Coastal Kayaking Adventure With
KG Kayaks

Coastal Kayaking Adventure With <br>KG Kayaks

A moonlight kayaking tour with KG Kayaks was my introduction to ocean kayaking two years ago. Since then, I have been out on Ohiwa Harbour to check out the little islands - which make great picnic spots by the way! Most recently, I joined him on the Whale Island tour - where we encountered some decent swells due to the Winter months. There was even a curious seal pup swimming alongside us for part of the trip. This blog post covers an awesome morning exploring the beautiful coastline between West End in Ohope and Whakatane.

It’s only been a couple of weeks of New Zealand’s Spring and I officially have a tan line thanks to this adventure. Kenny McCracken, from KG Kayaks, was already unloading the kayaks at West End when I pulled into the car park. His good friend, Jim Robinson of Motu Trails, made up the trio on this morning trip. Both are experienced kayakers so I knew I was in safe hands, besides, we had picked a beautiful day to be out on the water (read ‘very little chance of me falling in’).



Road Trip With The Canadian: Hitting The West Coast Of
New Zealand

Road Trip With The Canadian: Hitting The West Coast Of <br>New Zealand

My friend Tamizan is a surfer, and this trip came about from a conversation about her wanting to surf some of the famous breaks in New Plymouth. I’m not into surfing, but I do like road trips and hiking. I’ve never been to the West Coast, and people have told me about some nice walks in the region. We were lucky with the weather, even though there was chill in the air (being Winter of course), the sun was out apart from the Monday we headed home.

The only other road trip I’ve done late was with my friend, Jemma, when we checked out the Coromandel on the first day of Spring last year. Torrential rain stalked us for most of that trip, which was the complete opposite of this one.