August 24, 2007
I rode a bus all night to Trujillo. I had already been there, so I immediately bought another ticket to Cajamarca. I had a few hours to kill, so I meandered the city's streets until I got to the Plaza de Armas in the center. The city was so flat and repetitive that I started to wonder if I was actually walking anywhere or if I was being transported back to my starting point every fifteen minutes. Until I arrived at the plaza, all I saw were hundreds of the exact same shops with no major landmarks to gage my relative location. Added to that was the same weather as I experienced in Lima: Cool with a thick haze covering the entire sky. From my visit last year, I remembered the ruins and beach nearby being nice, but the city of Trujillo still didn't have a lot going for it.
I got the front seat on the top floor of my bus for a panoramic view, something everyone should experience at least once when they travel to South America. You can see everything on all sides of you, yet you're not driving so there's this feeling of disconnect like you're in a movie theater and the world that's passing you by isn't real. You don't even flinch when you come within inches of hitting a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi or a stray dog. You just keep munching the popcorn the bus company was nice enough to provide you with. On top of that, if you get bored of the scenery, all you have to do is look up to watch The Dead Poet's Society or whatever your movie happens to be. So you're both literally and figuratively in a movie theater!
After we left the coast and started our ascent back into the mountains, the sun came out and the weather improved again. It was another bus ride full of spectacular Andean scenery and tranquil little towns where everyone is either smiling and waving, or trying to sell us something. We pulled into Cajamarca, a little lower than Huaraz at 2750 meters, late at night, so I only got to see the city in its deserted, garbage-laden form.