Always keen to get my priorities straight, the first thing I sought to discover about Trujillo – once I’d received confirmation of my job here – was the name of the local football team. Fortunately, in São Paulo I had my good friend – and walking encyclopaedia of South American football – Euan Marshall to consult on the matter, and quicker than you can say “R2, fire up the converters,” he informed me that the team you are looking for is Club Deportivo Universidad César Vallejo.
Master Euan then went on to provide an evaluation of César Vallejo’s current squad, although I must admit I lost track when he recited the name of Peruvian goal machine (apparently) Andy Pando. I was distracted, not just because it is unusual to hear of a namesake of mine of South American origin, but because the last thing you expect is to find a Peruvian with kinship links to a puppet from the UK.
Pandy / Pando: separated at birth by a phoneme (and a sky blue stripe).
Upon arriving in Trujillo my next concern, obviously, was to locate Vallejo’s stadium, a problem that was resolved soon enough during my tour of the NGO’s staff house when I spotted the tell-tale sign of floodlights from the terraced roof:
Given the topic of last week’s post I guess it might not be too much of a surprise to discover that I’m often unsure which part of travelling I enjoy the most: the journey itself or the exploration of a new destination that comes at the end of it. Most people, I’m sure, wouldn’t give my conundrum a second thought, but it is one I was reminded of this past week as I escaped the dry heat of Trujillo (‘The City of Eternal Spring’, remember) to head inland and up towards the cooler climes of the Andean foothills.
My destination was Huamachuco, a small city of about 50,000 people that at 3200m (10,000 feet) sits nestled in-between the eastern and western cordillera of the Andes. Although unlikely to be on the to-do lists of many visitors to Peru, the nearby pre-Incan ruins of Marcahuamachuco (known as the “Machu Picchu of the North”), and the fact that it is only a four hour drive from Trujillo, meant that for me it seemed like a relatively a decent spot for a short break.
Leaving midday at Sunday we sped effortlessly out of a traffic-less Trujillo and into the lifeless terrain that surrounds it; the beige scorched earth that dominates the northern coastal regions is congruous with the inland hills, which at first glance resemble rudimentary sandcastles.
Further inland though, the land becomes flushed with health, as barren desert becomes slopes of luscious green upon which terraced farms cling desperately in order to extract every last drop of goodness from the soil.
Andy in the Andes
The Estado do São Paulo, or Estadão, is a broadsheet newspaper with the second highest circulation in São Paulo (and fifth in Brazil), so it’s a serious source of news here in Brazil. However, when the following popped up on my Twitter feed I seriously started to doubt its credentials.
“Tietê to have touristic boats by 2015, promises Alckmin. He guarantees the river won’t smell bad anymore.”
“Perhaps”, I thought, “it’s a spoof account?” Continue Reading