Winter holiday Day 5 – Lazy day in Cocachimba

July 24, 2012

I woke up at 0730 even though I didn’t really need to and couldn’t drift back off so I got up and had breakfast. The breakfast here is good. Very nice coffee, home made bread, plain or mushroom omelette, fresh fruit, juice, milk, yoghurt, honey, cheese, ham and cereal. After breakfast I found out that you could get a Claro signal at the far corner of the pool on the sun-deck area. It’s also a great central point to sit to look for birds so I got my binoculars and sat out there for about an hour, birdwatching, thinking and having a short text message chat with José. I then spent a few hours going through photos and putting more music onto my iPod (this took me a LONG time to do as it turns out that you can’t just drag and drop music onto an iPod in Windows explorer, you HAVE to use iTunes. I can move one song at a time, but I can’t work out how to select whole albums at once. Neither can I get it to organise things properly, probably because I haven’t bought the music from iTunes in the first place. You also can’t access iTunes help unless you have an internet connection.). After all this stress I had a delicious lunch (salad with fried cheese, olives, apple, almonds and a slightly too vinegary dressing) and then did nothing (well, I read my book) for another couple of hours. During this time it rained so I didn’t use the pool like I’d originally planned.


After the rain had cleared up I had a wander into the town of Cocachimba, the nearest town to the falls, where the hotel is situated. It consists of about 30 houses, one hostal, 2 restaurants, a primary school, a football pitch/car park health centre (open 0800 – 1200 Monday to Saturday), and 2 handicraft shops. One is also the visitors’ centre and has nice things, hand crafted by people in the region, the other has a little bit of everything from all over Peru. I’m really not sure how the second shop stays open as you can buy the same tat at any stall, anywhere in Peru. There were also 4 men making mud/straw bricks and putting them to ‘dry’ in the sun. They had picked the wrong day for it!


Back at the lodge I tried to identify the species of birds I had seen. It is an impossible task. There are around 124 species of humming bird in Peru, a handful of them are found only along the coast (and I have seen most of those species in my garden in Lima), the rest all seem to be found here. On top of that they are almost all green. You have to look at beak shape and length (hard because most of the time when you are looking at humming birds their beaks are inside flowers) and the shape of their tail. As they hum in and hum out again very quickly it can be difficult to get a good look. On top of that there are regional variations in colouring that means that in some places the live version doesn’t look the same colour as the ones in the book! I decided to remain in blissful ignorance and pack instead. Packing made me work up an appetite and I realised it was only an hour or so until dinner.


The food here is good. Again the portions are a bit on the small side, but I’m sure they’d be fine for normal people. The prices aren’t too bad either, considering they have you trapped! The menu has a choice of a lot of large salads, starters and soups. The main course is a choice of chicken, pork chops, thin beef, steak, or trout, with a choice of vegetable side dish (including yucca, chips, mash, quinua and salad) and a choice of sauce. My first evening I had trout in a pisco and aji sauce with quinua and vegetables. The vegetables were so delicious that I had them again the following evening with a pork chop and beer and rosemary sauce. As I’d done a lot of work that day I treated myself to a starter too – yucca croquettes wrapped in bacon and served with caramelised apples in a balsamic sauce. Nom nom nom. They also have a pudding of the day. It was pancake the first night (filled with manajar blanco and served with coconut icecream) and homemade, still hot from the oven, banana bread the second night. I bought a bottle of wine on the first night and they have put it away for me and brought it out again when I wanted it.


Tomorrow I leave the lodge here at Gocta and head up to Chachapoyas. I have decided to combine this with a tour so that I get to go to see some sarcophagi and a burial cave full of stalactites and stalagmites on the way (well, not really on the way; when the people here say things are close they mean within a 2 hour drive…).  


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