Home Sweet Huanchaco

Quite frankly, I haven’t been posting much lately because our lives have become much more predictable and “normal” now that we’ve settled in Huanchaco for a while. I teach, Mike works on the Internet, we cook and go grocery shopping, every now and then we go out to eat — essentially, things have calmed down a lot. This is true especially when you compare the last three weeks to the nomadic lifestyle that has characterized our last six months of travel.

Of course, our “normal” routine in Huanchaco is not without its gems and oddities.


1) The view from our 4th floor apartment. It’s true that we have to look over the tops of several crummy-looking buildings and past crazy electrical wiring, but we still have an ocean view from our apartment windows. In fact, I can stand in my living room and see 180 degrees of ocean. Every evening, before I get ready to teach English classes, Mike and I watch the sunset over the ocean from our kitchen table. Never before has it been so convenient for me to watch so many sunsets. It’s as easy as looking up from the book that I’m reading.

One of the cool things about being so close to the equator is seeing how fast the sun disappears below the horizon. You can almost imagine that you feel the Earth moving. Once the bottom edge of the sun touches the horizon, it’s less than a minute before it’s gone. Poof.

2) Funny t-shirts! A few phenomena fall into this category. First, there’s the entirely inappropriate English-language t-shirt being worn by a young child (i.e. “Shut up and swallow or it’s going in your eye!”). Then you have your English-language Ts that don’t quite have it right (“Gorw your own everything” and “She locked good last night…”). Finally, there are a few t-shirts that just have cute, ironic, or unusual images. Mike bought a t-shirt picturing a cartoon banana slipping on a banana peel and spilling his groceries. I bought a series of three t-shirts with silly cartoon foods on them.

This is Mike’s favorite of my new shirts. I really like it too. Perhaps I like it a bit too much, but that could be because for the first time in months I have more than 2 shirts to choose from for daily wear!

3) Gloria! Actually, I don’t know whether to put this amongst the gems or the oddities, but we’ll keep it here for now. Gloria is the brand name for a prominent line of dairy products and other food items. Mike and I always buy Gloria leche to dunk our Oreos in or to pour on our corn flakes. Occasionally we pick up additional Gloria products. It’s nice to have cold milk, but that’s not why Gloria has made the “gems” list. What I like most about Gloria products is the excuse they give Mike to burst into song. You know the “Gloria” song, right? Now, picture Mike singing that in a high-pitched voice, inserting his own lyrics everytime I pull the milk out of the fridge. A gem, right?

Sorry that the pic is all fuzzy and out of focus. We all know that Mike is the true camera wiz. Still, I think I’ve captured a telling moment here….


1) Frenchy kisses. I don’t know how or when the Peruvians picked up the frou-frou European habit of cheek kissing, but I’m not a fan. I find the greeting a bit uncomfortable and pretentious. A nice handshake or a small wave is far more appropriate in my culturally biased opinion — especially when I’m being greeted by students.

2) Garbage pick up. Huanchaco is one of the cleanest Latin American towns we have been in, and certainly the cleanest in Peru. True, the beach looks like Hell on Mondays after the weekend crowds have dispersed, but most of the garbage has been cleared away by Tuesday. The rest of the town is generally quite clean, and it’s hard to put too much blame on the sun worshippers because there really aren’t any garbage cans near the playa. Anyways…

Everyday the garbage truck comes by our apartment twice, ringing a bell that makes it sound more like an ice cream truck. The first pass serves as a warning indicating that you’d better get your garbage out on the curb if you want it picked up. The second time around, the truck stops to pick up all the bags that have found their way to the street. While this very regular and dependable garbage pick up service keeps the town looking relatively spic and span, it would be a definite stretch to say that the garbagemen are conscious of the health hazards that go along with their job. Most of the garbagemen (and inexplicably there are generally at least 5 to a truck) lounge in the garbage. The other day Mike watched in horror as a one armed garbageman plucked a banana from the trash, took a bite, and hurled it back into the pile. Nasty!

Here’s the garbage truck, passing by our apartment. Mike was quick to point out to me that there is a poor schmuck sleeping off a hangover in amongst the trash.

3) The “wash cycle.” This is a term that describes (fairly accurately) what it feels like when you have been swept from your surf board into the onslaught of a wave. My ma seems to think it’s odd that I’ve found an extreme sport that I’m not too enthusiastic about, so that’s why my first surfing experience is third on the “oddities” list. Mike and I took a lesson on Saturday and tried surfing for the first time ever. Mike managed to stand on his board once for about 3 seconds, but I never even got past my knees. I can’t say that I enjoy the feeling of being helplessly swept by a wave while I’m dodging my rogue surf board, desperate for air. Normally when I go to all the trouble of donning a tight wetsuit and plunging into saltwater I at least have a regulator that helps me breathe underwater. Sharks are far more manageable and predictable than waves, in my experience. My pansy attitude towards surfing has already earned me a few rebukes, so I may have to try it again, but I’m not planning on hitting the North Shore anytime soon.

Okay, that’s it for my picks and pans of the moment, but I’ll leave you with a few more pictures.

The pretty church that stands on a hill behind Huanchaco is the second oldest in Peru, according to our guidebook. It was built in 1540.

The beach can get very crowded and busy on the weekends.

Mike’s not so sure this is safe. Some of the wooden planks seemed awfully spongy and rotten when we walked out on this pier. Can you imagine if a large wave came and swept away a few of the support beams?

That’s right: Trujillo, the city so close to Huanchaco, has its own beer. Obviously, it’s the only beer anyone drinks. Too bad it’s gross. At least the Pisco Sour (a drink somewhat similar in taste to a margarita) is tasty.

Well, we hope you continue to keep us updated on your lives as well! TTFN!

3 Responses to “Home Sweet Huanchaco”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Loved your blog about your new home away from home!My highlight was hearing that Mike sings & makes up words!He used to hate it when I did it but I see the weird gene has passed on once again(:The sunsets sound fabulous & remind me of the ones in Aruba where the sun also poofed away in an instant.Glad to hear that life has calmed down for awhile.We are well but freezing our tails off in B-lo. Going out for Indian food at a new restaurant with Deb’s friends tonight. 1st time we’re eating Indian since our return from there.Keep in touch- we miss you!Love,Mom Z

  2. Anonymous says:

    It all sounds interesting (& fun). How long will you stay there – and then what? Back to the IRS grind here – 57 hours this week. Actual morning temp was – 2deg (not including wind chill!) on Thurs. VERY cold for KC. Hope to have ‘girls outing’ soon with Karen & Kristen in Des Moines/Osceola. Much love, Aunt kathy

  3. Deb says:

    MORE UPDATE!!!! We’re going through withdrawl. 🙂

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