I was talking to this physicist on the bus from Ecuador into Peru and the physicist is telling me about this great beach in the small town of Lobitos, Peru. Tells me that he is going there to read and smoke dope. Supposedly this is a surf town and that is all you can do in Lobitos.
Now I love a good beach and decide to go and check out this piece of paradise on the coast in Peru.
Originally I was going to Piura, Peru, but I get off the bus with him in Sullana, Peru. At that point we had been on the bus from Ecuador for about 10 hours. The time is around 5:30 pm at this point. So we grab a motorbike taxi and head off into the traffic ingested streets in search of a place to exchange money. Finally with the money exchange done we jump back in the motorbike taxi to the bus station and buy a ticket to Talara, Peru.
In the bus heading to Talara the landscape is starting to look like a war torn country. I think every bush in the desert like landscape (it actually is the desert here) must have had at least 6 multicolored bags stuck in the wind torn limbs. Then the sandy desert itself was littered with plastic bottles.
Add the creeping night darkness and the cold night chill and it was starting to give me an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. The physicist starts to explain that it is going to get worse. I keep ignoring the obvious and say, “ Well the town of Lobitos must be nice?”
About 1-½ hours later we arrive in Talara, Peru and the physicist states that we should hurry, as he does not want to get stuck on the streets at night in Talara.
Talara, Peru is an old oil town and pretty much all of the inhabitant’s live in old shipping containers or homemade houses that resemble shipping containers.
So now we find a taxi van and we wait for the van to fill-up before we can depart to Lobitos. The physicist goes in search of some cigarettes while I dig through my backpack on the roof of the van for some warm clothing. Finally we depart and I stare out of the dirty window of the van as we pass old shipyards with the night crews busily working away under the bright artificial lights.
The taxi van only has high beams and the driver has to turn off his lights when another vehicle approaches. Seems like business as usual and makes for an interesting ride. We make several stops to unload other passengers and about an hour later we arrive in what the physicist calls the new section of Lobitos.
Basically Lobitos is also an abandoned oil village. Nothing is left but fallen down buildings and ugly ass polluted desert landscape. It looked like straight out of a horror movie and I think Charlie Manson would like it here.
It is pitch black outside at this point and some surf guy greets us that rents rooms from his house. He states that he is booked up and that I can sleep at this brother’s house. The surfer guy is super friendly and makes me a cup of tea while I wait for his brother. Finally the brother arrives and we walk around the corner to his house. His brother is also super friendly.
His brother takes me in his house and shows me the bunk beds and tells me which one has clean sheets. I rip the sheets off a top bunk and make a new nest on the bottom bunk. He also gives me the tour of the bathroom and explains how I need to fetch water from the old tub outside, for using to flush the toilet. No hot shower, but he states the sun does heat it up a little.
Left on my own I get naked and head for the shower. The water is not breath taking cold, but is livens me up as I scrub my body with an old discarded piece of soap. I head back to my dorm room and put on my sweats. There is no place to secure my gear so I just put the valuables in the dark corner on my lower bunk.
Exhausted, I check out the movie that a couple of his friends are watching and call it a night. I tell myself that maybe this is not that bad and keep an open mind for the next day.
Daylight finally makes it through my window in the dorm at about 6:30 am and I quickly get dressed and grab my camera. I wander out into the barren dirty streets and scan the empty fallen down buildings that surround me. Down by the greasy, oily and ugly pier, I scan the ocean of all the abandoned oilrig platforms.
At this point I’m thinking, “Who in the hell would live here, even if the waves are good for surfing.” My mind is in some dark depression at this point and all I can think of is, “I must escape from this place now!”
I make a straight path back to where I spent the night. Quickly I pack my gear and pay the guy 7 dollars for the night and out the door I go. The guy that owns the house senses my panic and follows me outside. He climbs the garbage dump next to his house and scans the ocean for the surfing conditions.
He states, “I should not rush away and at least stay until evening and do some hiking and swimming.” I say, “man I don’t know,” as I throw my pack over my shoulders and head to a group of taxi vans waiting down the filthy street. Tossing my pack on top of the lead van roof, I then slide into the front bench seat and let out a “sigh” of relief.
Not a million dollars could convince me to stay another day in Lobitos. There is a certain hardcore surfing group of people that call Lobitos, Peru home. I can’t see what they see.