Staying with Mr Crazy: Pomalca, Near Chiclayo, Peru

Trying to sleep while a grown man weeps uncontrollably beside you is difficult. But life isn´t always easy.

Neither is balancing sugar cane on your face, apparently.


Chiclayo was the right distance away from Mancora to set as our destination for the day. On arrival, Kelly noted “look at all the garbage!”. Months in Central and South america have perhaps blinded us a little bit to the constant garbage on the side of the road. She was right though, Chiclayo had more than we had seen in a long while.

Banana slip. Some garbage is more dangerous than others.


We ventured to “centro”, aka the square in front of a church in the centre of any given city. After a banana nearly took Jayne out as we parked (not just a thing in Mario cart), Kelly and I wandered in search of a cheap hotel. We found cheap hotels, but they didn´t have parking for the bikes, and they charged by the hour. All of them. Fortunately for us, a young man named Jose came up, and generously offered for us to stay at his place for the night! Staying with our “yes” policy, we loaded Jose on the back of Toms bike and swerved through the traffic to Joses house. This was much further than we anticipated, actually in Pomalca, the next town down from Chiclayo. We get a free place to stay, Jose gets a free ride home. Win win!

Hold on tight, Tom doesn`t have passenger pegs


Jose takes Toms bike for a wobbly test ride around the block.


Local kids enthralled with the bikes


More local kids

Jose took us on a tour of his little town, and we picked up supplies to make dinner. The wine was opened and began to flow. It flowed quite quickly for Jose, who might as well have just put a straw in the box. We chatted and ate. Sometimes understanding what Jose was talking about was a little tough as he spoke quickly at changed subjects a lot. I was able to understand when Jose told me that “sometimes his spirit leaves his body and goes on vacation flying around the world”. It was then I realized Jose was perhaps on the hippie side of the spectrum (the dreadlocks were also a hint I suppose). Jose went on to talk about how he was a descendant from the Incas, and then later offered to take us on a tour of the local ruins of his people. At night. Ok sure.

Jayne skipped the trip being dirt roads at night, but the rest of us head off to the ruins. They were of course closed, so we´d have to be sneaky.

Another sign at the ruins

On entering the un-gated ruins, Jose tried to help us gringos by reading us the information sign. unfortunately he just read it out loud in spanish, not much help to Tom or Kelly. But he read the sign very loudly, which was help to the security guards. Jose tried to talk them into letting us take a look around. I think the box of wine in his hand wasn´t helping things. They said no.


When time to head back, Jose asked if he could ride Tom´s bike. This would put Tom on the back of his own bike. Not likely. Plus Jose was a little drunk. Less likely. Plus we´d seen him struggle when he took the bike for a ride around the block earlier. Not a chance.

But this didn´t stop Jose from trying really hard to convince Tom. We ended up all discussing it on the side of the road for about 10 minutes. It was cold and getting windier. Finally Jose laid the guilt trip “don´t you trust me? I let you into my house and you don´t even trust me to ride your bike a little?”. That was the end. Tom started the bike, told Jose to get on the back and we head back to the house. Things were a touch awkward. Then Jose’s sister came home.

Things got more awkward.

Jose’s sister had a 1-year-old child. There were 4 gringos setting up shop on the living room floor. She was very nice to us, but the screaming from the back room told me that Jose hadn´t told her we were there, and that this wasn´t the first time something like this had happened. It was late enough, and certainly awkward enough, that we all decided it was time for bed.

crying induced expectoration takes place to the left of where I am standing taking this photo

Except for Jose of course, who now had some friends over and was turning up the stereo. The stereo that was four feet from our heads. We laid there trying to sleep for a little while, but that was futile. Kelly or I would reach up and turn the music down a little, but when Jose noticed he would turn it back up. And then the crying started.

I couldn´t make out the words, but he was bawling to his friends. With the tears came mucus apparently, because he also started spitting on the floor. The floor between us and the stereo. These were your championship loogys too. A real hork with each one.

This went on for an hour or more.

Sometimes Jose and his friends would retire from the living room and go to his room. We took the chance to turn down the blasting music, but soon after Jose would be back out to turn it back up. At some point, we turned off the music and the lights, and he didn´t come turn them back on. This would finally give us the chance to sleep. The multitude of flies that kept landing on our faces would take that chance right back. None of us slept well.


At 7am, Jose was up and started slurping his cereal on the couch, right beside Kelly’s head, more or less above the dried spit pool. Uncomfortable and ready to leave, Kelly and I got up and started packing our things quietly, whispering a “Buenos dias” to Jose since Jayne and Tom were still somehow sleeping. No matter, us getting up gave Jose the message apparently that it was music time, and again turned on the stereo. “They are still sleeping!” I whisper-yelled in spanish as I turned it down. Jose just smiled, didn´t seem to get it.

“The faster you get out of bed, the faster we get the (heck) out of here.” -Kelly.

No truer words have ever been spoken. No faster has any 4 travelers packed their things.

Jose insisted on making us breakfast, which turned out to be just our leftover pasta we had cooked for him the night before. Did I mention her introduced himself as a chef? We all politely picked at it before charging to the bikes and making dust.

Likely the earliest start of this entire trip.

Looking back I think that Jose may have had some mental illness. If I were more fluent in spanish and understood every word he said, I`m sure I would have picked up on it earlier. I don`t believe he was being purposefully malicious in any of his actions. I think he honestly didn`t feel they were inappropriate. I think he just had no idea.

Or maybe we just happened to visit while his spirit was off flying around the world.