Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
of his drooping Chinese moustache were fairly quivering, and even his dark half-caste com-
musthavebeenthepropertyofanoperetta company,andshowinganimperfect rowofyellow
fangs, he ordered me to leave the bench, for this, he thundered, was permanently reserved for
the prefecto (mayor). Without being aware of it, I had committed a hitherto unheard-of crime
in the good town of Trujillo, and so, having offered my sincerest apologies to the 'vigilante,'
I began to wander round the plaza once more, whilst people eyed me like horrified children
watching a sword-swallower perform his trick.
In small towns and villages it is not safe to walk anywhere but in the middle of the street
in the early morning, for that is the unofficial time when all the filth that has collected during
the night is thrown out of the windows. Luckily Mother Nature has provided the gallinazos
(buzzards), which do the work of street cleaners and sanitary police, and it is inconceivable
what would happen if these birds suddenly ceased to exist; furthermore, their usefulness is of-
ficially recognised, a law existing to protect them.
Continuing our difficult journey through hot sandy wastes, we entered the fertile Chicama
valley where a German company cultivates sugar-cane, cotton, etc. This is probably the best
that Peru can show in agricultural enterprise, and I appreciated sleeping in decent quarters
once more, eating good food and tasting a bottle of cold imported beer. As in the regions of
Lake Titicaca, I was on several occasions taken for a Chilian spy along the coast of Peru, and
these God-forsaken places, Idonot know,but when one considers the ignorance ofthe people
there, one must be surprised at nothing.
The river Santa was the one that gave me most trouble. At the time it was in full flood,
and the people thought it would be impossible to swim the horses across the wide, swift river.
However, I knew the animals could perform the feat, and as I had no intention of waiting for
an indefinite period for it to go down I decided to make the attempt. Natives strongly advised
me not to be foolish, for they warned me that the river was very tricky and that if I missed a
certain place there was no other chance to land the horses and they would be carried down to
the sea.
I heard so many terrible things about the Rio Santa that I went to have a look at it. About
half an hour's ride through a veritable jungle, flooded by the waters of the river, brought me
to my destination.
Imust admit that Idid not like the look ofthings, fornot only was the other bank far away,
but the mass of water came down with a roar, boiling, seething and tumbling, carrying with
it branches and trees, besides which, as some friends who accompanied me explained, there
were several rocks just below the surface, and if a horse swam over any of them he would
be ripped to pieces. In places where two currents met there were large whirlpools, and it did
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