Zoo, and it was strange to see two little girls playing with their grotesque dolls and doing the
same to them. This difficult operation obviously needs early practice to acquire full efficiency
in years to come.
I was fortunate enough to be able to hire a car to take me to Piura. Motoring through this
sandy part has its charms as well as risks. As far as the eye can reach one sees nothing but
bling bunkers of a golf links. When we had travelled about halfway we met a broken-down
car, the occupants of which had been stranded in this semi-desert for twenty-four hours. We
crowded two women and one man into our car, leaving one fellow behind, having given him
a supply of water, some bananas and bread.
I had heard wonders about Piura, but found it to be a depressing place, in fact, not much
better than the rest of the villages and towns I had seen lately. Rickety houses at the doors
of which loaf men, women and children, effigies of filth and misery; a few streets with pave-
ments which look as if they had experienced heavy shell-fire, and a few brick houses that are
standing thanks to a veritable miracle of equilibrium. This, and heat - terrible heat - is Piura.
Pacific Ocean. A railway line connects the two places, and at every station women carrying
calabashes filled with cold roast chicken, oranges, sandwiches, pieces of sugar-cane, drinks,
etc., sell their usually dirty goods to the travellers, some of whom have a big meal at every
stop, making one wonder what is their maximum capacity.
The carriage in which I travelled rather resembled a glorified packing case on wheels, and
in it were two Peruvian officers accompanied by two women. No sooner had we started than
they began to unpack baskets out of which they took chicken, bread, watermelon, cheese, or-
down at intervals with a drink of pisco , a strong kind of Peruvian brandy. The journey lasted
some five hours, and they kept on eating all the time and only started to wipe their greasy
mouths and hands with the newspapers the food had been wrapped in when we were about to
arrive in Paita.
On my arrival I went to quite a fair little hotel on the very edge of the bay, and when I
walked into the dining-room I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw my four travelling
away the remains of cold meat and salad which is the customary first dish all over South
America. The four took every course, and only after coffee and more pisco had disappeared
did they pull the serviettes out of their collars where they had tucked them to protect their
I was obliged to make some of these side trips in order to get money, for I carried a letter
of credit and rarely more cash than was necessary to reach the next place where there was a