I’d made a few short trips into the “big city” before this past weekend, but they were usually for a quick meal with someone, so I hadn’t really gotten a good feel for Trujillo yet. Saturday I met my friend Jose in town and he gave me a fantastic walking tour, beginning at the Plaza de Armas (picture below).
Jose works for an organization called “Peru Mission” (www.perumission.org), a facilitator of Christian community development here in Peru. The programs in Trujillo range from group Bible studies, music and medical mission work in clinics to economic development including a microfinance program and a locally-run woodshop. He gave me a tour of the woodshop and I was completely enthralled by the whole process. They use wood that’s already been cut down for other reasons to create these absolutely incredible looking modern works of art.
We also wandered through the large marketplace and shopping area in downtown Trujillo, and Jose helped me get my bearings as many streets look alike here. Trujillo definitely feels a lot more clean, modern, European and safer than La Esperanza, though only 15 minutes away. The big city ambiance is quite the contrast from the outer-lying poor communities- clean paved streets and brightly colored buildings with a mixture of architectural styles, some areas reminisce of the Spanish historical influence in Peru. Trujillo also boasts a lot of modern amenities- hot showers, fancy apartments and restaurants, 2 malls, and even gyms and lap swimming pools! Though we wandered around the “tourist area,” I haven’t seen a single other American here, aside from my friends in Chimbote and Jose.
The highlight of the afternoon, of course, revolved around food. We stopped in at Jose’s favorite place to get a sandwich de pollo- shredded chicken in a bun with sauce and vegetables piled on- fantastic! And then had some dessert – my first taste of Peruvian helado. It had to be the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I’m trying to pace myself with the food for fear of stomach problems but it’s really hard to hold myself back!