Living it up in Trujillo

Peru, Travel, Uncategorized

A [non-exhaustive because we are not intrepid] guide to an unexpectedly cool city.

The hipster Chimus made some sweet walls in Chan Chan.


You know those places that you have almost no expectation of? Some place on the way to some other place? For us, Trujillo was one of those. Until we arrived.
Trujillo is up from Lima to the north, on the coast. It’s has a nice climate, not hot, not cold, and dry. It’s not a big tourist destination. But we reckon it’s a good place to live it up, and thought we’d offer up some tips on how.

HOW TO LIVE IT UP IN THE BIG T*[*No one calls it that]

First up, we got to swap the van out for a sweet apartment in a sweet neighbourhood in a sweet gated community. Right near a fancy mall. How? Amazing family. [Soz to anyone looking for overlanding or hostel recommendations].

Level of living it up: 100 

Second up, we got to see some really amazing archeological sites, and cool old buildings. We could drive to these easily, and most sites had guarded parking [for anyone driving]. 

Level of living it up: 200

Third up, Trujillo is pretty famous [with Peruvians] for its food. So we went on an eating mission. 

Level of living it up: 1000

So here’s what we did, that might help someone else live it up too!

DAY ONE: Old Stuff
We checked out some cool old stuff made by people who don’t exist anymore.  Our picks to see are:

Chan Chan

The Chimu people were a busy folk who made a lot of cool shit around 850AD especially so we could visit. Chan Chan is a big sand-mud brick – city that some how hasn’t been totally destroyed.



Huaca la Luna y Sol

A sweet Moche temple site, made by another bunch of people who utilised slaves/peasant well. It’s crazy because every hundred years they decided to build a new level of their temple, and cover up the old one. Because you know, why not. 

Leader: ‘Time to build another level’, Peasants: ‘General sighing’.

The place to observe [the no longer living] peasants.



El Brujo
This one’s is about half an hour or more out of the city, but was super interesting because it had a kickass princess-leader mummy covered in tattoos. Oh and massive temple site still used by the world’s shamans [Mum if you’re reading this, you should go].

Proof we leave the van to see things.

Place they found the mummy boss lady buried with tons of treasure and a bunch of expendable people.



DAY TWO: Food and old buildings
Peruvian food is amazing. We made it our mission to spend the whole day eating. The problem? Peru’s portion sizes [enormous] and Pisco Sours [so tipsy]. But we still managed to eat breakfast lunch and dinner, because we are warriors. 

We also checked out some cool buildings on our way.

Here’s where to eat in Trujillo [if you’re not from Trujillo and don’t know anywhere better to eat in Trujillo].

Breakfast: Panadería Fito Pan [the one behind the Plaza de Armas].

Sándwiches are a big thing in Peru. We saw a bunch of elderly people flocking here and felt a calling to enter [our people].

You get freshly baked bread, and Peruvian level tasty fillings. Try the Pork Mechado [slow cooked goodness] or if you’re a Gringa like me and get excited by cheese and ham toasties, that was pretty good too. Can’t go wrong with a fresh fruit juice.

Backup: La Lucha is a chain, but they also make pretty damn tasty sandwiches, La Luchita is my fav.

Eating break: go see old stuff

Find the pedestrian walkway area off the Plaza Armas, and basically walk into every old building you can [stop when security kick you out].

My king of living room!

Stumbling on Peruvian socialist political history [don’t believe them when they tell you the old cool guy became president, because he didn’t]


This [amazing looking] club is exclusively for a handful of elite Trujillo fams. Why?!


Lunch: El Mochica
Oh no! We were still full from breakfast because it was only 2 hours before lunch. But because we’re ninjas, we found a way to fit in a pretty epic lunch at this Trujillo stalwart.

Pisco Sours and the best Causa de Cangrejo [crab causa].

Cebiche a la Casa y Pulpo

Pisco sours have 3 [!] shots each, and made us need to nap pretty hard.

Backup plan: Mar Picante serve up some tasty ceviche and other seafood dishes.

Dinner: Koi Maki Bar 

If there’s one thing better than regular Peruvian food, it’s Japanese Peruvian food. That’s because they wrap up all your favourites into maki rolls, which are smaller, and even tastier than the regular dishes. 

Yes! That’s Ceviche sushi!


Add to that some time watching movies, [window] shopping, a pizza night, beers and plenty of sleep, and you’ve got a pretty high living it up level, maybe even 1001.
If you’re reading this and know things about Trujillo, tell us what we missed to give us FOMO!

A shotgun van conversion

Travel, Van info

Our lazy guide to the cheapest / fastest possible van conversion

We’ve all seen #vanlife on Instagram and been blown away by the amazing vans/homes people have built.

But maybe you don’t have bucket loads of time, a big budget, or the skills required?

Yeah, neither did we. Our mission was: get on the damn road as fast as possible.

So we did a super basic, super fast, and super cheap van conversion. 

Bedroom / living room / office / place to hide from street dogs

Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it just like those dreamy vans on Instagram? Nope. Should you take any advice from us? Probably not. 

But our set up does the trick. We have somewhere to eat and sleep. And more importantly, we’re out on the road and exploring which was our #1 priority. 

The lowdown

Vehicle: 1998 Mitsubishi Delica DX Time taken: about a week Connversion cost: about $230

Not the biggest, but Vanito gets the job done


Layout 

You know all those vans with inside kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, attics, cellars, and sun rooms? Forget those. There is no space for that.
Our layout includes a bed, storage, ‘kitchen’, and outside tables and chairs. 

Insulation: $30

Hate spending hours on the net researching insulation options? Us too!

There’s about 183719 materials options and about double the opinions. We were mainly aiming to keep warm. We didn’t have many materials available (we did this in Lima, Peru). So we chose the easiest thing: sun protectors (those foil looking bubble wrap looking things for your windscreen). 

We pulled up the plastic floor cover thing and taped a bunch of these bad boys down with electrical tape

We ‘installed’ these into the ceiling of the van, the floor, and stuck two on the rear passenger windows. 

Hot tip! Shove these guys into your roof! (Ours always had carpet stuff, so we slid them in under that)

Bam! Some level of insulation! We’ve been in warm (30+ and cold (-5) and we have always been comfortable. 

Bed: $100 (50 on the frame 50 on the mattress)

You know those fancy folding beds that convert into seats during the day. Forget those.

We really like our sleep. Like, really like our sleep. We decided folding our bed up and down every day would be annoying. You don’t mess around when you want to rest. 

Our bed feat. Mao’s lovely sister. We made this up as we went, and for stability added wooden braces at the end of the legs.

We built a 1.5 person bed frame from solid wood, built high enough to fit plastic storage containers underneath. The wood we got cut at the hardware store when we bought it (they offered 3 cuts free per piece). We drilled it together with the cheapest screws we could find (using a borrowed drill). It took us a few hours.

We did not attach the bed to the van floor. It’s pretty heavy, and so far, and with everything stacked around, it hasn’t moved. 

We got a normal 1.5 person mattress for it. It’s super comfy. We weren’t about to mess around with sleep comfort.

Kitchen’: $50

You know those amazing tiled sinks, and fold out cook tops people have in their vans? Forget those. 

We use the term kitchen loosely here, cause you know, you wash up with buckets. 

Straight up my brother told us cooking inside with gas was a death wish and basically threatened us with death if we tried.

The chef serves breakfast

So we opted for a nice double burner stove, and we carry a 5kg gas bottle. Open the back of the van up, and bam, you have a place to cook.  

We store a plastic table and camp chairs down the side of the van. Takes a couple of minutes to set up, but it’s easy, and we don’t mind the camp kitchen vibe.

A Virgo’s nightmare / back door kitchen

For washing up we use basins, and when we drive all our pots / pans / utensils are stored there. We use a couple of cheap plastic containers and a polystyrene box to store our food. Which means restocking fresh stuff every other day, but hey, we like markets!

Storage: $30

You know those pretty hand made wooden cupboards people have that fit perfectly above their beds but don’t hit them in the head? Forget those.

Plastic storage containers with wheels is where it’s at. All our possessions (clothes) fit under our bed. They’re super easy to access by just pulling out the container.



Curtains: $20

You know those beautifully pleated curtains people have that block all light yet can be easily adjusted for the day? Forget those.

Curtains get their own heading because they were the hardest part, but on the road have definitely been of the most important features.
We chose thick black fabric, which is good for light blocking, but makes the van surprisingly dark during the day. A positive is that it’s really hard to see anything inside of the van at all (sup thieves).

Back door curtain shoved into roof gap, and side curtains stuck on with tape, when we drive we roll up the back and peg it.

For the curtains I measured the windows, cut the fabric to size, and hand sewed (!) the rope into the hems. That takes for freaking ever. And in the end, it was even needed (this made me question my own existence).
Turns out, you can just use a screw driver to shove the material into the roof join. And it stays up! 

For the passenger windows (that open) we use a bunch if thumb tacs, double sided tape, and safety pins. For the other passenger windows we put a layer of foul stuff and then attached the string to plastic suction caps (which didn’t stay so we taped them on).

Making it feel like home 

Little things can make a tin can with a bed feel like home. Obviously maps.

BEST TIP?! Buy a bunch of lovely cushion covers, then stuff them with your coats and spare blankets!! Seriously, this saved us a bunch of room and helped make us comfy for Netflix times! Also, I cut up all our receipts and stuck them to the roof ’cause I thought it was ugly.

Hang stuff! This handbag is my random crap shelf, the little bag is the first aid.

Home is where your hat is? Dunno but we put a bunch of hooks up to hang stuff… dry towels etc.

 

So by now, you can see we tricked you!! We didn’t really convert a van. We just put a bunch of stuff in it. Which means anyone can do it. 

Really this unhelpful guide is more about just getting out there and doing what you want instead of getting everything perfect up front. There are a lot of perfect van set ups. If you have the time and money, do that! But if you just want a simple set up so that you can go out and adventure, you’ll be surprised at how little you need to be comfortable. 

If all that’s stopping you is a place to eat and sleep, then just get going and think later.

So your morning view can look something like this.