Up and out 2 doors down by 4am. Pizana Express is waiting so we load up and take off to pick up other 2 passengers. A small town yet it took 15 min. or so to locate the place...no addresses in this part of town...and they weren't ready! Finally, a mother, 10 or 12 yr old son, older son, and dog get into car in back seat w/ Bon. Thinking we were going w/ 3 instead of 2, driver takes off but ends up at a 'University'...loosely speaking...it's a walled area w/ gates, being dark, I cannot see very many buildings. The older son rousts out the guard who opens the gate and we drive to a small building where son proceeds to wake up kids inside. After some more waiting the son appears w/ a bunch of stuff which they stuff into the back...this is a Toyota cruiser which has a hatchback. Then we go back thru the guard and back to where we picked up these folks on the other side of town where we drop off the older son. Now almost an hour late we finally head out of town...Peru time!
The driver was good, the road for the first 2 hours was the best I've seen in Peru...newly paved, lined 2 lanes and little traffic. He's going 60-70mph I'd say and by the end of the pavement we stop for breakfast at 8am...rice, fried egg, fried potato, and tea for 3s.ea ...a buck US! It was cloudy so travel was pleasant thru mostly rice fields but now we begin to climb and it starts to rain hard. What had been dusty gravel turned to small rivers down the roadway. The mattress on top of the car now had to go inside which made sitting inconvenient for Bon in the back. Sitting in front I had great views of the jungle covered mountains and valleys in this part of Andes (see pics). The rain only lasted a short time and then we were back into dusty gravel. We follow the wide Huallago River more or less but twisty, turny, up and down like most mountainous roads - this is Forest Service-type rough gravel roads.
By noon we once again reach pavement and less interesting terrain. The driver does not change his speed regardless of pavement or no...just goes as fast as possible, obviously been here, done this before. He's careful tho...no anxious moments trying to pass at a turn or blind hill. Arr in Tarapoto at 2 where mother and son it turns out, depart at the Pizana Express station at which time our driver says we will be going the rest of the way to Moyobamba in another car. Hitch is we will be waiting for 2 more passengers (unknown at this time!)...they say only 10 maybe 15 minutes. Well, we've been here before and we paid to go all the way direct to Moyobamba which is still 2 hours away and IF we leave now we will make it in the 12 hours we were told it would take. I'm rather irked but my Spanish is limited so w/ the best disappointment I can express I tell them that 1. We paid more to get to Moyobamba than the going rate...yesterday when they quoted us the price it was 110s. but then some quick talking about only to such and so etc and suddenly it was 130s. which was later changed by another fellow who finally gave us 125s.! Most likely, we paid 30s. extra ($10 US), which we didn't argue. 2. We left almost an hour late unnecessarily due to the other 2 passengers who only had to pay to Tarapoto plus haul a bunch of stuff and a dog! 3. We know that it could be an hour or 2 before 2 more passengers show. I don't think so! We left at 2:15 in the middle of Holland vs Uruguay World Cup game at 1 : 1 tied halftime. I think that's why no one would commit to take us!
In Moyo, our driver was very nice and thanked us, I think he understood everything. We stayed in Hotel across the street from bus terminal where we bought tickets to Pedro Ruiz (4 hr ride) lvg at 7 am, the earliest poss...since we must then take another bus or colectivo to finally arr in Chachapoyas. It's costing us 30s. ea to go with GH Bus, but they incl breakfast - 5s. more than the other bus leaving at 8;30am.