Saturday, October 2, 2010

Desert Dessert.

The desert oasis of Huacachina
 We didn't originally plan on travelling down this way but we cut our time short in Iquitos so we were at a loose end. Not wanting to spend 6 days in Lima and having heard good things about Ica and Huacachina we decided to hop a bus down there for some rest and relaxation before heading to Costa Rica. I mean, shit, we were in dire need of some chill time after all the hardcore chilling we'd done thus far. In actual fact it was rather nice to just sit by a pool, slugging back some brewskies, eating some ceviche after the mad paced jungle adventuring we'd done last week. So nice in fact that we forgot about how sun gives you sunburn - me after 5 minutes of un-sunscreened exposure, Darren after 15 minutes. I had managed to apply my SPF 50 to most of my body but if you're in a bikini and you´re ghostly white like me, any missed speck will show up shocking red later on. I had sustained a burn all down my left arm  from earlier the first morning when we climbed the sand dune above our hotel rather too keenly. Darren was not immune either and his usual tactic of safe guarding his tattoos and nothing else whilst sunbathing failed when later that evening a red hot burn surfaced all over his thighs and most of his chest - even his thick fuzz didn't protect him.Whatevs, starter burn right?
Ready to rumble
The second afternoon we partook in a dune buggy and sand boarding tour. One and half hours of ripping up and down the dunes. Amazing. Every now and then our driver, with the stealth of a sadist would pull right up to the precipice of a dune cliff, inch his body out to look down, then turn off the buggy to motion that it was sand boarding time.
As above
The first hill was pretty tame and Darren gave a gallant try of boarding down. It was, how can I put it, stoppy and starty, not very smooth. I've never snowboarded in my life so I threw myself with gusto down the slope on the board on my tummy. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuun! More ripping round, more sand boarding. Each slope got progressively steeper. By the last two slopes all 6 of us were boarding down on our tummies and letting out crazy "ithinki'mgonnaeatshit" yelps. 

At the end of the tour we were driven to watch the sunset. It was glorious. As you can see from the photos below it is a beautiful eerie landscape. I felt like a character out of Dune.

Where is Kyle McLachlan?

 On our last day in Huacachina we took a wine tour. The area has primo grape growing condtions for wine as we all know it and Pisco, Peru´s national booze. The first winery we hit up was a typical industrial winery. We tasted the so-so wines and moved on. The second windery was a traditional Peruvian winery. We were given a tour around all the traditional methods of making Pisco from the grape stomping basin to the ingenious old school distillery. Pisco is always 44% alcohol so yeah, pretty stiff. It reminds me of Korean soju but not as raunchy. The tasting was a jovial affair, I can't think why, and at the end we all bought a bottle of something. The guy that was taxi-ing us around was, by this time, seriously cracking us up. From his honking at pretty girls to blaring Bryan Adams (we all sang along and I´m not even kidding, Darren was all "Who is this?"). The third winery was the most traditional and our taxi driver himself gave us the tour which consisted of walking around the cellar (bizzarely adorned with treasures and artifacts from ancient Peruvian cultures including Nazcan skulls, 1,400 year old linens, and stuffed baby seals. Shit was crazy) and imbibing straight from the pottery gourds. Many shots later I was buying a little bottle of god know's what reddish Peruvian sweet wine ("Peruvians like their wine sweet"). Might crack into it tonight as we've returned to a Lima that has shut down all it's avenues of selling alcohol for 4 days because there is a municipal election. We're off to Costa Rica tommorrow so it's adios to Peru. Here are our final reflections:
1. Peruvians are really fricking nice. There's none of that machismo or aggressiveness you get in, for example, Mexico (don't be mad, love you Mexico!). Peru has a gentleness about it that I just wasn't expecting. A girl I briefly worked with over the summer said the total opposite was true. I had a hunch she was going to be wrong. Travelling is largely what YOU make of it!
2. By far our favourite part was trekking the Inca trail. It was just monumental.
3. Peruvian drivers should be Grand Prix drivers. They'd wipe the floor with everyone else. Organised chaos at it's finest.
4. One day we want to come back to visit the Amazon in the wet season with parrots and caiman abounding! Bonus - sunshine in Lima, that'd be nice.


  1. What? No posts in eleven days? Quit slacking off you two!

  2. sounds awesome , but im with matt..whats new?! haha, i really enjoy your guys' blog, so yeah, talk to me(us)...lots and lots of love, missing you guys, but cant believe i'll see you in like 6 or 7 weeks?!?!?!?

  3. Ok, I'm all caught up. Awesome musings and beaut pics. Revelling in your fun as well as remembering some of my own South American adventures. Can't wait to read the Costa Rica entries. Planning a trip...