After a week or so out of the loop, I am finally sitting down to write. I got to Lima and needed a break from all of the “normal” stuff, so I didn’t want to write at all, and I didn’t even take many pictures. But it has been good.
So from last I wrote, I was in Tacna. I went straight up the coast to Ica, a medium sized city in Peru in the desert. After a short taxi ride a few miles out of town, I was in the popular tourist place called Huacachina, known for its monstrous sand dunes surrounding the town and lake in the center. I found a nice hostel there with a resort feel…a nice pool, a bar just outside the pool, and plenty of space for people just to hang out. I pretty much relaxed by the pool most of the day, then at night took a nice walk into the dunes. As the sun set, the temperatures dropped and the people came out. There is a lot of sandboarding, which is pretty much just a snowboard on the sand dunes. It is actually a lot like snowboarding but with a bit more friction. At night, the hostel had a big barbeque so everyone was just hanging out there for the night.
The next day, I woke up at a decent time to try to go a bit higher on the dunes. It’s tough work getting up these steep dunes, but a nice workout on the calves! Just the size of these dunes are impressive, taking about 20 minutes to get to the top of one. Going down is fun, since you can run and jump your way down with ease.
That night, I took the tour offered by my hostel which is sandbuggying and sandboarding. Pretty much everyone jumps into a dune buggy and the driver takes you on a roller coaster like ride up and down the dunes. It reallly was thrilling, especially when you get to the top of a dune, and the other side drops off to the point where you can barely see it. After some riding in the buggy, we got dropped off at a few of the dunes to do sandboarding. After a few tries, I was able to stay up a bit. But the real fun was when they took us to the huge dunes for a type of sledding on the boards, but on the stomach. Some of these were dunes somewhere around 100 yards long, and you fly down these headfirst on a little board. Then back into the dune buggy for more. As the sun was setting, the colors in the sand and sky were fantastic. The whole 2 hour tour was thrilling, and one of the cooler things I have done in South America!
The following day, I took a 5 hour bus to get to Lima. Travis’s classmate, Troy, just moved to Lima in November, so he invited me to stay with him. He lives in one of the best locations in Lima, right along the coast and in the best neighborhood called Miraflores. The view out of his front window is ridiculous. All you can see is the park along the coast, and then behind that is only the ocean.
It was great to stay with Troy. After 3 months of traveling, it was good to hang out with an old friend. We could catch up on what’s going on back home, family, even reminiscing about high school football days. We definitely kept busy as well.
On Friday, when Troy was working, I met up with a few Couchsurfing and took a walk around the city of Lima. Saw the Plaza de Armas, toured a church with catacombs, had a nice lunch, then went to a park full of various fountains. That night, Troy and I went to an embassy party. There I definitely felt like a bum with my twice repaired jeans, dirty white shoes, and without a button down shirt. But what can you do? Still was a fun time.
Saturday, we went to an event they call HASH, which is an international running/walking group. Every few weeks, they set up a course and the group gets together on a Saturday to do a 10k run/walk. Nothing competitive, just for fun. There were people from all different nationalities there. Afterwards, we had a few beers and some ceviche.
On Sunday, Troy and I decided to go out and try some surfing. He just bought a board and wanted to try it out, so I went with and rented a board there. I had only done it once before, when I was in Australia, but at least I had a bit of an idea. It was tough, but still a fun time. I would definitely get into surfing more if I lived on the coast.
So today I am going to catch a bus up north and hopefully cross the boarder to Ecuador tomorrow.
On a sad note, I used a washing machine for the first time that I have been in South America. That means 6 months of washing my clothes by hand, which doesn’t do the job as good as a machine. Out of my excitement of getting to use a machine, I forgot that you shouldn’t tumble dry merino wool shirts. That means my main shirt that I have worn almost every day for the past 6 months, now has holes and will probably only get worse. Sad since this is one of 2 tshirts that I have now. I have gradually lost a lot of clothes along the way, and even threw out all of my socks since they were just ridiculous with the holes and the smell. So my inventory of clothes is pretty low now, but only a month left!
After staying with Troy for the weekend and taking it easy, I feel more charged up and ready to head to Ecuador and Colombia to finish my trip. Many people say Ecuador, and especially Colombia are the best places in South America, so I am looking forward to seeing how it is.