Huacachina, Peru
14° 5' S 75° 45' W
Jul 07, 2008 22:15
Distance 267km

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Text written in: English (US)

I have sand coming out of my ears

We took an absoutly lovely bus ride from Lima to the small, desert town of Huacachina. The views weren't that great (lots and lots of desert wasteland), but the bus is worlds away from the chicken buses of Guatemala. We even had a steward who served us lunch!

Anyhoo, Huacachina is about 5km outside of the city of Ica and is surrounded by HUGE sand dunes. The town is bascially a group of hostels around a small, probably man-made, lake. The main activities are sandboarding and dune buggy rides. Ica is also known for its wineries. We got into town, dropped off our bags and immediately left to go visit the wineries. I wasn't blown away by anything we drank, but I was especially turned off by pisco, sort of a Peruvian grappa. No gracias.

The next day we suited up and got ready to go boarding. Unfortunately, unlike skiing, there is no sand lift to take you to the top of the dunes, so we had to walk up. It is really, really hard to hike uphill on loose sand, btw. It was definitely our cardio for the day and by the time we got to the top (with many breaks), we had to rest before we could even attempt going down. We were told sandboarding is slower than snowboarding, so I was expecting a leisurely ride down. I was wrong. I picked up speed like crazy and had to fall to stop. Thankfully it was a very soft landing. I did that the whole way down, ending up with sand on every imaginable part of my body. Then we started up the hill again. This time I was more confident and only fell when I lost my balence. This was good and bad. A) I was improving, but B) I was going really really fast when I fell. Sweat mixed with sunscreen mixed with sand means that I was wearing a sand suit. I don't think I have been this dirty since I was 5 and we had a dirt pile across from our house. Erica looked like she changed races. You should see the state of our shower. I am still finding sand in my ears, my hair, everywhere.

That night, after we hosed off, we went to a BBQ down the street. It was only about $7 and was all you can eat and drink for 2 hours. Being a vegetarian, most of my caloric intake was liquid. I made friends with a Peruvian cab driver who gave me salsa lessons outside by his taxi. I was amazingly hungover this morning.

We were supposed to leave Huacachina this morning for the town of Nasca, but Peru is having an organized strike today, so people have blocked the highways, and according to the townsfolk, they are throwing rocks at cars and buses that pass by. We are stuck here until tomorrow when the strike is over. Le sigh. We are too sore to go boarding and running out of cash money (no ATMs in this tiny town), so we're trying to find things to keep us busy. Namely, napping. Fingers crossed we get out of here tomorrow!