The Adventures of April

We shall not cease from exploration - And the end of all our exploring - Will be to arrive where we started - And know the place for the first time. -- T.S. Eliot

Monday, March 19, 2007

Las Islas Ballestas and Huacachina

This past weekend Gabe and I ventured south to the Islas Ballestas and Huacachina. We wanted a bit of adventure, and unfortunately we got more than we bargained for. Gabe's nice 35 mm camera was stolen on the bus on the way down. It was a nice bus, and the bag was underneath his seat the entire time, but the robbers are extremely talented here.

Friday night we stayed in Pisco. After some somber moments in the police station to report the robbery, we found a place to stay and some dinner. We noticed that a lonely backpacker was about to eat dinner alone, so we invited him to eat with his. His name was something like Ido and he was from Israel. Interesting person, like all of the Israelis I met this fall he had just finished his mandatory time in the army. He did tell us in some detail about bootcamp. (At this moment I could use various references to Buster's time in Army, but I'll just leave you to reflect fondly.)

After a (short) night's sleep, we were up and at 'em for our 7 AM boat tour of the Islas Ballestas. It was great to be out on the ocean in the sun, and I always enjoy wearing things like orange life jackets and helmets. In the desert near the islands is a huge mysterious form of a candelabra that has been carved into the hill for hundreds of years. The islands were of course teaming with wildlife - hundreds of birds, sealions, and penguins. The boat was also quite peaceful for a little nap on the way back to land.

In the afternoon we jumped on the bus down to Ica. Ica is just a big dirty city (sorry, Icans.) I sat in the park and drank a milkshake while Gabe went to check out the stolen camera market. Unfortunately he did not find his camera. We then took a cab a short ride to the oasis of Huacachina, a little cluster of hotels and restaurants around a small oasis catering to backpackers and travelers.

At the hotel where our sand buggy tour was to start, I was standing at the counter and I looked over and recognized the couple standing next to me. I had ridden in a bus with them over 5 months ago from San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico to Panajachel, Guatemala! They have been traveling this entire time! We remembered each other and had a nice chat. Small world!

Okay, back to business. Saturday afternoon we went on a dune buggy and sand boarding ride. The dunes here are incredible - exactly how you'd imagine the Sahari desert. Literally mountains of sand stretching out into the distance. Sand boarding was a blast. I laid on the board on my stomach and went down the huge dunes face first. I was a bit scared at first, but the sand is more forgiving than snow. I was the first to try a new big hill that we arrived at. Without thinking I gave it a go. Wow - was I going fast! To let your elbows slip off the board is to get the skin sanded off! I was going so fast that I went down one hill, up the next, caught a few feet of air and slide down the rest of the hill! By the end of it I was laughing pretty hard because those airborne moments caught me off guard!

We flew around in the buggy for a bit, up and down steep hills. We watched the sunset and got a nice view of the oasis. On the way home I was literally coated with sand (darn that sun screen!) and ended up dipping in the pool at midnight when we finally got back to Lima.

Weekends like these always make Monday mornings a bit difficult, but I can't complain!

Pictures, from top to bottom: Penguins; sea lions; arches; Gabe striking his classic pose on dune; me lookin' h-o-t; Gabe and I with the dune buggy; the oasis; the sunset.


At 5:16 PM, March 21, 2007, Blogger Andreita said...

Nice! You are tan girl! Thanks for the postcard of human remains! I'm putting it on my desk at school to remind my students of what will happen if they perform poorly on my unit test! ha ha haaaaa

At 6:03 PM, April 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, April! I am incredibly jealous of you seeing penguins! And riding a dune buggy! I want to know how much sand ended up in your mouth, hair, and ears. :-)



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