Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Earth! Wind! Water!

No fire, but with these powers combined... we have toured about Peru's southern coast. Yes, I am a dork - this is the best I could come up with as the desert sun fries my brains.

Water! In Pisco, we hopped on a boat and sped a little ways out into the ocean to see the Islas Ballestas. There were seabirds, sea lions, and penguins galore. Pisco itself, however, was ravaged by an earthquake a couple of years ago and piles of rubble can still be seen all over town where buildings used to be. Doesn't seem like the town has quite recovered yet...

From The Trip, pt. 3: Pisco to Nazca

Earth! In Huacachina, we hopped on a dune buggy and tore around the very large dunes that surround this little town centered on a desert oasis lagoon. I smiled so hard my face hurt. It was like being a rollercoaster, except sandier. Once up top they let us out to strap wooden sandboards on our feet, then laughed at our pitiful attempts to not completely bite it as we 'surfed' down. I think I might have gotten up to 30 miles per hour on the last hill, going face first, which is counterintuitively less dangerous than sitting on the board, lower center of gravity I guess. Unlike Pisco, Huacachina has been ravaged by party-seeking foreign tourists and the whole town is stuck in a time warp of perpetual spring break. Our hostel had a pool with a bar, happy hours, all you can drink bbq's and people did party like it was a Sunday in Peru. On our way out of town I was sitting reading on a bench waiting for John while he interneted and my bench started to shake a little. I was confused thinking someone was running by or maybe a big truck was about to pass, but it kept shaking for no apparent reason. I looked down and saw the bench was cemented to the sidewalk and realized that after five years of living in San Francisco, I was experiencing my first earthquake while in South America. Nothing to worry about though, mom.
From The Trip, pt. 3: Pisco to Nazca

Wind! Finally, in Nazca, we hopped on a six seater aeroplane for an 'overflight' of the mysterious Nazca Lines. There is enough controversy swirling around these giant geoglyphs to impress the likes of Dan Aykroyd or to feature prominently in that last installment of the Indiana Jones saga that I wish I could forget. My favorite explanation of these rock formation that can only be appreciated from the air involves the shamans. Apparently when they imbibed the hallucinogenic juice of a local cactus, they thought they could fly and they saw squiggly images of the animals they revered: monkey, hummingbird, condor, snake, whale, spider. So they drew these images in the dirt then used a piece of rope and a thousand years to increase the scale of these pictures to vast proportions, which are now appreciated by tourists in little planes, thereby benefitting the present town of Nazca with a booming tourist economy. Nazca seems to be handling it better than Huacachina.

From The Trip, pt. 3: Pisco to Nazca

So that brings you up to speed, planeteers. This afternoon we are headed down to Arequipa, which, they say, is hip.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying your travel tales, Shanny D. I especially like the story of the suicidal fish named Breakfast. Looking forward to reading more (and seeing pics!).