Sunday, February 26, 2006

Peru is a Stomach Ache

Not too much to write about which will at least make this one a bit less of the novel that my last few entries have become.

Dan and I left Arequipa on a bus in which our seats just barely reclined...needless to say it was necessary to take a nap once we arrived in Huacachina. A little green oasis set upon a lagoon and surrounded by mountains of sand, Huacachina is the most "Savannah" like place that I've ever been. Uninspired, we sat by the pool and read until our 4:30 dune-buggy/sandboarding debut. Dune-buggies are fun, there is no doubt about that, and our ride was like a roller-coaster. Sandboarding is fun too, same concept as snowboarding but slower, a bit different technique, and harder falls. The three of us in the buggy came to the consensus that it was more fun to go straight down, head first and to see who had the courage to minimize their drag the most and therefore go the fastest. Then a great sunset over the desert (and a chicken farm in the the desert, our guide told us, to keep them away from disease) and we returned through darkness to our oasis.

Peru has a lot of tourist trap type places; the type of places that the guide says is good and people suggest, but only because there is nothing else that is more exciting to do. So we took off for Paracas, home of the "poor man's Galapagos," which was sure to be a let down and at least in that regard it didn't fail us.

Sea lions, thousands of birds, amongst which we saw a few penguins...and that was it. Let down and ripped off we started our journey to Lima. Only a 3 hour bus ride or so, but could have proved much worse.

I got on the bus and Dan stayed outside until our luggage was safely under the bus and locked away. As I got on the bus a guy passed and told me to put my stuff up top (we were so frustrated with Peruvians at that point that any word was taken with resentment and definite suspicion), then as I couldn't find two seats next to each other he asked a woman in the second to last row, without our knowledge, to get up so that we could sit there. A bit bewildered, we sat down with these guys (we found out later there were 2 involved) behind us. I felt a splash on the back of my legs and looked down to see that water had been spilled on the floor behind us. A few miles down the road Dan realized he'd put his backpack in the water and the guy's behind quickly suggested that some kid had peed on the floor and that he should put his backpack above his head (so they could steal it). A good scam, but we were well onto it by then and after exchanging a few strong words they got off the bus at the next stop...presumably to do the same scam on the way back.

And now we're in Lima, where a serious lapse in judgement from Arequipa has limited our weekend activities to movies, frequent naps, and staying close to the bathroom. Had I been alone I would have never eaten ceviche (raw fish) in a dirty market in an inland city...but Dan loves the stuff and I had yet to try it. So seeing as quite a few other people were eating it and having a bit too much confidence in my stomach...I got myself into the situation in which I now find myself. We splurged and ate some Fridays and Papa Johns, hoping American food would somehow clear things up...after the food coma that came along with eating Fridays, we still find ourselves entrenched in the apartment.

And that's it. Next move is it to the Cordillera Blanca (second highest mountain range) and Huaraz, then onto the largest left-hand wave in the world at Trujillo. I'll be in touch.


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