I won´t begin by mentioning the aforementioned bag loss, as we´re just about over it. Really, we´re moving on, know that the most important things are still around etc etc.
So, to Lima. We had heard awful things about the place so we approached with the same sense of anticipation as we had Quito. Although this time it was mixed in with the major excitement of meeting up with one Mezza Twomey and one Maura Lucey. We´d organised an airport transfer (first time having my name held up at the airport – fuh-nee) and were whisked through crazy traffic to a fancy part of Lima called Miraflores. All grand Spanish colonial houses and trees. Not the Lima we´d expected. Mez was at the hostel waiting for us (met Maura at the airport) and it was hugs and beers all round. Now we were a gang!
Next day walked down to Miraflores to check out the beach.
Plenty of surfers and we couldn´t figure out how polluted the water was from our view up on the hill. Miraflores gets covered in a full-on smoggy mist, almost looking like rain. Couldn´t figure out how polluted this was either.
We´ve all agreed that supermarkets are a fascinating place to visit while travelling. The one in Miraflores was hoooge and so bright and exciting. We hung out there a bit.
And then to central Lima, where we were sure we´d find evidence of the horribleness of this city. Alas, we found ourselves grand buildings and squares, a yummy cheap lunch and big Pisco Sours in an old 1920s hotel bar. John and I even visited a black market area to try to find our stolen goods (how sad) and even here the dodgy levels didn´t come close to, say, John´s ever-growing beard (though we did see some ´numchuckas´ for sale). Our experience of Lima was just, kinda, nice.
But onwards bound and it was amazing how quick the landscape turned all deserty heading south from Lima. We were heading to Huacachina, 4km from Ica, a tiny oasis town set around a lagoon and surrounded by massive sand dunes. Sandboarding is the thing to do. Hard friggin´work! I tried to stand up and at most went about three metres before falling on me ass. Or my face. One time i fell forwards and went face first into the sand. I have no idea what my hands were doing, but they didn´t save me.
Then we went on a dunebuggy tour. Crazy fun. Like a rollercoaster on sand.
There were seven of us in the buggy and we raced up and down sand dunes, flinging from side to side. Plenty of involuntary squealing and oohing and aahing (not from john ed.).
We stopped a few times for everyone to board down big dunes. Nearly everyone went down on their bellies, and you just zoom! (we have some vids we can email but they are between 5 & 7 meg, so let us know.)
And now we are in Nazca, and today we did a flight over the lines in a tiny five-seater plane. The experience of the plane tried to eclipse that of viewing the lines. We swayed heavily left and right so that we could all see the cool designs on the desert floor. I was glad i´d skipped breakfast. We flew over a dozen or so of the designs (the whale, the monkey, the hands etc etc) plus heaps of straight lines. We´d watched a doco on the lines as we waited for our plane so our heads were filled with all the various theories.
Then in the afternoon we were escorted by a larger-than-life driver (in a very large American vehicle called a dodge) on a tour to the Cemetery de la Chauchilla, containing tombs of the ancient Nazca people. Pretty ghoulish stuff. You look down into about a dozen open tombs and there are mummies in various states of decay sitting in there. They buried their dead in the Springy-squat position (or as the guide probably more appropriately called it, an (upright) foetal position), facing towards the east in readiness for reincarnation. All pretty fascinating, if a little weird perving on dead folk. Lots of little baby mummies too. The graves have all been robbed by bandits, as there´s no security at night – even today.
And now here i am in the internet cafe, waiting for our overnight bus. I´d normally be terrified of an overnighter but we´ve booked a fancy shmancy sleeper, that apparantly allows you to lie right down. And breakfast is served. We´ll see.
Not so good bits: poor Mezzarella. In Lima she sprained her ankle bad and has been hobbling. Then in the past couple of days she´s had an upset tummy and a fluey type thing. She came on the Nazca lines flight but had a little spew (bless her, it was done in a very demure fashion) and has spent the rest of the time in bed. It´s been damn hot in Nazca which can always be a little trying, but we´ve been mostly keeping things nice!