The last few days have melted away, so lets see what of them remains in my memory. After the Islas Ballestos, Zack and I walked out the the Panamerican Highway from the Reserve and after walking for an hour or so, finally were able to flag down a local bus to Ica, the capital town of a region known for its wine production. Essentially, all Peruvian wine production comes out of Ica. However, we had no plans to stay in Ica--instead, we hopped into a tuk-tuk and made our way to the desert oaisis of Huacachina, a tiny town that surrounds a tiny laguna in the middle of the soft dune desert 4km east of Ica.
Since then the following things have happened:
Hotel with a pool I haggled the lady down to s/.20/night, same price as a dorm bed in the hostel next door.
Made friends with dutch folks.
Ate dinner in the hostel, made more friends.
Explored the flour soft dunes at night with Zack, found a clapboard dune city.
Hung out with a group of Peruvian 15 year olds.
Went to the Museo Regional de Ica, saw mummies, and elongated/trepinated skulls.
Ate huge fish lunch in the Ica market for s/.5.
Rented sandboards and taught ourselves to surf the dunes.
Met up with our dutch friends and their friends and tore up the tiny oasis town; we all climbed the highest dune over looking the town and hung out in the clouds as the midnight fog rolled in until we couldn't see our hands in front of our faces. All together, counted down from 30 and ran down the dune blind. --So cool.
Packed up and hired a taxi to take us to a winery 30km south of Ica. Winery was closed:(
Hopped on a bus heading south to the Nazca lines.
Met a Peruvian guy and his Mexican son on a road trip. They invited us to join them as they explored the Nazca and Palpa lines.
We went to 3 overlooks and the House/Museum of Maria Riche (Munchener; studied the lines since 1925, local hero/legend).
Left father/son and walked forever with too little food/water until we got to Nazca, booked a hotel room (s/.50) and a guide for Cerro Blanco ($50).
Woke up at 4:30am to climb Cerro Blanco, the worlds tallest sand dune. Hiked 2000m in rocky mountain terrain, made an offering of fruit, cocoa, and cigarettes to Pachamama. Hiked another 2000m in flour soft white sand; carrying snowboards. Hot sun, hot sand. Steep.
Sand boarded down the face of Cerro Blanco (to match my experience volcano boarding down Cerro Negro). Made one clear run of about 600m at probably 50kmph, then totally wiped out as I tried to slow down. Head over heels, board still strapped to my feet. As I smacked down on the first roll, the water reservoir in my pack exploded. Badly bruised my back.
Zack also got pretty beat up. We both went home with badly bruised tailbones. We had planned to see a ruins site that afternoon, but by the time we got back to the hotel all we wanted was caldo de gallina, and sleep.
Next day, Las Ruinas Peredones, Lineas de Taler, Aquaductos de Callejon.
Collectivo to Puerto Lomas. Turned away at the gates to Reserva Punto Lomas. Stopped by the police station to ask if it was safe to camp on the beach. Set up camp 1km from town in the high winds on the sea shore.
Dinner of instant Alfredo and canned fish. Hot chocolate. Wine from Ica.
Next morning: Split up, went to town in shifts; I climbed over the reserve wall to take photos, found an amazing stone arch. Bought food and a little pot.
Cooked dinner in my new pot as Zack went to town to take photos. Veggie stew with chamote. Spicy. Later on had a bonfire, sipped pisco and juice.
Woke up this morning and ate tuna on bread, oranges. Took our sweet time packing up camp. Went to town for water.
Walked 7km through the desert to get to the Panamerican highway.
Ate a big ass lunch on the highway. Flagged down a collectivo to Chala.
In the collectivo, met a tiny drunk gold miner who taught me Quechua. Also, taught English to Samuel, Gloria, and Victoria, siblings with their parents who were a bit to excited to play with Zack's camera.
Arrived at Puerto Inca resort (s/.189!) on the sea, outside Chala (tiny fishing town) set up our tents in their campground (s/.13), showered in their facilities--hot water!!! Just now tucking into a cold frothy Cusqueña :)
My hair is irreparably damaged from salt, sun, and sand. Need some Pantene up in here.