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Lima to Pisco

PERU | Saturday, 27 September 2008 | Views [2888]

Another thing I had forgoten about Latinoameica was the buses. They´re more like planes. We left our hostel in Lima to get a bus to Pisco - thankfully only 6 blocks which gave us the opportunity to try out packs out walking a little in the heat. The double decker bus - not in London style, or even Oxford Tube!! took about 4 hours to get to Pisco. Reclingin seats, footrests, a decent DVD and even an airplane style meal. M & S don´t do Peruvian buses, but if they did ...

On August 15th 2007 a 7.95 earthquake had its epicentre 25km off the coast of Pisco. A large proportion of buildings were damaged or destroyed. We didnt know what to expect really. As the bus rolled in we saw the continuing devastation. Rubble piles in the streets, gaps where you would imagine buildings should be, large cracks in whatever is left standing.

A crows of peopele shouting kelly accosted us as we alighted the bus. Thankfully my command of the vernacular enabled me to handle the situation and identify the true person who i had arranged with over the phone. We were taken down a few side streets with mangy dogs and nonchalant kids (and more rubble) to our hostal ' San Isidro.

What a contrast - gorgeous, a pool, a TV in the room (isnt this supposed to be a hostel) towels!! As Percy, our guide, explained tomorrow´s events a few others emerged. 7.15 start ... about time we had to set an alarm! We ventured out with the lovely people we met in the hostel for dinner, armed with the same recommendation ' el dorado. The only restaurant in town. I didnt believe them - despite the fact that the others who had arrived in the morning  and had ALL eaten there at lunch. We found another place, the prime driver being our desire to spread the tourist dollar a little wider. It was great, especially the translations of the menu.  I wnet for fish with african sauce but "Fish, to the male thing with crab lancets" took the proverbial biscuit. Many laughs were had before retiring. We like Pisco, especially the fact that the food was great and there was no water in the place for tap or flush.  

Up early for a tour of the Islas Ballestas and Parracas National Park. Took a fast speedboat out to the islands to see an amazingly lage, noisy and amonia smelling collection of sealions, cormorants, inca gannets, penguins and gannets. I´ll spare you the natural history but i did wish for smellovision as the ammonia was pungent. Peru actually exports guanno (or bird shit to the un-initiated) to 3 continents! 

We passed by the candelabro on the way, a cactus like shape in the sand which ihas been around for a long time but no-one can explain what it is or why its there. All we know is the Spanish did NOT do it.

On to the national park, or the desert as it should be known. Irish people are not used to the desert. Im going to leave it at that. I love it! A sandstorm approaching - parracas means sandstorm in Quecha - we left for lunch in a tiny hishing villahe that had only just got its wind back after the earthquake. Fabulous!

BAck to Pisco. We needed some cash so went to the main square (always called plaza de armas) to make a withdrawal.

All hell broke loose - police in flak jackets, drum troupes in uniform, mariachi teens and street porpcorn/pineappple/piknmix/chorro vendors galore. We should have known ' today was international day of the tourst! But way more imprtantly, it was Pisco´s time to celebrate the recovery and anticipate the future. The government seems to have screwed them and the only income seems to come from those tourists brave or ignorant enough (we were the latter) to come along. Look at the photos ' they speak louder than my words.

Anyone reading this who is thinking of coming to Peru ... don´t be mislead by anyone who says that this place is dangerous or uncomfortable ' it´s absolutely fab and it really needs people to come and be touristy. People are still living in tents that were given by the red cross a year ago. But they are selling lovely pineapple slices in the square and are having a laugh despite everything. I´d love to stay longer, but we must push on or we´d never make it! 

Tags: boat, culture, desert, earthquake, island, peru, wildlife


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