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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Tearin' up the dunes!

PERU | Friday, 18 January 2008 | Views [1773]

Huacachina is built on an oasis and it’s surrounded by sand dunes; the kind of landscape you’d find in Egypt or the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia. I got a Red Bull and a bottle of water and then searched around for a good restaurant for dinner. I eventually found one and I ordered spaghetti and French fries. While eating with a magnificent view of the oasis, dunes, and sunset, I met this young couple from Sweden.

As we were talking, they said I could stay at their place when I get to Stockholm. My dinner was 16 soles and I then went back to the hostel and went on the internet for awhile. I stayed on for a good while and I emailed everyone telling them about the Nazca Lines and all that stuff. At 10:30, the café closed and I went and took a shower. The room I’m staying is kind of dirty with no carpeting. I lay down and Teri and I were texting each other back and forth and I had a hard time falling asleep. I fell asleep for a few minutes until I heard something; wondering if there was a rat in my room. As dirty as this place is, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is

I woke up at 9:30 and I was all bit up by bedbugs last night. The bed was also very uncomfortable. That said, I went and washed up and locked my bags away. I borrowed a sandboard and booked a tour for 4:30 today. Last night I had thought I’d just go it alone, but the tour was only $11 or so. I took my board then and stopped for breakfast. I ate a chocolate-covered, fruit-filled pancake. It had apple, mango, pineapple, and banana; by far one of the most unusual combinations I’ve had here. I went around the corner and got a thing of sunscreen. Afterward, I began walking up one of the dunes, and it was like 105°F. I slid down once and then figured I’d wait for the tour. I went back to the hostel and got on the internet for awhile and then went swimming at 1:30. I was talking with these guys and a girl from Germany. At about 2:00 I walked down to the oasis and rented a kayak for 10 soles and went across with a lot of enthusiasm and took some photos. I noticed a black duck with a red patch on its head. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve now been kayaking in Australia, New Zealand, and here. There’s a mermaid statue by the oasis, and I got a photo while touching its breast, much like how you'd touch Juliet's breast.

Afterward I got spaghetti for lunch at a different restaurant than the one I ate at last night. As a kid, I ate spaghetti a lot, so I’m reliving that. My mother makes the best spaghetti sauce and I sure miss it. After eating, I walked around for a bit and then went back to the hostel. At 4:30 I was picked up for sandboarding. We were picked up in a dune buggy and we picked up a few other sand boarders before we drove up onto the dunes.

The landscape is so surreal and I felt like I was on another planet. We went over some steep dunes and the ride in the dune buggy is an experience in itself. At our first stop, I got some photos of myself doing handstands and jumping through the air.

Afterward I got a photo where I had this girl stand on a distant sand dune to make it look like I’m holding her in my hand. It’s the kind of photo that is commonly taken at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia; another place on my list of 100 travel goals.

At 5:00, it was much cooler out; the perfect temperature for sandboarding. I was then ready for my first go. After strapping up, I went down a few yards before falling. Earlier I was envisioning myself tearing up these dunes.

I made it the rest of the way down and the driver picked us up in the dune buggy. On my second go, I was going straight down very fast until I took a nasty fall, hitting my head and seeing stars. I was lucky I didn’t break my neck. Teri’s necklace, which bears a serenity prayer, is probably what saved me from that death-defying ordeal. After laying in shock for a few minutes, it was time to move onto another dune. This time I went on my stomach. The ride went a lot smoother. Next up was an area where I could possibly go straight over another dune, but people kept walking in the way and I missed the opportunity. Next up came the biggest dune of all. First, I tried to go on my feet, but I fell. So I made my way back up and I went super fast on my stomach. It was much fun and well worth the money. We took photos with our boards and we drove back.

I sat in the front seat and admired the beautiful sunset. The buggy ride felt like a roller coaster at some points. Back near the oasis, we had one final go and then we went back to our respective hostels. I walked down to one of the stores and got a Red Bull and an ice cream sandwich to toast another good day. I then got on the internet for awhile and talked to Felix. I told him I’d see him and hopefully Margarita tomorrow. I also emailed a few people about free places to stay in London, and I’m keeping my head up that someone responds. At 9:00, I got my stuff and booked a night at the hostel across the street. It is much nicer than the one I stayed at last night. It was only 15 soles. I sat in my room for awhile and was talking with this girl named Ella. She’s Czech, but lives in Wyoming. One of her dreams is to climb Mt. Aconcagua, which is more than 22,000 feet high. She also works as an outdoor instructor. About a week ago I was feeling like I was ready to go home, but I really feel like now that I don’t want to leave. At the bar, I met a young man named Brandon, and we were talking about his travels in South Africa and Namibia. I would like to someday do a huge trip throughout southern Africa. I want to visit Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, and Gabon. Perhaps I’ll go with the Peace Corps someday. Brandon was also telling me about how he knocked out two teeth while wakeboarding when his knee came up and hit him in the mouth. That sounds extremely painful! We also talked about his trip to Cuba, which is another place on my list. Another trek on my list is the Darien Gap in Panama. Brandon said I have some serious balls! Earlier as I was cleaning out my bag I found $40 in one of my pants pockets. That’ll cover my departure tax. I went upstairs and met a cute girl named Shayla, but she was very drunk. She got sick and threw up, but I sat with her for a few minutes to make sure she was alright. At midnight I lay down after another exciting day. 

Tags: adrenaline, adventures, sand dunes, sunsets


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