It's been a while, but I am taking a turn writing a blog post. Given that we are speeding through new cities, there is not much opportunity for me to fulfill my end of our arrangement (I cook, Dalene writes!), so I'm giving her a break to let her creative mind re-energize. Our three nights in Huacachina were exactly what the doctor ordered. After our helluva trekking trip, ugly bus ride, and Dalene's not-so-fun birthday, we arrived in our oasis,
or at least a pool with beach chairs and sun. Huacachina is like a mirage - about 5km from the bustling town of Ica, this little oasis is a small tourist haven smack dab between sand dunes.
We are unsure if people even live here, but we are certain that the secret is getting out about this little gem. The main attraction to this little place is to take a dunebuggy up to the top of the dunes and sandboard down. I did get up early one morning to climb one of the dunes and see the magnificent views, however, that kind of action was not the purpose for this stop - we just wanted rest and relaxation! We reveled in the fact that we could just take 2 (which turned into 3) days to unwind and celebrate Dalene's birthday week properly. 3 days of lying in beach chairs, enjoying the company of the parrots living at the hotel, and dining on great Peruvian food recharged us for our upcoming journey north.
We arrived in Lima late in the day and were skeptical of even coming here based on other peoples dismal reviews, but we are sure glad we did. Although we were not here for the city - we were anxious to meet up with our good friend Yuri (the Peruvian with the Russian hockey name!) whom we met on the Uyuni Salt Flats tour. He has been an incredibly generous host, showing us much of what Lima has to offer. We stayed in touristy Miraflores which is not really a good representation of the poverty of Peru, the neighbourhood is quite luxurious, not quite what we expected:
But this is not what we wanted to see in Lima. We wanted some culture, something authentic off the gringo trail. Yuri took us to dine at authentic Peruvian restaurants, to see sights that not every tourist gets to see (including areas where even Yuri said that we should not be here as it is not safe, so we quickly left). Yuri even took care of our particular Canadian needs - when eating in one of Lima's finest Chifa's (Chinese restaurants, very popular here), Yuri asked the owners to change the TV channel from futbol to the Olympicos de Invierno so that we could see the Canada versus Russia hockey game. I am sure that the crowd in the restaurant was wondering what in the hell was on the screen, but they didn't change it back, so we got to see the Canadians dismantle the Russian squad (a great way to introduce hockey to our friend)!
We are sad to leave and say goodbye to Yuri, but are grateful again for our new friend-for-life!
We also made new friends from the UK who were staying at our hostel. They actually happen to be heading along the exact route we are taking up into Ecuador and Columbia so we are excited to have some travel mates for the next while. We didn't even really know it until we got here into Lima but they had been with the another group in the Colca Canyon with us (small world).
To whoever picked 6 months on our WTFWWTLGH pool - well, you lost! 6 months in today and we are still loving what every new place we visit has to offer. Lately though, we have been reflecting on the little things we do miss from home. Things we have caught ourselves saying we miss:
Dalene - dill pickle chips, a cat to snuggle with in bed, jeans, putting toilet paper in the toilet, and not having to wash underwear in the shower
Pete - free glasses of water at restaurants, dressing up, our comfy couch to watch movies on, and Guinness
And of course our friends and family who have sat on edge waiting for the next blog post and always wondering if we are safe!
After this milestone of 6 months of traveling we have gathered some interesting facts about our trip for you to enjoy:
Number of countries visited - 5
Number of countries left to visit - 9
Number of kilometers travelled - over 16,600
Number of hours spent on buses - 245 (approx 10 full days each!!!!)
Number of blog posts - 68 (including this one)
Number of times the blog has been viewed - 6,245
Number of downloaded photos - over 4,000
Number of times hard-drive crashed on computer - 1
Things that we have lost along the way - 2 pair of sunglasses (Dalene), towel (Dalene), tweezers (Dalene), umbrella (Dalene), laundry kit (you guessed it, Dalene). Hmmm... a bit of a pattern here?
So we will keep the posts coming. 6 months to go, 9 countries left to visit. The push is on, but we can't wait to see what is around the next corner!
For Nazca and Huacachina, click here
For Colca Canyon and Lima, click here