First Impressions of Peru – In and Around Lima, Peru

First Impressions of Peru

In and Around Lima, Peru

Peru Coast - Paracas
Peru Coast – Paracas
Greetings from Huaraz, Peru, nestled 3,000 meters high amongst the Andes Mountains. Ashley and I have had an eventful first 10 days here. We’ve survived coastal fog (aka smog), cockroaches, and Peruvian drivers. We have gone rafting in a WARM river, sandboarded down huge sand dunes to an oasis below, and hiked here in the Andes. We have also inadvertently attended an agricultural rally of some sort, a festival in honor of a small orange fruit of some sort, and met a guy named Shawn that lived 4 blocks away from me in Anchorage.

Lima is a loud and sooty city. We imagined that NYC may have been like this before the Clean Air Act and when it was still acceptable and expected to honk your car horn more often than not. Traffic lanes and stop signs are clearly only suggestions here. Cars jockey for position, honk, swerve, merge, and never appear to crash along the smoggy streets of Lima. Crossing the street is actually an art of stepping out in front of traffic at the most opportune time for there is no mercy to pedestrians attempting to cross the streets.

Oasis Sunset
Oasis Sunset
The taxis apparently have many more reasons to honk than Ashley and I can think of. They honk to let other cars know that they are not stopping at an intersection that they are approaching, they honk at pedestrians that are trying to cross the street, and they honk at any possible person that may need a cab ride (this is theoretically everybody walking down the street and the cabbies seem to agree with this theory). Even accounting for all these reasons to honk, we still cannot account for all the honking horns that were subjected to in Lima.

One of the highlights from Lima (other than hearing Homer Simpson and Duff Man dubbed in Spanish) was learning that Christ ate coy (guinea pig) at the Last Supper. It’s true. I’ve got a photo to prove it.

We left Lima to go rafting in a town called Lunahuana. Getting there took 3 buses that got progressively smaller and more crowded. The driver of the last bus insisted that he knew where we wanted to go and dropped us off at an agricultural rally. There were speakers, speeches, and lots of farmers cheering. Although there were free samples of pisco and wine at the rally, we really did prefer to go rafting in the town that we intended to go to. Once we got to where we originally intended we learned that their annual festival was that weekend and all the rooms in the small town were already rented. A rafting guide we met found us an extra bedroom in somebody’s house to rent. No matter how we thought about it, the rather well fed cockroaches that also rented out the extra bedroom with us could not be considered welcome guests in our minds.

While I was on the first leg of cockroach watch as Ashley attempted to sleep I tried to overcome my cockroach paranoia. How can I go camping in Alaska and willingly sleep (and soundly at that) in a tent that I may have just killed 100 blood sucking mosquitoes within but not feel comfortable sleeping in a room in which I have killed 5 cockroaches? No matter, I had to resign to the simple fact that cockroaches just flat creep us out. We were back on a bus before 6:30 the following morning.

Islas Ballestras
We next went to Huacachina, an oasis amongst some of the largest sand dunes in the world. I tried a bit of sand boarding and ended up with a few ounces of sand in my left ear. Other than that, we hung out by the pool and relaxed. Next we went on a boat journey to the “poor man’s Galapagos.” We saw many sea lions and birds, including some Humboldt penguins and of course thousands of Peruvian boobies.

Next we traveled in style in the front row of the upper deck of a bus headed to where we are now. The trip from the coastal desert to the high valleys of the Andes was amazing. The uphill climb was relentless, there was easily no flat or downhill spots on the road for the last two hours before the pass. Currently we are acclimatizing to the altitude here in town before heading out on an extended trek early next week. We are hoping to complete a 7 day hike through the mountains here.

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