Monday, 14 January 2013

Best laid plans of mice and men..........

Well we left Tacna on the bus headed for our Arequipa and I felt a little disappointed that the Dakar was so close and we wouldn't see our great surprise we crossed its path 3 or 4 times between Tacna and Arequipa. It was only some of the road sections, not the exciting sand stuff, but you got an idea of the sheer scale of the whole event. 

So that was surprise number 1, the second was Arequipa. We had flown in and bused straight out in October, not liking the noise and the pollution , but we stayed in the centre and the main plaza was absolutely stunning. We only had one night and managed to find a lovely, if expensive, veggie restaurant. We stayed in the "Amazing" hostel and it did not live up to its name!! It was okay, clean and comfortable for one night.

From Arequipa we thought we would have 3-4 nights in a place called Camana, find a hotel with a pool and just chill........mmmmmmmmm NOT!! It was a Peruvian beach resort, the hotel we thought of was hugely overpriced. So we crossed the road to sit down and re-group in one of the many roast chickens cafes. We had finished our chicken lunch when Chris realised he had left his small man bag on the bus!! He returned about 15 minutes later with the bag but minus his mobile phone and camera. The latter wasn't too bad, there were only a few photos on it and it was quite old. The phone then resulted in a hour of finding numbers to ring Virgin to alert them, he has a pay as you go SIM so could have had a huge bill. We found one of the downsides of Skype, when you ring a company with one of the automated systems, you know the type press 1 for this and 2 for that, you can't respond using skype.

I went to the tourist information and a really kind guy took me to the only other hotel in town with a pool, not a bad place but the pool had no water was relatively new and only 80 soles so we decided to stay just one night and move on to Nazca the next day and cut our losses.

Some towns in Peru have a central bus terminal but in others the companies are scattered about , Calama was one of those. We eventually booked a Cruz del Sur bus to Nazca, leaving at 6pm the next day........all of the bus companies told us there were no daytime buses. So we decided we would have to spend the next day in Calama and find something to do. We opted for a Chinese meal, the Peruvians call it "Chifa" and it is one way of getting at least some vegetables with a meal. As we left there was a bus office with, guess what a 10.30 am bus to Nazca........Ten minute walk back to Cruz del Sur and a little white lie that we had changed our plans ( they gave us a credit note) and our bus was booked for Nasca. Hurrah one little ray of sunshine at the end of a bad day.

We are staying in the Nasca trails hostel, the owner Jaun was in London for 5 years and he speaks  English with a very " British colonial" accent. Its a little way from the centre but it is clean and comfy, lovely breakfast and speed wi-fi........our needs are simple.

Nasca is quite a lively little place and we have had a couple of lovely set meals. nothing flash some home-made soup and then the ever-present rice with meat and a little salad. These places charge 5-8 soles ( £1.25-£2) and it usually includes a soft drink too. Turn over is fast and the food is always piping hot, although the main course usually arrives when you are halfway through the soup. There was loads of noise and buzz on Saturday, the Miss Nasca competition was on. We are 5 blocks from the plaza and it sounded like the music was next door.

Yesterday we flew over the Nasca lines and it was stunning, I was a little nervous for two reasons. Firstly there have been a few crashes in recent years........and secondly there are tales on the internet of horrendous motion sickness due to the small planes, the wind and the swirling around to see the figures. Chris was his usual laid-back self, it will be fine!! I took 2 travel sickness pills and only had a small breakfast and it was fabulous. I decided not to take photos, there are fabulous ones on-line and just enjoyed the flight and focused on seeing the figures. There a fascinating phenomenon and if you google, Nasca lines you can see the images and read a bit about them.There are all sorts of theories about why they were created. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip and well worth the $80 we paid. We booked it through our hostel and it was all very slick and well organised. Phew!!

Today we leave for Pisco, booked for 4 days in a hostel with pool.............and hopefully some water in it. Then we are taking a bus up to Ayacucho. Its up in the Andes, a bit off the usual gringo trail but after nearly 2 weeks of desert in Chile and Peru a bit of green will be good. We haven't booked anything but have found a really good website called Pacarama which has hotels/hostels etc in South America. We hopefully will be able to walk etc and enjoy the mountain view. Ayacucho's claim to fame is two fold, it has 33 churches, one for each year of Christ's life and is a place people go for Easter and it was the base of "Shining Path" a terrorist group in Peru. 
But first Pisco, which sadly was devastated by an earthquake in 2007, and a trip to the Islas Ballestas. It is called the Peruvian Galapagos.

Take care wherever you are.
No photos this time , check out google images for the lines!!
Till next time 

Norma xx

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about the camera and phone. We found with Skype we could bring up an image of a keyboard and use that to click or also use the numbers on the laptop which got around the recorded message problem when they ask you to key in numbers. May be of use in the future.