1 year after the earthquake in Pisco

Trip Start Aug 01, 2008
Trip End Aug 16, 2008

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Hi all,

    After my overnight stay at Lima, I am traveling again down the coast to Pisco. I really have no intention of staying here because I heard that after the earthquake last year, everything was practically destoyed.  I had to come down here because on eht the tourist attraction of Ballestas island and National Reserve of Paracas is just down the coast. I  ended up spending the night here at San Andres, which is about 3 miles south of Pisco.

    As most of you are aware, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake hit Peru last August with the epicenter at Pisco. DUe to the strength of the earthquake, the whole town was practically leveled to dust. Almost like the atomic bomb that went off here, every building came down.  The roads are in poor shape that when our bus arrived at Pisco, we had to be dropped out at outer edge of the town and some had to pick us up to the bus station. There is very significant damage on every corner of the town. The town´s people are barely coping with the aftermath of the quake by living in shacks and temporary housing. Even the church at the main square was signicantly damaged.

     I took a taxi to my hotel at San Andres. When I asked the driver about the quake, he got quite upset saying that the government downgraded the magnitude of the quake to avoid desaster relief. I felt really bad for him. 

     After dropping off my bag, I had my lunch of cerviche, which is the local specialty of lemon marinated fish and seafood fried rice. Then I took a walk down the coast and was surprised how many scallop shells I found on the beach.  The number of shells ont he beach is comparable to the once in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where it is also a hot spot for shell collecting. I kept a bunch of pretty looking shells and continued wondering down the beach.  As I walked further, I found a giant leatherback sea turtle laying dead on the beach. This is quite bad since this is the same species that I saw back in Costa Rica  that scientists are trying to protect. The turtle is in its advnaced stage of decomposition and covered with flies, so after I took a look, I just walked away feeling sad about the situation.  Also along the beach, I found dead dogs, dead seals and dead sea bird and whole sorts of trash. I was in utter shock about how many dead things I can find in one day.

     There were several local kids who came up to me asking were I am from and if I am a Chino versus a Japonese.  It is kind of funny. 

      I returned to my hotel and had a long chat with this girl called Jessica. She is from Great Britain and she has been here since November doing soem volunteer project.  When I told her about what I saw today on the beach, she was quite surprised to hear a large leatherback turtle got washed ashore. She was interested in removing the specimen for the local  scientists to have it placed in the local museum for display.  Jessica wanted to go down the coast to find that turtle shell and she went with the hotel owner who also happened to be involved in the local science project. But because the seun already set, its just too dark out to see anything, so I promised Jessica we would go out and look for the shell tomorrow morning.

      I am looking foward to my tour tomorrow to see some amazing LIVING wildlife that this place is famous for.
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