Trip Start Jun 14, 2005
Trip End May 12, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, February 6, 2006

Well, Ive realized since Trujillo how truly important my Lonely Planet guide really is, im going to guard it with my life! After arriving in Lima and once again navigating by word of mouth I ended up in the very center of one of the biggest cities in South America and for the next four hours I followed suggestion after suggestion from locals trying to find a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to South America. Finally... and I mean finally I ended up in a part of town 30 minutes away from where I started and walked into a book store and with great jubilation found a copy! Although it costed twice the price it does here, after 5 hours I really didnt care and bought it on the spot. I then caught a bus to Pisco and prepared the for the next day in the wonderful Ballestas Islands and the Paracas Peninsula. Otherwise known as the Poor Mans Galapagos, these two locations form the most important bird and marine Sanctuary on the Peruvian coast. These two places are so packed with birds and their droppings (guano) that in some places their droppings are as deep a 50 meters deep! Their importance goes back to Incan times as a great fertilizer, but no Incan could have known that by the 19th century these dropping would become the principal export of Peru and so lucrative that the Guano War of 1865 with Spain was fought over a few closeby Guano-rich islands. However, today due to over-exploitation these birds are left pretty much to themselves, except for the tourist boats (like mine) that visit the islands for pictures.

The islands were actually really neat and I got to see plenty of boobys, pelicans, Humboldt Penguins and Sea Lions! The only animals I missed were the Chilean Flamingos, which happen to be there in Chile right now. On route to the islands we also saw an ancient figure, a 1000 year-old Candelabra, etched into the sand by the ancient Paracas (more to come as I head down to Nazca). From there we were herded into buses (somehow I found myself the all Peruvian bus, but had no problem understanding the guide) to spend the rest of the day visiting geological formations and beaches in the desert-like Paracas Reserve. Overall the trip was rather memorable packed with a lot of natural beauty and animals. Tomorrow Im heading off to Nazca to see some more ancient figures in the sand. Until then...
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