Sand Dunes and Sunshine

Trip Start Jun 14, 2007
Trip End Aug 04, 2007

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arriving two hours late and somewhat dizzy from driving around mountain hairpin curves and dropping 11,000 feet while we slept, we climbed off the bus in Ica. Jim had called from Nazca to let them know we were going to be late and asked someone to pick us up at the bus station. We wandered inside and were gathering coins to make a call when a 1986 Ford E350 converted camper/van with verses painted on the top section rattled into the parking lot. Eric McKinley had arrived to pick us up.
While the kids and I went to fulltime workers Jorge and Chela Wong's house to shower and recuperate from 15 hours on a bus, Jim was taken directly to his ECS conference where he was running on the "hora Peruana" (Peruvian time)-in other words, late. Eric came to pick us up for lunch at the Bible Center. When we climbed in the van, he attempted to start it up. "Ay yi yi yi! Last night I had to sleep in the back on the street because it wouldn't start. Ay yi yi yi!" But the car started and we rattled our way through the narrow streets of peeling houses set right up to the roadhugging sidewalks.  
Jim had two more hours of meetings in the afternoon with the men who run the Bible Center (Emmaus office), are correctors, promoters and interested in working with the courses. Eric dropped him back at the house around 6 where he finally had his shower and short rest. The kids and I had spent the afternoon answering emails and uploading pictures online. After "lonche" (think British tea lite) with the Wongs we all went back to one more meeting where all students were invited and Jim gave a presentation on Emmaus work worldwide, which was followed by hot chocolate and delicious Peruvian paneton. (This Christmas cakey/bread was one of our favorites and I discovered that my recipe needs work. The real stuff is better!)

At 8 a.m. Jim left to speak at one assembly and we met him at the second at 10. By the time the meetings all ended at 12:30, he was zoning out. But lunch with the Wongs and enjoyable conversation revived us for a visit to Ica's famous sand dunes. Actually, if anyone reading this has heard of them, they have more than a passing knowledge of Peru, but they are fascinating. Giant 9 seater dune buggies were taking off into the dunes about every 10 minutes for a 2 hour ride through the dunes. Another way to enjoy the Sahara-like dunes was attempting to sandboard down. Jim and the kids opted for hiking up to the top of the nearest dune. After waving they disappeared behind it to reappear on the higher one beyond while I guarded the shoes and cameras. From up there it was sand dunes to the horizon.
Eric had parked the van in the lot and joked, "I hope you can find it. It's so common a vehicle." We all loaded in, four of us squeezed on the bench behind the driver. "Ay, yi yi yi!" The engine wouldn't turn over. But Eric got out and opened the hood, adjusted something and tried again. This time it worked. We were off for the village of Guadalupe where we would be attending night meetings.
We have known the Guadalupe fulltime worker Pedro Espinoza from our earliest days in Peru. He and his wife do a valiant work in this poor dusty village. About 20 showed up for the Breaking of Bread and 25 for the preaching service afterwards. As soon as it was over, people left and we were invited to down the dark passage way to the kitchen in the back for supper. Eric had gone off to preach at another meeting, but made the long trip back to have supper and pick us up.
Monday was another early morning-our teens are actually getting good at this!-as we drove off to catch a bus to Nazca to see the kilometers-long lines drawn in the sand by the Nazca civilization hundreds of years ago. No one knows why or how they drew these monkeys, humming birds and other creatures that are only visible from the air. Theories abound from the ridiculous (help from outer space) to the intriguing (they had perfected the hot air balloon). Machu Picchu was recently voted one of the new seven wonders of the world, but the Nazca lines are another wonder in Peru.

Once there the price of flights over the Nazca lines went up in increments of $5 by how soon you wanted to fly. As we had a 2:30 bus to catch to Lima, our flights cost $55 each plus the $3.30 airport tax. I'd had a good look at the lines 21 years ago, so I "stayed with the stuff" while the rest went up. Samuel got off the plane looking ghastly white, but Jim was green and carried a little bag with him. He'd gone up in 1985 and had the same problem, but we thought it was that the wings were under the windows. Those tight turns are just too much.

While we enjoyed the last sunshine we expect to see until we leave the Peruvian coast in two weeks, I found a store that sold some soda crackers and pop for the 6 hour bus trip to Lima, where we are now comfortably ensconced in the SAM (South American Mission) guest house, thanking God for firm beds and hot showers!
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Where I stayed
Sam Guest House
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