The One About The Penguin

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Now Im flying! March and April were fairly laid back months with regards to traveling, but I seem to have got a second wind from somewhere. I'd planned to head to the north of Per and sit on the beach for my last weeks, but entering into the last month of (Part 1 of) the trip my ideas started to change. Im now thinking that Id be a real shame to leave South America without exploring any of The Amazon, therefore I think Ill make a bee line for Iquitos rather than being lazy for the rest of my time here.

I had a really friendly woman sitting next to me on the bus that was really curious about the way that I was traveling. When I told her that I didnt have anything booked in Pisco for when I arrived there she just looked at me in shock and told me how great an adventure that would be. As you can imagine, when I stepped off the bus in Pisco I was ecstatic at repeating this adventure for about the 100th time within a year. Hoping that whatever place I found was clean, safe, cheap and bug-bed free. As it turned out, all these wishes came true.

I managed to avoid the hard sell from the owner of my hostel for a trip to Las Islas Ballestras (The Ballestras Islands). I then walked round town and ended up buying a more expensive trip. I justify it by saying that I hate getting hassled for trips from Guest Houses, when these places should be the one hassle free place that you can escape to.

After a short drive down the coast with a mini-bus of fellow trippers, we arrived at The Islands, I guess unsurprisingly there were loads of tourists here. Probably everyone that'd stayed in Pisco the night before had come down here today, there really isn't anything else to do in Pisco.

We got onto a speedboat which would sit about 40 people, it was a cool trip. We had a pod of dolphins playing around our boat as we pull out, followed by almost capsizing as half the boat rushed over to the other half to take a look. We sped out to the islands themselves and circled them for about an hour looking at sea birds, Sea Lions (Which translates as 'Wolves of the Sea', in spanish!) and penguins! It was the first time that I'd ever seen wild penguins and was pretty surprised to find them so far north, not very far from the equator. I guess it must be the equivalent of finding polar bears in Morocco.

Either way they were fantastic, and rather unfortunately the Israeli girl behind me thought that as well. Everytime we saw something great, she'd shreek right in my ear in order to tell her friend that was sitting right next to her about what she'd seen, we almost had a 'woman overboard' incident.

We got back to dry land and had a quick lunch before our tour around the national park. This section of the trip really seems like an add on in order to make the outing a full day. It was nice, saw some great scenery and birdlife, but it really didn't float my boat that much. The best thing about it was when we stopped for more food later on and I managed to try some fresh Ceviche for the first time, which tasted amazing. Ceviche is a cross between Sushi and Herring Rollmop, two of my favourite fish dishes.

At one point in the afternoon trip I was sitting listening to the guide explain something about where we were. Then I realised whatd been happening when she switched into English, shed been explaining it in Spanish! I have to stress that her accent was very clear, she spoke slowly and she wasnt talking about Nuclear Physics, but I was still chuffed that Id not even realised she wasnt speaking English. Its given me a real confidence boost with the language here.

Time is ticking on, and I'm now catching the plane home in 18 days time, time to keep moving, off to Lima next....
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