Surfing! Sandboarding and driving stick!

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Volunteer house

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ah its been an eventful past 10 days indeed! A lot of new things thats for sure. Surfing lessons, sand buggying (ha thats a word right?), sandBOARDING, learning how to drive stick, and insane car rides and very questionable Peruvian bus trips...

So I spent the last 10 days on the coast of Peru in San Bartolo with Ellie and her husband, and even though my surfing skills didnt EXACTLY compare to the other surfers---let alone the Latin American surfing champ who lives there-- I still had a crazy good time.  Its definately harder than it looks Ill tell you-- and pretty scary when you wipe out under a huge wave!  Haha on my first day I went out and I was tired of just paddling around so I asked if we could go over to the OTHER side (the grass is greener over there no?)  where the waves were bigger... but MAYBE I should have first learned how to go under a wave-- like when you dont have time (or the skill) to actually be ON TOP of it, and you dont want to be UNDER the crashing wave---just MAYBE...

Cause we were out there and a huge wave came, and yep pretty soon I was under the wave feeling like a piece of limp seaweed at the mercy of the wave.  I couldnt get up to the surface, and for a second I thought, oh this is gonna be the way I go... But ALAS!  I made it up!  Just as I was recovering, yet ANOTHER huge wave came! haha  Thats what you get for being in the break zone though I guessss...  : P

The next day I couldnt go out again cause the boys were at the restaurant, and I wasnt about to go out by myself.  So funnily enough I bought a tube to float on because the beach has SO MANY rocks in the water, but more importantly soooo manyyyy sea urchins! ah!  So I thought I could gently "sail" over them... which did work for the most part--until the tide went out and I was  thisclose  to scraping my bum against the sea urchins perched on the top of the rocks...

And here its called a floatador or floatie, so everyone thought it was hysterical that I had an inner tube (apprently to them it was comparable to kids arm, and I really dont think they believed me when I told them that yes, in fact, I DO know how to swim.. Oh and when I said Ellie (the other gringo in the city) had a pink one, they nearly died of laughing--probably the vision of 2 white girls on pink and blue floatadors was too much for them... haha  it IS pretty amusing if you think about it...

So on the weekend I worked on my tan--which regrettably resulted in me peeling--which has never happened to me... woops. And then I got sick with this horrible cough and stomachache..yuck, so basically lived off Gatorade and crackers for a couple days there...  We went to the clinic and the doctor literally looked at me for a total of 3 seconds, and gave me 3 medicines, and sent me on my way... haha  He didnt ask if I took any medicine or anything, which Ellie pointed out was probably because people here dont usually take daily medicine.  IT only cost 6 soles I think or about $2.50 American haha so I guess you get what you pay for?

Mm and then on Monday we went to this guys house in the next city over and I felt like I was in HEAVEN because it was a hotel room with this amazing view of the water, there were gorgeous paintings of Greece on the walls, and H-O-T water!!!!  haha its all about the little things now. lol

You see, at the apartment Ellie was renting and where I stayed, we only had water every other day, and definately not warm.  So it was pretty  {luxurious}  to be able to shower in hot water definatley!  And that night I also was taught how to drive stick!!!  Ive been wanting to learn how for SO long!  IT was a lot easier than I thought--everyones like its so hard, but the car only shut off once for me  lol   

Then Tuesday Ellie, a Canadian couple on their honeymoon, a chef from Ellies restaurant named Miguel, Adrian, and I all took a road trip to Ica, a sand desert 3 hours south of San Bartolo.  The ride there was an adventure in itself--we were all cramped in this little, old car, 4 of us in the back, and 2 in the front.  Adrian drove and the music was SO LOUD in the back I thought I was going to go crazy.  It was like some rap, hip hop stuff, and with the cramping, and crazy desert heat, it was almost too much.  About an hour into the trip we got pulled over by the cops, and because 4 people are not allowed in the 3 seat back (or maybe it was just for 2 people back there?) we hurridly took this blanket and the Canadian woman slumped down as we put it over her whole body, and I put my arm on top of her head/neck as if she were my bag, or as Ellie concluded, just a giant uniboob.  ahahahaha  The cops jsut said to put our seatbelts on..which was hard because there was only 2 in the back and one was broken...ahaha  BUT we made a good effort I thought...  : )

Oh, and in other car ride adventures, there is the time I had to go to the bathroom hahaa and I was let out at the bottom of a sand dune.. And let me tell you, at 1 in the afternoon, in the middle of a sand dune desert is NOT where you want to be...

We FINALLY got there and I think we had all gone a little insane...  But we all agreed it was worth the torture when we got into our sand buggy and started off up the sand dunes!  It was like riding a giant ATV up a sand dune (go figure haha) because it was pretty crazy at times, like when he floored it and we went up up up, and then really fast down the other side!  IT was better than a roller coaster definately, and the Canadian couple said they thought it was even better than skydiving!  Which I always thought was pretty insane in itself.  Then the driver let us off at the top of this and dune and we got on the sand boards and rode to the bottom!  Actually standing up on the board is pretty difficult--even Adrian who surfs, had a hard time-- so most of us rode our our stomachs--but you can get some crazy speed if you pick your legs up.  So that was really fun-- but tiring in the desert!  

Then we went to this old oasis--- its crazy its just liek a mirage!  I didnt even know these really existed!  This one was dried up but there were palm trees still and everything!  Apparently slaves that lived in the desert built this road to it--which you can still see-- so it was pretty interesting.  The water is now 6 ft under he said, but its sooo cool.  Then we returned to the oasis that still exists, and its just amazing to see water and like I said palm trees and flowers in the middle of a desert!  Miguel said that there is a myth about a mermaid who lives in the oasis there, and that if you swim in it she will pull you under and drown you apprarently! haha I was like arent mermaids supposed to be nice? LOL

After our adventure Miguel and I decided we were taking the bus home to San Bartolo because we just couldnt take another ride cramped in that car!  Adrian dropped us off a little further than where the buses usually pick passengers up, and assured us we could just get one on the side... but they were all full....SO  we had to take a taxi BACK to the oasis just so we could get on a bus to go back the way we came.. lol  By the time we actually got on a bus it was dark, and I was like oh, this is what I am trying to avoid!  Taking the Peru buses, which are dodgy enough during the day-- in the black of night.

We rode for a while and then I awoke to the bus stopped, and people filing out because the bus had broken down! lol  We all waited on the side of the road, and it was a bit uncomfortable being the only gringo in the middle of night in no wheresville desert Peru!   Luckily I was with Miguel, a Peruvian, so that was good.  I had no idea what was going on, it was just guys screaming at the driver, and people frantically jumping on buses passing by...  It was harder than I thought not knowing anything, becuase I really do like to be in control, and like to ask questions (ha yes as you know).  And I was getting frustrated because Miguel wasnt even trying to ask what was going on... he was just standing there.  I was like whats the plan here???

Well then the bus started "working" again, and we all piled in... of course our seats were taken, and my window in the new seat wouldnt open... but anyways we were back in action!  At least I thought.....    Then I realized we were driving without headlights.... in the middle of night with NO streetlights...  I couldnt believe it was actually happening, and I was like this would never happen in the US.  But here in Peru, do as the Peruvians, no?  I didnt really have a choice, so I refused to look at the lighless road ahead, and shuddered at the cars speeding by on the left.

After what felt like eternity in a state of limbo, we finally arrived in a place with more buses, and waited for another one to come.  We arived home around 12ish, and off to bed I went!  The next morning I had to wake up to pack for my next trip-- to the Cordillera Blanca region to the city of Huaraz.  We were a little late getting there, and unlike everything else in Peru, Movil Tours said they left at 1 pm ON THE DOT.  A rare occurence in the lax world of Peruvian time!  Andn their website they didnt even have an address you could follow if you tried, and of course didnt answer their phones, so it was a littleee stressful trying to race there in a taxi!  On top of that I still hadnt bought my sorojchi pills, or pills to prevent altitude sickness (Cusco episode NOT to be repeated please!!!)  so Ellie raced to a pharmacy, and we did a fast trade off before I got on the bus and off it went! 

The bus ride was beautiful along the coast-- so many sand dunes!  Not what I expected!  Although it wasnt the most comfortable feeling being on the second floor of the bus and seeing a HUGE crack in the window that stretched from one side to the other...  And the movie the played--albeit 20 times better than other movies on the other buses which they like to BLAST the sound, so my ipod cant even block out the constant gun shot blares..-- was incredibly pointless... it was about a dog that always hangs out with his owner, and then the owner dies, and the dog keeps waiting for him to return... and then the credits roll....  very depressing and so unbelievably plotless!  Anyways, arrived last night, and was picked up by Luis, who runs an NGO called Teach Huaraz, and made our way to the house.  Carrying my 30 lb backpack up the stairs was so hard and by the time I got to my room on the second floor, I had this crazy spell of dizziness.  I felt like all the other times I claimed I was dizzy was not even real, because it was sooo bad!  And I was like noooo, lets not repeat the Cusco hospital visit please!  It passed thankfully, and I slept most of today.  But it is SO gorgeous here!  Snowcapped mountains, and quiet streets.  Ahh  : )  

And get this-- I have my OWN bathroom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!!  And hot water!!!!!  And internet downstairs!!!!!  And theres a washing machine!  It is PARADISE here I tell you!  And they even have like a little store downstairs where you can buy water, soap, toilet paper, etc.  Its like you dont even have to leave the house! And boy, this internet thing--UNBELIEVABLE!  Ahh nice change from the incredibly cramped and hot internet cafes here!  Mmm I love it.  So Im here for 2 weeks teaching kids English.  The house has a bunch of rooms ALL with individual bathrooms, for the volunteers, and Luis and his family run the house.  I may see the school tomorrow--today I just rested becuase of the altitude, but Im really excited!  The only thing is that there is this young dog that CONSTANTLY bites me.. my clothes, legs, and even toes!  I tell him to stop and he just doesnt understand!!!!  I locked him in a room today because I couldnt even hang up my laundry on the roof! GAH frustrating!  Hes a real cute sucker thou, but Ive never met a dog who doesnt understand when you yell no, and make it CLEAR you do NOT like the behavior!  The family acted surprised when I told them he kept biting me, and says he never does that to them... and hes just playing... Well okay.  Lets hope he gets used to me like the family says!!!

Hope you are all well!  Much much love,

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Shauna on

look at you go! im soo happy that your having a good time! :)))) love you!!

Sheri Lewis on

I LOVE reading your blog. I just laugh and every story is "So Lara" LOL. Girl you are on some kind of adventure daily! I can just see you punting that dog off the roof the next time it bites you. You are doing it all and I love happy for you.

Lauren Staub on

Wow Lara you are always doing something exciting! You make me feel like a lazy couch potato. I love your pictures, especially the one of the oasis, it was seriously MIND-BLOWING.
Love hearing from you :)

john moor on

Very proud of your frontier spirit. Lots of new people, places, activities, obstacles, circumstances. Fearless in them all. I am getting a geography lesson as I watch you travel. Don't miss the recurrent Montezuma's revenge that you seem to be encountering though. Thanks for the details and especially the photos. As you know, a picture says a thousand words.

Nicky Main on

Hey Lara!
Wish i had known sooner about your blog cause i have been trying to catch up haha and literally spent an hour reading it all! but it sounds like youre having an amazing and fun time!! stay safe and cnat wait for you to come back to sarasota and tell us about all ure travels!
Lots of love and god bless =)

Matthew Nichols on

Wow Lara, you seem to be having alot of fun! Im glad everything is going so well for you!! Enjoy your time and cherish it! This blog is alot of fun to read!! Keep us posted ;p

Suzette on

Just wanted to say hi.
You look like you are having a great time.

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