Days 28 - 31: Huacachina to Paracas

Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 28:
This morning and afternoon were spent in Huacachina. We were both feeling better so spent time by the pool. We also went back to the restaurant we loved across the street to try the falafels for lunch. Once again we were obsessed with the dish. I am looking forward to home in the Spring to try some new recipes out.

We grabbed the 2:30pm bus to our next town, Paracas. They were playing the movie "The Call" in Spanish with English subtitles. It was surprisingly easy to follow and keep into even with the subtitles. We found it strange that they were playing a horror movie out loud on a bus with small children. We hear that's all they ever play on buses.

We arrived to Paracas at about 4:00 pm. It is a beach town about 3.5 hours south of Lima. It is also home to the national reserves and the Ballestas Islands aka "The Poorman's Galápagos Islands". We got off the bus and immediately got approached by tour salesmen trying to sign us up. We knew our hostel had a sales office so we waited. At our hostel we weren't surprised to see they wanted to charge us about double for the same tour. They even tried to talk us into renting their bikes for a steep price to do a self tour to the reserves (which we later found out would've been about 40km of biking in the desert...not to mention we would've probably got lost with the lack of maps and signs). They justified their price by saying that their bikes are in good condition and won't break down on us in the desert. We ended up going with another company.

That evening we walked the town which took a whole 6 minutes, grabbed some supper and spent the evening enjoying our one english channel on tv which played reruns of Two and a Half Men.

Day 29:
Being almost a month into our trip, we have started to figure out the simple things we miss from home. Things that I never would've thought I'd care about. One of them being a bowl of cold cereal. Most of our hostels have included breakfast, however this normally consisted of two buns and jam each. Some days we would get an egg as well. Today I woke up early to run and grab us some breakfast with hopes of ending this cereal craving. I found a store which sold Nestlé cereal. I grabbed a box and some milk and when it got rung in saw it cost twice as much as what we would pay for a nice sit down breakfast at a restaurant. My craving for the cold cereal won.

We spent that day hanging around the beach and trying some local sea food. We grabbed calamari from this dive looking restaurant and we were pretty sad after we saw her pull frozen calamari from the freezer. It was even more sad seeing the beach 20 m away and knowing we were in a fishing village. The beer was cheap though so we were satisfied.

We caught the sunset that night and a local soccer game on the beach. Afterwards we were looking forward to laying in bed watching Two and a Half Men (we don't really watch this at home but watching tv in bed gave us that sense of home which we were missing). When we turned on the tv we instead got a message saying the cable bill has not been paid. Our first thought was to go tell them and hope they call right away but then we remembered we were in a $20 a night hostel and the tv was a bonus to start with.

Day 30:
Today we did the National Reserves tour. It included a series of beautiful beaches and seeing some cool birds including flamingos and pelicans. We could see a lot of cracks in the rocks from the 2006 earthquake which destroyed the town. Due to this the reserves didn't have too many structures or monuments.

The tour guide brought us to an isolated fishing village which has about 5 restaurants. Since the tour buses are probably the only customers they get we were all swarmed the moment we stepped foot off the bus. It got to the point where two owners got into a heated argument over stealing a customer. On the plus side we were offered many free drinks to go to each restaurant. We ordered a mix of fried fish and this time could taste the freshness as we saw the fisherman bringing in the fish as they fried them up.

Day 31:
This morning we were up early for our tour to the Ballestas Islands. They say the tour is only good with clear skies and with luck this was the first morning we've seen them.

On the way to the islands we got to see "the candelabra", a geoglyph from precolumbian times carved into the face of a mountain.

The Ballestas Islands were incredible! We saw many colonies of Humboldt penguins and sea lions which were our first time seeing either. To see them in their natural habitat was unreal. The sea lions all hung out together with usually one grown male in each who weighed double the females at 660lbs. The amount of birds flying around were almost out of a scary movie. There had to be thousands.

Today was the end of our first month of travelling. We are loving our travels and look forward to all the places we have to see. We of course miss home and all the friends and fam. Some simple things we realized we love and miss include;
Hot showers
Good wine (pretty much not sweet wine)
A fridge stocked with food
Peanut butter (can't find it anywhere!)
Big cups of brewed coffee
Real grass (especially now being in the desert)
We keep adding!
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