Ica and Huacachina

Trip Start Mar 23, 2007
Trip End Apr 17, 2007

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Huacachina proved to be a little be it like the song ¨Hotel California¨for us...we liked it so much that we had a REALLY hard time leaving! The weather was fabulous about 90% of the time and the Hotel beautiful and very tranquil... .

We arrived very late on Sunday evening after waiting for an extra hour in the Ica bus station for Rob´s insulin to arrive. The bus station was quite deserted as it was around 9 p.m. on a Sunday night so we were feeling really nervous about sitting there with all of our belongings and not really knowing what to expect from a big city like Ica. The station attendents were very nice and made sure to keep an eye out for us but we were still not really sure who to trust. A very drunk Peruvian staggered into the basically vacant bus station and sat behind us. I pretty much ignored him, figuring that he was trouble since we could smell the alcohol from our seat three rows ahead. The bus attendent said something to Rob in Spanish and immediately the drunk asked us a question. I played dumb - pretty easy since my spanish is pretty much non-existant- but Rob, being the nice guy that he is, tried to answer his question which resulted in a good hour of Rob trying to converse with this drunk...who told him initially that he was a musician, then a language teacher, then a person who just ¨knew¨ Cusco and every other place that we were going to visit. He was very persistent and even followed us out to the taxi once the insulin arrived. Just a little scary!! We shut the door in his face and vamosed to Huacachina as fast as the tiny taxi could go with our huge backpacks.

Huacachina is basically a number of hostels and hotels around a lagoon in the desert. The first day in Huacachina was spent lounging around the pool with our friends Tim and Hannah from England.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at an outdoor restaurant called ¨Restaurant Moron¨(I had to include that name -too funny) and tried to unwind.
Rob tried his second ceviche of the trip which proved to be lovely. In the afternoon when it finally cooled down a bit, we decided to try to climb the big sand dunes behind our hotel to watch the sunset. It was quite the climb up and the view was spectacular.

We spent our second day in Huacachina lounging by the pool again - it was proving to be really hard to leave our hotel to do any touristy activities because the weather was so wonderful and we were both still feeling tired. I actually started to feel a little sick but figured it was just from being overtired.
Rob was finally roused to go sandboarding by our chatty waiter at Restaurant Moron so we booked a dune buggy ride with a fancy sandboard. Rob had a blast!
The dune buggy ride to the heart of the desert was a thrill in itself. The first hill was really a baby hill as the guide was really just testing Rob´s skill level. Rob immediately told the guide that he needed ¨mass grande¨...three dunes later, Rob was only a speck at the top of the sand dune as I waited with Arthurio at the bottom, camera in hand (in a zip-lock, no less! the sand was really blowing).

To be alone at the top of the sand dune, seeing the dune buggy race away and become a tiny bug in the sand - I sat there taking in the sea of sand and the sound of the wind and sand whipping on my board and my face. I was cut off from all other sounds and in a world that the Little Prince can only dream of. The entire experience was amazing! I even pulled a jump off a crest.

So after Rob came down from his sand-boarding high, we had a great dinner at a little Peruvian restaurant called the Trattoria Novaro and tried some Peruvian red wine from the Tacama bodega in Ica. It was a little disappointing...let´s just say we won´t be bringing any home for you to try.:)

We finally dragged ourselves away from Huacachina long enough to venture into Ica...to visit a few bodegas (wineries) and to visit the city and a few museums. We also did a little bit of shoppping since neither of us had brought much clothing suitable for warm weather. Rob, of course, was the only one to find some great shirts...he also seemed to attract alot of attention from the 16 and under crowd...hee hee. The teenage girls would stare and giggle and forget (or perhaps they hoped he would?)that maybe Rob could actually understand their comments? In any case, I was very entertained by all the attention he was getting...and yes, the age group.

We visited a traditional bodega called El Catador which was very beautiful and interesting. We sampled Pisco for the first time, which we both enjoyed the best over the wine and the other liquors.[PHOTO_ID_L=traditional_grape_press_and_basin.jpg

We also ventured into the Regional Museum to see the pre-Columbian artifact. The pottery was my favourite.
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