Trip Start Oct 13, 2007
Trip End Feb 15, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Up 500 to be downstairs for 515 so supposedly we leave 530 (545 in the end).  Michael and I foolishly were last on the bus so we got the last seats.  Unfortunately, there are 4 in the bus at tables that face backward so that was interesting to ride in all day (my lesson in learned though!)  I was sitting next to Daniel from Sydney (friendly, and gave me Oreos when I couldnīt eat the muslei bar provided but perhaps a little negative), opposite Diane from Germany and Japanese guy (T something, barely speaks English so no awkwardness there!)  At a toilet stop 2 hours later joked with some of the guys and of course smoking really helps break down the barriers. 
We drove through Pisco which was deverstated in an earthquake earlie in the year but I reckon it would have looked much the same as it does now b4).  Got to Paracas (my suspicion that a lot of these places will be dusty dives seems well founded by now - and all we have been passing through is desert) to take a speedboat to Islas Ballestas which are these rocky islands covered in guano (yes, it smells) and home to lots of seabirds (boobies, penguins, etc.) and sealions.  Liked the desoluteness (is that a word?) of the place but how many birds and sealions do you really need to see?  Two hour round trip out there which was amusing towards the end as we ran out of gas and had to be towed in the last 100m.
Lunch was typical bread rolls with salad (standard for this type of trip) but also guacamole and corn chips.  Another 1.5 hrs on bus then to another dusty town, Huacachina, which at least had an excuse as it was surrounded by giant sand dunes.  Half the group went snad buggying and sandboarding, .25 stayed at sa pool the buggy guy had and the rest of us went to a local winery by taxi.  The taxi driver put on an ealy 80s tape so I got to hear Turning Japanese, Bette Davis Eyes, Donīt you Want Me and others while we were dodging other taxis and these little shell taxis (like half a seed pod powered by  motorcycle engine).  Had a brief tour of the winery and tried one red (OK, almost sherry), one rose (sweet but nice) and a shot of Pisco (clear white brandy that went down like bad scotch but is famous in these parts!)  best thing about the winery was the sanddunes in the near distance looming over the vines - never seen that before! 
2.5 hours to Nazca (nice sunset but tired of being on the bus!)  and set up tent in the darkness at 700 (thank christ Michael is handy!) and I headed for a cold shower b4 the birthday dinner of Jude (Eng - with Billy) which consisted of lots of BBQ meat, sangria and beer and was a good opportunity to chat to more people.  There was good middle of the road music coming from the truck and I chatted mostly to other newbies like Anna and Keith (from Scotland, had been living in Aust), and Paula (Eng) but also talked to Jeremy, Jo (aust), Kylie (eng), May (eng), Liz (eng)  and various others.  Michael seemed to be very comfortable blending in (and considering he didnīt come back to the tent to sleep he must have gotten on with someone very well!) but it was a bit of work for me so I went to bed 1100.
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