Sunday, June 13, 2010

Out of Lima!

So we spent four more long days in Lima before the parcel showed up at the post office. We torn it open, but what a disapointment - the pump inside was for another model of the stove!!! The hole where the fuel line comes in was just a liiitle bit too big. So no stove for us...
On the bright side of things, we finally invested in a new camera - Canon A3100 IS, it is very small, fits in a pocket and it seems to take decent photos. We have also picked a good place to stay in town - a ¨hostal de los artes¨. The arts in question were undoubtedly those of sex nature - the whole place was creaking, moaning and heaving at nights. Curiously enough, the hostel had an amazing book exchange shelf, where we picked up four books: Two recent Lonely Planet guides on South America and Peru (a combined value of more then $80!!!), a Penguin history of Latin America and Grandfather by Tom Brown. Our backpacks are weghting us down a bit more, but now we know what tourist attractions lie ahead of us, very convenient.
Getting out of Lima was a usual routine - early rise, big breakfast and a combi to the nearest small town on the highway. As we got out at the intersection, air breakes hissed behind us in under five minutes and we were rolling in a Volvo (almost all trucks in Peru are Volvos, old and new) towards Ica. Going through Chincha Alta was interesting: the driver slowed down only a little bit and all these mototaxis were just getting out of the way.The things were unfolding sublimely, but unfortunately the driver changed his mind about taking us all the way (after telling us that he was actually going to Ica) and dropped us off an hour later at a gas station. It was getting dark, so we asked the owner and set up a tent right there on the concrete.In the morning we got on the road around 7am, and this time waited only three minutes. Another Volvo, this time all the way to Ica. The driver was a friendly Quechua, he told us stories about ghosts up in the mountains where he grew up and asked a lot of questions about life in Canada. He had a good vibe, and we left his truck happy and uplifted. We got off in Ica, at a turn off towards Huacachina, an oasis set amidst tall sand dunes. It was only a few kilometers away, so we started walking, but we haven´t made a hundred steps before a taxi stopped and gave us a lift. Needless to say, we were not tired when we got there, so after waiting out the mid-day sun, we hiked up to one of the dunes and looked around. It was very hard to walk in the sand, but the vista was indeed impressive. Rolling dunes, an oasis with palms, setting sun... We rested for a bit and walked another kilometer into the desert. As soon as the sun went down, the wind started howling and the temperature dropped at least 25 degrees. We set up camp and set on the cold sand, studying the constellations of the southern sky.

In the morning, we finished off our water and walked back to the highway with pleasantly light bags. There we saw a BIG supermarket. Hm, just in time for breakfast! We took our time there and when we got to the road, most of the morning traffic was already gone. The road was filled with local traffic, buses and hundreds of mototaxis. The drivers of these have an annoying habit of honking when they spot you, slowing down by you, making eye contact and offering their services. Every one of them. By the end of the second hour, we felt like grabbing the side of one of the light vehicles and flipping it over. Luckily, another truck pulled over, and we rode in comfort until Nazca. The driver was friendly and talkative once again, and he was even kind enough to stop near the observation tower in the middle of Nazca desert, and wait for a few minutes while we observed the geoglyphs.In Nazca we left our ride at a gas station and walked three tiring kilometers through town. As the sun was going down, yet another truck stopped for us. It was bound for Cusco, which suited us perfectly, as we were heading to Abancay. Jonathan, our french friend, was waiting for us there. The next two days we spent riding with Carlos, at the speeds rarely exceeding 25 km/h. Carlos´s reasoning was that it saved fuel. We bet it did, and an 8 hour journey took us a day and a half. We passed through high mountain platos - altiplanos with blue lakes,
grazing lamas and gracefully trotting vicuñas, canyons with steep walls and deep winding valleys. We got into Abancay after dark. Upon checking our mail we found out that our caring friend Jonathan was already in town, and he had sent us conact info for a CS host with whom he was staying. We gave him a call, and Khaled and Tanya met us a few minutes later. We headed to their place and spent an evening talking with the friendly inertnational crowd that gathered there that night. It was an excellent conclusion to the day!
Today we bought all the provisions for the 5 day hike, and tomorrow, early in the morning, we are moving out to the trailhead in Cachora. We are going to hike to Choqiqerao, the ruins that rival Machu Picchu in size.


  1. wow looking at your trip on the map completely blew me away... way to go! Can't wait to see the pictures again :)

  2. Tell me your stove model, I'll try to find pump for you.

    And photos, is there problem with hosting or bandwidth?

    If it's hosting, I can take care of that :)

    and if it's bandwidth, try this one:

    Image Resizer, app from Microsoft itself so it's not a malicious or scam,
    it's only 521KB, you can download it and put it to your memory card and use it on each machine from which you upload photos.

  3. Hesi: the pictures are coming, we have found the way.
    Alex: thank you for the advice, but we do not have a USB...
    No, the problem was that the camera took very high quality pictures (like 5 Mb each) and we did not know how to make them smaller. But now we have discovered the option we need and will post the pictures tomorrow.
    Please, don´t worry about the pump - we don´t think we can manage dealing with the local post office people one more time. Besides, the fire works good!

  4. You don't need separate USB, you can put that app to your memory card, and when you connect your camera, computer sees your memory card as regular USB.

    And you aways can upload to google full size images, it will resize them automatically for viewers screen resolution.

    I believe, I would be able find some friends in Argentina and send the pump to them in advance, so by the time you arrive there it will be waiting for you. How about that? :)

  5. We wish it would be that simple, Alex! But this new camera does not allow anything to be put on its memory card...
    Uploading full size images can take hours with local connection speeds...
    Thank you for the offer, but we are not sure what we are going to do with the stove yet... but dragging the dead thing around until Argentina is out of the question!

  6. I see. Ok, have fun. :) And I'll talk to your camera when you stop by my humble place :)