Our headlong dash out of the mountains towards Nasca to see the "Worlds Highest Sand Dune" and the Nasca Lines (un-explained detailed drawings in the desert, a bit like crop circles, but bigger and older) was interrupted by something neither of us had expected.
A sea of sand dunes, with an oasis.
Poorly signposted just a few kilometres west off the Panmerican Highway from Ica. This led to us taking a wrong turning, ending up off the tarmac with a detour on unpaved and sandy roads into a shanty town in the desert, before we corrected ourselves, with the aid of locals waving at us to tell us the correct turning.
As we entered the oasis, Huacachina, there was a Tourist Police post, so we stopped to ask for advice on hostels. The young officer jumped on his bike and lead us through the admittedly small number of streets and showed us initially the noisy loud disco one, before we settled for one with a basic wood hut room next to the lagoon. The location was improved by the bar, with food and pool.
As it was "National Pisco Sour Day", we felt it would be rude not to join in, and settled down by the bar.
Occasionally we come across somewhere so nice we have to drop any plans for a one night stop so we can enjoy it, and in this case we also went into "Tourist mode". for only the second time on the trip, and booked onto a dune buggy and sand boarding trip.
I even managed to stand up on one of the smaller dunes, I may just try snow boarding after all.
The dunes are big, seriously big, and dotted with ant like people sand boarding and dune buggies.... buggying.
We climbed the dunes on the evening we arrived, as we crested them, all we could see were more, stretching into the horizon. We turned around, and across the plains shrouded in mist were the Andes.
Thoughts while riding
Sometimes the mind drifts while riding long stretches with few vehicles, and recently mine drifted to the trip and how long we have saved up for it. At first I thought about the three years following the USA trip in 2007.
But then I realised it had really been 27 years, I'd wanted to do a "proper" trip for as long as I can remember, so therefore the saving started the day I started work.
I think about other stuff as well, but it is not usually profound, normally it entails wondering where the next fuel stop will be, will we find somewhere to stay (or is tonight the night we sleep in the desert), what will we eat and most importantly, will the straws with the coke fit the bottle properly?Posted by Bruce Porter at February 07, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
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