Ica. What a place :) Not only does it have blue skies, sun, and stars at night (all things that Lima sadly lacks) but it has Huacachina. Huacachina is a small oasis in the middle of sand. The sand dunes of Ica are world famous and put our small dunes in Wenatchee to shame... We went to Huacachina twice. The first time we scaled the largest of the dunes and rode down on our sandboards like sleds. And when I say scaled I truly mean it. It takes a good twenty minutes to get to the top of the dune and you get an incredible view. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that all you can see for miles and miles is... SAND! Anyway, the second day we went in sandbuggies farther into the dunes. These buggies seat 12 and go zooming up down and all around in the sand. Its really like a rollercoaster ride because you strap in with a seatbelt over both shoulders and legs and your stumach drops out everytime you decend. :) Wahooooooooo
It takes about 5 hours to get to Ica so on the way there we stopped in several places to see the surrounding area. We stopped in Pisco, a small town where my papa grew up and I got to see where his house used to be. There was a huge earthquake 3 years ago that destroyed just about everything in Pisco... It's sad to see how much remains in ruins and how little has been rebuilt. Much construction in Peru is adobe and this does NOT stand up to terremotos! We also went on a boat ride in Paracas to see the sealions and penguins. Yep I said PENGUINS! Unfortunately birds that produce guano for fertilizer also nest nearby so part of the time we had a lovely guano perfume. The last stop was to see the sights of a Peruvian national park. It is obviously an arid, costal climate so the vegitation is minimal but the beaches are fabulous and the rock formations too. Anddddd we saw flamingos!!!
Tomorrow is Max's birthday and the custom in Peru is to stay up until 12 to celebrate with cake and singing. I'm slowly getting used to the stay up late type of culture but it's 1 a.m. and I'm kinda tired so I'll finish up with a few highlights from the past week.
1) Lots and lots of delicious food because Cami (my papa's sister) is a WONDERFUL cook! We had arroz con pollo, Carapulcra, tamales etc.
2) Visiting Cachiche, the witch town. A little 7 year old boy was our guide and told us the story of the witches and showed us various important sites. These included the seven headed palm tree and witch museum.
3) Getting to know my cousins... Adriano (2), Sebastian (9), Renato (13) We played futbol, tuti fruti, and ninja!
4) Running for REAL! I left the house on my own, chose a direction, and rannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Yahoooo I didn't get lost and I got to be in shorts and a t-shirt (its winter so I've been wearing pants and coats) and it felt fabulous :)
5) The 5th birthday party of my cousin Valentina. EVERYTHING was Hannah Montana themed and the was a clown and tons of sweet candies and new foods to try and the hora loca. Apparently the Hora Loca is a Peruvian custom but it was my first experience. Everyone dances around with music and strobe lights and confetti and silly string and hats and whistles and balloons and blinking lights... kinda CRAZY!
So now I'm really going to sleep! But if you want to see photos I've uploaded some to facebook. They don't upload very well to this blog...