Saturday, February 1, 2014

Huacachina, a beautiful, but not so peaceful desert oasis...

Our one night stopover in Nazca was perfect...Now, the question was, if we were going to make it all the way to our volunteering spot, just south of Lima, or spend one night in between.

We left Nazca at about 10am, and jumped on the 'Flores' bus just down the road, for 7 Soles a piece, to Ica, which was about 3 1/2 hours north.  We we're referencing our now-aging Lonely Planet book, and thought about hitting up Paracas, the coastal town for a night...

After waiting for a bus to Paracas, that never showed, we stumbled upon a small section on Huacachina, just 5km outside of Ica, where we already were.  We flagged down a cab, and for 5 Soles, we were in Huacachina, within minutes...

Surrounded by massive sand dunes, and nothing more, this little village of about 300 people is fueled by tourism from foreigners and Peruvians alike, who come for the escape of the much bigger Ica, and to ride down these dunes of sand like snowboarders high in the neighboring Andes.

We jumped out of the cab, and of course the man had no change to break a 50 Sole bill...I ran around for 15 minutes, and finally had to buy a water bottle at the nearby liquor store to break change.

We found a small hostel just down the road, where we decided to call home for the night.  The entrance lead you into a fairly large and well equipped bar, then past it, an outdoor back patio with a nice sized pool.

We had a small room right near the pool, and we bargained for the right price.  It was a Saturday, and after checking in/giving our passport info, the guy working there noticed our guitars we're traveling with and asked about what kind of music we play...After chatting for a few minutes, he asked us if we wanted to play that night, out back by the pool, and told us we could hook up to their sound system, which was pretty legit.  We were pretty excited, first of all, it's been a while since we played a gig in front of a crowd, the last time being at a party in Patagonia, Argentina.  He said we'd get some free drinks, and I was planning on putting out a tip jar, of course...

We settled into our room, and I walked around a bit to catch the coming sunset, out over the dunes.  It was unbelievable.



This is what surrounds all of Huacachina...
 

After taking in the incredible sunset and surrounding landscape, I broke out the guitar, gave 'er a good tune and cleaning, and started getting excited to play some music that night.

A couple hours passed, and I figured we'd probably start playing soon, and I walked out to the bar area to ask the guy...A DJ walked in, carrying a big mixer board and computer.  10 minutes later, the walls were vibrating with god-awful reggaeton, which we both despise...

I still had a little hope that maybe this guy would only play this crap for a little while, but no...The crowds of Peruvians, with their weekend off, rolled in like tumbleweeds dressed in way-too-tight clothing, awful cologne, and gigantic high heels.  There was no way we were going to play.

That wasn't the worst part...The horrible music that rumbled the entire hostel, played until 5am, and as you can imagine, we got no sleep.

The next morning, at about 9am, we arose from our nook, still angry from the night before, and starving...We walked to the lagoon in the center of the pueblo, which had some restaurants surrounding it, to grab a bite to eat, and possible connect to a wifi network.

Found a nice little spot right on the water, and ordered the local breakfast, which sounded great...Steak and eggs Peruvian style, with coffee and orange juice.  We had our Mate equipment on hand, and were dying for a Mate, just needed some hot water, as the waiter said he was bringing some...

After one hour...LITERALLY one hour, neither the water, nor the food came, and we walked out.  Luckily, there was a more hopeful looking spot right next door, where we dined on greasy burgers for breakfast, with oil drenched fries, and a soggy salad!

I emailed Adam on HelpX, and let him know we were on our way to Lunahuana, where we decided we'd spend the last of our trip, or at least most of it, doing some volunteer work.

A cab back to Ica, and an almost immediate bus towards Lunahuana...

Huacachina was a disaster for us, but it was gorgeous...At least there was something pleasing for the eye in this case, but I wouldn't recommend going there on weekends...





Extremely hard to believe that we've only got about a month to go...Wow!