In some ways, much of Peru that we have visited is comparable to Coventry. I don't mean in the sense of the Luftwaffe having bombed it to smithereens, or there is a greater number of burnt out tyres than llamas, but the feeling that the centre of the town is more functional than architectural triumph. Thats not to say that there aren't some gems; Areqipa, for exmple, boasts columns, arches and monuments that Caesar himself would be proud of. But for the majority, much like Coventry, 20 minutes away from the city is sprawling countryside, nature in abundance and pretty small villages.
Flying into Lima, we were hit by the big city - smog, noise and vendors in abundance. Staying only for two days, we lodged in the western quarter, Miraflores, where malls, cinemas and fast food dominated. This wasn't necesarily a concious choice but allowed easy access to relative luxuries and a fancy fish bar (to celebrate a month travelling...).
From Lima we travelled to Ica and Huacachina. Ica is one of those towns I mentioned earlier so we swiftly hopped into a cab and stayed at Huacachina. An oasis, in the middle of the desert, it was circled by hostels and eateries and allowed us to buggy ride into the desert itself and undertake some sandboarding down the dunes. No limbs or faces were broken; a desirable but not necessarily assured outcome, noting that Cara's natural balance is akin to that of an amputee Ostrich.
Whilst we are both safe and sound, and have had a great time in Peru thus far, our luck hasnt been the greatest to date. Booking a trip to the Ballesta Islands, our minibus broke down and when we finally got there the seas were too rough for any boat trips. Booking a trip for the Colca Canyon to undertake some trekking, there was an earthquake and we were sent back to bed at 3 in the morning. Ordering two dishes at a vegetarian restaurant, both arrives piled high with the devils veg (peas). All in all, three disasters.
At Nasca we flew the Nasca Lines; an expensive but unique adventure. Again, this was delayed for six hours, but when we finally soared into the sky (in a four seater airplane) we saw all the unique, and mysterious shapes that scatter the landscape. Why the shapes were created is still a mystery, with numerous theories offered and still being Concocted. Secretly though its hard not to think, seeing some of the shapes, that aliens might have had some hand in it...
And now we're in Cusco. We've got to secure an inkan trek of sorts today and then in a week's time we're off to the Amazon!
Great advantage to travelling by local bus is the opportunity to rediscover the 80 and 90s through ecuadorian/peruvian radio. Some highlights so far are listed below.
Before anyone comments on my age and my related ability to reminisce - luckily my parents and the DJs of Kent Radio Heart remain firmly planted in previous decades and could quite easily moonlight on Peruvian radio stations without raising any suspicion...
1) Bon Jovi - bad medicine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOUtsybozjg
2) UB40 - Red Red Wine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXt56MB-3vc
3) Ace of Base - All that she wants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OB28fTKSds
My personal favourites for last :
4) Mr President - Coco jumbo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOrc37wNUqU
5) Inner Circle - this artist deserves several spaces and seems to be a South American favourite
Bad boys http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4MRmEPNUxY
The games people play http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdMF7w7BBgU
A lalalala long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc-6-7lOJlI
6) Mark Morrison - return of the mack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w
7) Apache Indian - Boom Shaka Lack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZzBd41NuZw