23/6/09 The next day, 23rd June, we were driven to Ica, which has a big sandy desert next to it with the biggest sand dunes I've seen in my life (though they don't have any vegetation at all on)! For the first bit we were driven around them in two sand buggies, and it was so exciting it was like being on a rollercoaster - our buggy had 350 horsepower, and we zoomed around like nobody's business. Then we got out at the first place we were to do sandboarding; it was 120 metres high! The sandboards are a similar shape and size to skateboards, though without the wheels. We lay on them, lifted out feet, put our elbows under us and away we went, one by one. They had brought two sandboards too few, so heroically K ike and Jay climbed all the way back up the dune to let Wei Ling and I have our turns. We gave them a standing ovation when they reached the top! This first time I was afraid my board might turn on its side and tip me off at full speed, but at the second dune I got the angle just right. It was so, so fun, and the speed was incredible. We all had a go at another dune as well, before going back to a hotel for lunch.
After lunch we were shown round a Pisco distillery, the traditional type rather than modern, which is favoured in Chile apparently. Pisco is a grape brandy, not wine. There are two main differences in the way they are made; the first one is that Pisco is fermented for only two weeks, and I've forgotten the other. When we left here we were driven to Pisco, where we were to stay for the night. Pisco seemed a bit of a dump, to be honest, and we had dinner at the hotel rather than in town. I tried a Peruvian national dish I had wanted to try for ages, ceviche (raw fish marinated and slightly cooked in lime juice, with onion and a couple of other things.) It said it came in a pepper sauce, but I thought I'd have it anyway; unfortunately my entire mouth was in flames from the first bite, so I had to pass it on to Dave. It was such a shame, because I could tell that if it weren't for the hotness, it would have been delicious.