Lima to Nasca

Dave in PERU!

A fabulously painted street...

...with fantastic mailboxes.

Unusally arranged human bones in a Catholic crypt in downtown Lima.

Convent and church housing the crypt.

Moving down the coast to Pisco, this is the famous Candelabra geoglyph, seen through the seasonal fog.

Humboldt penguins inhabit the Islas Ballestras, where guano is harvested every seven years for a LOT of money.

Now in Huacachina, a desert oasis town four km from Ica, famous for its wines.

An excellent place to sandboard.

A perfect desert visual haiku.

Shining jewel of water in so much sand.

Plane ride to see Nasca Lines.

The orca.

The spaceman.

My personal favourite, the hummingbird.

The tree and frog, also viewable from the pictured platform.

Just a quick note to say that we found this cute hostel with lots of plants and woke up to fellow guests playing flutes, guitar, and drums. And I thought, wow, I made it to Peru. Itís one of those things that I talked about without really believing I would actually do, like people dream of climbing Mt. Everest without actually considering the possibility of actually doing it. But here we are in Peru, about to head out to see the main plaza de armas in Lima, walk around on the streets. We are thinking that perhaps tomorrow we shall head to Pisco. Depends on how we feel. Okay, got to run, much love and light, Molly

Hi again from Peru. I just got robbed of everything I had, except my clothes, and so Dave is helping me out and we are going to have to go to the embassy and get me a new passport. The national police are very helpful, but right now I am just so exhausted and drained that I want to go home. And by that I mean head back to the DR and hug my little dog. But I will pull through this very expensive lesson about things I already knew and try not to let it ruin my trip completely. I just feel so stupid, because we were sitting at a bus station and I had all my crap between my feet and I looked away for a second at a book Dave was holding and like that, the person was gone, and I never even saw him. I ran out into the street after the guy next to me was like, hey isnít that your backpack, and I was screaming and making a scene about my blue backpack, for gods sake, help me, there goes my life. But then I thought if I died without seeing anything more or learning any more languages or eating any more fruits, that it wouldnít make a difference, and that at least I have the gift of sight and sound and I walk with shoes and I can still trust people I meet. But it made me think what it was I wanted to do during my life, and everything I want to do requires money, and that more than ever I am motivated to find a stable job, not because I mind being poor, but just because I need the security of where more money is going to come from, eventually. I am so disenchanted even though I know it is my own damn fault about the robbery, but I just feel like turning in and flying with Dave to the DR, but as I say we are not going to let this ruin our trip. Even if I have no camera to record all my experiences, because they too shall turn to dust. Well, this was very inconvenient. Uh, I guess I should save my last two soles and get off the internet. Much love, though. Molly

Still in Lima
I am finally set with paperwork and am legal in the country. Thanks mom for faxing my birth certificate and photocopy of my PC passport, they were sumamente useful in the paper problems I got myself through. The folks at the American embassy were very helpful, after we got there by taxi, we got my emergency passport expedited that morning so that I could head over to the Peruvian immigration services (by taxi) so that they could again gouge me for the visa requirements. We stood in lines for about five hours, but finally got out with a newly stamped and regularized pasaporte. Dave has been so patient and kind throughout this whole terrible process of going to the police yesterday and then the things today. But we got it done and had time to see the catacombs before the museum closed. Very crazy, sort of like a Cathode Lick Auschwitz. We had a nice lunch and retook some of my prized shots around town with Daveís camera, although I know they wonít turn out the same or as good. I keep re-biting myself about the robbery, how it happened and why the FUCK I turned my head at that moment and how all this could have been avoided and how much time we have lost and the cost of staying in Lima for three extra days yada yada yada and how this isnít even a real passport but only a year-long temp that I need to get replaced, but hey, more than that, I keep reliving the experience of how I felt after the robbery and how I just want my camera and passport back and the little book I was writing everything in. PINCHE POBLANA PENDEJA soy yo, coŮo, carajo mierda del DIABLO que las pulgas de mil camellos infesten los pelos de su narŪz, que le apeste su conciencia por--, but what am I saying. That person who robbed me was after all a professional, not anyone in need, but people who live just to make my life and the lives of similar others unbearable for a time. What inconvenience, but more than the loss of material goods or my time or my energy or my memory-saving device for sharing what I see or learn, more than any of that it is just the lingering feeling of violation that keeps me angry at myself and short towards others. But I need to thank my mom for standing up for me stateside and Dave for hanging in there at my side and the rest of the people of Peru who are good at heart, including the lady who received the faxes for us in her apartment. Now that my papers are in order, I just need to figure out a way to take quality photos because I refuse to be here without being able to share, even if I am to be dust with all my memories like the dust I breathed today in the catholic catty combs. Smells like... a minor victory. Although I still cried on and off this afternoon re-biting and re-biting myself about the scenario and about surging violent tendencies and about just keeping that backpack between my legs like always instead of in the place next to me where David put it and I left it and turned for a second to see his stupid book and poof... and poofósomeoneís kidneys got shoved through his eyeholes and I got my backpack back and all this trouble and loss was reversed. But, no, no more poofs. just poohs. Okay, gotta run. I hope I didnít repeat myself too much. Okay, gotta run. I hope I didnít repeat myself too much :) Molls

I am currently in Pisco and in slightly better spirits. It is nice to be outside of Lima. Because I am unable to share my visual experiences, I will just send some postcards instead of being able to take pictures. Dave still has his camera, even though it is an analogue thing-thing and all, maybe we can work something out where we share his pics and such. The ceviche here is really good, BTW, tomorrow we head out on a boat ride to Las Islas Ballestras to see some animals, including penguins, if you can believe that of this latitude. Les hablarť mas ahorita. Molly

Oh my goodness, you guys... Dave and I just had one of the best days probably for most of this whole trip. We left Pisco-- where we did see some penguins and sea lions (no dolphins, though) and we got our first glimpse of a Peruvian Booby-- for Huacachina via Ica. Huacachina is a small desert oasis with a few hotels and some restaurants around a picturesque lagoon lined with palm trees and surrounded by the biggest sand dunes I have ever seen.

Right when we got to our hotel we heard about this tour they were offering which we decided to go on. We went in a dune buggy through the sand up and down crazy steeeep hills and up to a huge perfect dune that we sandboarded down several times, the first time on our bellies face down in the sand at maybe 20-30 mph. The hill was impossible to walk up, probably an 80 degree grade, so our drivers went down in the two 10-seater buggies and took the group of us back up the same hill where we waxed up again and this time went down sitting, sled-like. The third time we had to walk part of the way up a huge dune to get to the top of it and slide down the other side, slightly steeper and longer, for adultos mayors.

And if you thought that was impossible, we were then taken to an even STEEPER grade, it was SO much fun. And the buggying itself was like a roller coaster ride, we went so fast and furious through the vast empty rolling dunes, and then all of a sudden we would slow down at a ninety degree angle edge and plunge into a knee-jerking drop-off rolling down the vertical face of a dune. Definitely for the younger crowd, but what a crowd-pleaser it was.

Then we went to another oasis a little further in, where you can see parts of the road that prisoners built from Ica to cross the desert, but the sands have shifted and the cobbled road is abandoned. We then went to a flat area to watch the sun start to set, but then busted out in first through fifth gears into an even more terrifyingly roll-bar clenching series of dune buggy acrobatics which brought us back to our oasis in time for one last perfect shot of the sun-drenched lagoon by our hotel. I really appreciated Dave still having his camera, and he let me take a few shots I had an eye for.

Well, that was yesterday, and a walk around the lagoon after a BBQ with our international friends and a pisco sour after a swim in the pool and a cold shower just about topped the evening off right. I will be picking grains of sand out of my ears and other surprising places for weeks to come, but it was well worth any and all of it. I would do it again one day, any day. Screaming fun.

Today we started out taking a tour of the regional museum in Ica, 4km from Huacachina, and saw a bit about Chincha, Nasca, Pisco, Wari, and Inca peoples. Incredible pottery, textiles, feather-work, and mummies. A mummified parrot, several people including children, and a lot of deformed heads. Apparently it was a thing of beauty to have an elongated head which people started their children having at about two or three months old, strapping their foreheads into head braces on their backboards. I was expecting to see shrunken heads for some reason, but there was enough gruesomeness to satisfy me without them. I guess those may have been in Lima.

Regardless, the re-hydrated hand sitting in a jar of liquid was kinda gross. I loved the mummified heads that still had hairstyles and skin. There were some heads that had been operated on with rocks and rasps, and they had apparently survived because the bone showed evidence of re-growth. Also interesting was the manner in which they prepared trophy heads by drilling a hole in the top and putting spines through their lips. I just canít imagine people living in these deserty areas, I would go crazy and they probably would have to drill a hole in my head to let out the spirits.

Whenever Dave and I go anywhere by bus, even if it is just an hourís drive, we canít for the life of us keep our eyes open. The desert is so bright that it hurts to look after a while, and I know we have been pushing a tight schedule. But today as Dave and I left Ica for Nasca (2-3 hrs) we looked around the bus and saw that most people were in fact asleep. Including the cobrador who takes the money in the front. The driver, somewhere across a long straight stretch of sand dunes started whistling strangely, I thought to keep himself awake, or to ward of what I had started to call "the spell of the desert", but it was to ask the cobrador where people were getting off. So Dave poked him, and then poked him a little harder, and then poked him really hard, and then shook him, and the boy rose up surprised and was REALLY drooling quite terribly, that we had to laugh. Nobody (except the driver thank goodness) escapes the spell of the desert spirits.

So we made it into Nasca and we have arranged for a flight tomorrow to see the famous Nasca lines. It is $35 for 35 minutes, not a bad deal, I guess. But I am not going to come all the way to Nasca just not to see the lines, so we are going. There are 13 geoglyphs in all, including a hummingbird, monkey, whale, condor, and an "astronaut". They werenít discovered until 1920 because they are hard to see from the ground, so there is much speculation as to how and why they were made, seeing as how back in the day there was very likely no way the constructionists could have see the whole of their art at any given time. But we will. In a small aircraft. Tomorrow. I am so glad for that great day yesterday to set us right, but need a good nightís rest after our recent long days and short nights. Much love and lots of bright desert light, Molly