Sunday, November 18, 2007

home again

Our last day in Peru was very long, often stressful, but also included some good experiences. We couldn't get a boat trip arranged -- Saturday was already booked -- so we decided to rent a car and play Che Guevara, riding up the Pan American Norte toward Barranca. We stored our bags at the airport, rented a car, and headed north.

Let me just say that driving in Lima certainly isn't as frightening as driving in Vietnam or India would've been; at least the alphabet is familiar, and I could usually make a pretty strong guess about what the signs said. It's just that the traffic patterns are nuts, people honk all the time, pedestrians cross at random times and places, and I was afraid I'd kill someone. It's fun to drive, it's extra fun to drive a stick shift, but driving in crazy crowded Lima traffic was very very stressful.

We finally left Lima behind and drove through kilometers of the most barren wasteland we've ever seen. High drifts and low mountains of sand, tan colored as far as we could see. The occasional small and unexpected town full of little shacks, in the middle of nothing, with not a single blade of green anything, anywhere. We stopped at a strange and beautiful nature reserve for a nice walk.

have you ever seen green flowers?
pipe organ cactus
these were everywhere
It was strange: green hillsides, lots of flowers,
and dead-looking trees
the view toward the ocean

We never made it to Barranca; we stopped in a town called Huaracha for some lunch, and had what was probably our most authentic Peruvian experience. Although no one paid us any attention whatsoever, I doubt there are many tourists in Huaracha. It's a fishing village, and we found our way to the waterfront where there were several cevicherias. We picked the most open and friendly-looking one, and ordered some food. I thought I was ordering shrimp cebiche, and Marc ordered some kind of fish that was fried, that's about all we knew. His was really wonderful, he said, but mine was a plate full of crawdads, heads and long wiry antennae and all. If my stomach weren't so full of stress and acid from driving out of Lima, I might have been able to manage it a bit more, but seeing that plate piled high with mud bugs just pushed me over the edge and I was trying not to cry. Marc switched plates with me and said it was really good, too. We made a little video of the waterfront on our way out of town, if it's decent, I'll post it so I can remember.

We got back to Lima around 8:30, I think, very frightening driving in the dark with all the rest of the Lima stuff, plus intense smog. Pollution, fog, I don't know, but it was thick. Our plane left at 11:59 or thereabouts, so we had a long time to sit around the airport. At least it's a much nicer airport than the Delhi airport.

And now we're home. It's really great to be home. The trip was truly a dream, we're so happy that we went, so happy that we were together for this trip, and we have a lot of work to do finishing up the photos. I have one more post to make, but it may take a few days. For now, ciao ciao.

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