I am officially in love with Peru. Unlike Bolivia who hated me from the start, Peru and I just get along. And it's not just about Machu Picchu. Sure Machu Picchu is pretty spectactular in its own right but we had fun everywhere we went. Starting with roaming the beautiful streets of Cusco, whom everyone I speak agrees its an amazing city. There's heaps of tourists there and just walking around is fun and very safe. Even late at night. You can eat Japanese, or Indian or good old Peruvian food which as I mentioned previously, is pretty damn good in itself. You can get Alpaca jackets or colourful sneakers. Or go to the market and buy some interesting fruit or sugarcane to chew on. Yum! I love sugarcane.
The chocolate museum tour was super fun too and our guide made it so much better by making us sing whilst stirring our hot chocolate made with milk, cloves and cinnamon. I sang the Australian anthem, lame I know. It was suspicious when she said that she need a volunteer for the extra ingredient traditionally used by the Myans. Tama, our New Zealander buddy from the Inca trail volunteered and was hilariously shocked that she needed a few drops of blood and we all waited in nervous anticipation as she went to get the pricking needle and then proceeded to approach Tama's tongue with it. Errr, does this comply with OH&S folks?? But luckily for Tama, it was just a joke and we had our delicious hot chocolate minus his bodily fluid. The chocolate we made was out of this world too!
See! That's just Cusco. Onto Lima, my least favourite city in Peru but still pretty good. There's honestly not much to do here but luckily there is a lot to eat. Amazing Nikkei restaurants and so many cevicherias I could barely contain my glee. I'm pretty sure I had Ceviche at least twice a day which is quite a feat I must say. Exploring the city involved a walk through Parque Kennedy where unlike most other cities in South American, the favourite stray animal was the cat. There were a lot of nice looking cats just wandering around the park. A lot of them I noticed were undesexed...likely all of them. Hmmm. If only I had some ketamine and a scalpel. They seemed nice enough and were being fed by someone as there were biscuits all around the park.
Five hours south of Lima is the town of Ica. A hectic town full of taxis and beeping. But just 10 minutes out of Ica is the picturesque oasis town of Huacachina. It was tiny but very cool as I've never been to an oasis before. But the reason why (mostly young) tourists come to Huacachina is for the sandboarding. Sounds innocent enough. But this is a crazy ass tour! Firstly you get in this dune buggy and the guy makes sure your seat belt is secure. Why? Because then he races off at 100km/hr zooming up the sides of massive dunes and over the edge of steep sand canyons. It's probably dangerous but like a rollercoaster, uber fun. The craziest part was when our driver stopped JUST on the edge of a super steep precipice which was to be our first boarding hill. I admit, I was scared! Going down head first on a snowboard over the side of a steep mountain was not something I had thought would be a life fulfuilling experience but the guy gave me a helpful push and I then found myself to be zooming down, wind in my hair, sand in my mouth, screaming in exhilirated glee. Definitely glad that I did it! And then there were two more to go down, each one steeper than the last.
Last stop, Paracas where you can visit the poor man's Galapagos Islands - the Islas Ballestas. We weren't actually planning on stopping by but a girl on our dune buggy tour told us about it and we thought since we were only an hour ago we should check it out. The tour itself was only 2 hours but in that time we saw thousands of animals - seals, penguins and a variety of birds. It was pretty cool for $15 per person. Luckily we got back on land just as I was getting sea sick. For a seaside town the ceviche there was terrible so I was glad to be heading back to Lima. Which there, we ate some more Ceviche, watched 'El Gran Gatsby' or 'The Great Gatsby' (luckily in English with Spanish subs) and got ready for the looooong bus ride to Guayaquil, Ecuador for our REAL Galapagos Island tour.