I've been on an accidental hiatus, running around Peru with few seconds to spare for a blog update. But here I am! Last night I got home from a weekend trip to Huacachina, Ica, and Paracas with Sare, Jacey, Emily, Meghan and our wonderful Peruvian friend Indy. Huacachina is this beautiful laguna oasis in the middle of the desert, a town so small you can walk around it in t-minus 10 minutes. The tiny sunny city is surrounded by massive sand dunes, which we dune buggied aaaaall da way up and sandboarded aaaaall da way down. You can choose to ride a regular sandboard with simple straps or a snowboard with boots, which Jacey did cause she's a badass. We all rode down standing up but then on the huuuuge dunes you have to go down on your belly face first, intense. Except Jacey didn't have a choice due to her board! Girl raced down the mountain, sand in her teeth for days hahaha. Shredders! Saturday in the morning we ate breakfast on the laguna and lounged by the pool of our crazy cool hostel which sat right at the foot of a towering sand dune. We rode paddle boats on the lagoon! Ica is the nearby bigger city, and Paracas is a coastal hub about an hour away. After a few hours of combis, collectivos, taxis, etc (all of which cost us about 20 soles total= under $10, ooh yeah love the exchange rate) we made it to Paracas to sit by the beach and have the freshest fish and ceviche on the planet. Literally still scales on the plate. We walked along the beach and ate Lucuma ice cream then headed back to Ica to catch our bus back to Lima.
To catch up on a few other trips and things: I went to Huaraz a few weeks ago, and I think it has been my favorite trip so far. It's about 8 hours north of Lima, smack dab in between the Cordillera Blancas mountain chain and the Cordillera Negra. Look up at any point in the entire city to white glaciers, catching the light in otherworldly ways. The first day, which we were "supposed" to take easy because of the altitude, we rode little horses up a glacier instead! New favorite thing: big people on little horses. A concept that I am slowly adapting to is the sense of Peruvian time. "cinco minutos, solo un poco mas" (5 minutes, only a little bit further) could literally mean "oh just to the top of the glacier!" So asking our horsebackriding guides how much longer we would be scaling slippery mountain tops really was quite useless. Alas, an adventure ensued, and an amazing experience was had. We all felt like rebel cowboys and I decided to invest in a solid pair of cowgirl boots one of these days. As my friend Meghan said, "The best time to be rebellious is on a mini horse!"
The next day was my favorite day of Peru. We woke up early temprano early to hike to Laguna 69, a glacial lake high in the Cordillera Blancas. We crossed meadows and streams inhabited by wild horses and cows, living and grazing so peacefully I couldn't help but feel an irrevocable happiness. As we got further up, we began to zig zag across the terrain, surrounded by waterfalls and glaciers above and beautiful green flatland below. At such high altitude it was extremely difficult, and we had to take a lot of "pausas." We all had a wad of coca leaves in our mouths the whole weekend, as to fight of altitude sickness. Not super tasty, but definitely works. For reals: this was THE hardest hike I've ever done, but "vale la pena mucho," it was so worth it. When we finally reached the top, Laguna 69 was waiting for us in all it's amazing blue glory! We ate lunch and dipped our feet in the freezing azul, soooo proud of ourselves. I think it will always be my happy place.
Peru is so wonderful because of it's versatility. One day I will be surfing on the cloudy Lima coast, another I'm climbing to a glacial lake in the Cordillera Blancas, and another I'm racing face first down a sand dune. What's next?
As for what I've been doing in Lima, to name a few... (!) Having fun, staying up too late, eating delicious food (Aji de gallina, pollo a la brasa, PALTA SANDWICHES, tequeños, arroz con pollo, camotes y muuucho mas,) drinking fresh papaya juice every morning, surfing, making friends on the micros, enjoying the exchange rate, watching Al Fondo Hay Sitio (veeery silly peruvian tv series) every night at 8 with my host fam, enjoying every second with my amazing host family, laughing with Elva, listening to Matias' jokes, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, discotecas/bars/outside lawn parties that last till 10am, exploring my charming district of Pueblo Libre, running to all the music that we hear in the clubs, pretending I know the lyrics when they play on the micro radios, knitting and sharing knitting tips with my Abuelita, speaking in spanish A LOT (but I always want more!), making brownie muffins with Sarah and Elva but the oven doesn't work so we hop on a bus with raw brownies and cook them at another family members house, dancing in big circles with a hundred adorable older Peruvians, BBQs, jumping in pools with clothes on oops, Mistura the famous Peruvian food festival, more surfing, dancing, laughing, making Peruvian friends (finally!) okay I'm beginning to repeat myself, rightfully so I guess because that's how it is when life is a whirlwind!
Being away has made me appreciate home more than I could ever imagine. I miss you all with every inch of my heart!
besotes y abrazos,