Back to Sea Level and a Night in Peru´s Most Dangerous City

The day after Australia Day marked exactly two months in South America for me. I´ve decided I will try to keep up a blog. It will be good for me to have a written record of my travels and it will give me something to do on long bus rides. Also, it can be tempting to get a bit lazy mid-trip so hopefully it will motivate me to make the most of my remaining three month here.

After spending a few days in Arequipa, I went to Huacachina, a town by an oasis where you can sandboard. You get to Huacachina by getting a taxi from Ica, which is a nearby city. The night I was on the way to Ica, there was an earthquake there and twelve people died. I think I was too far away to feel anything but most people at my hostel in Huacachina were woken up by it. The earthquate registered at about a 6.

I arrived in Huacachina yesterday and it is the first time in over a month that I have been at sea level. Before that, I´d been at high altitude in Bolivia and parts of Peru. Luckily, I didn´t get altitude sickness like some people but I got fatigued quite easily, especially when going uphill.

Another annoying thing is that I would get drunk very easily at high altitude. Normally, I would consider this to be a good thing as I have a very high alcohol tolerance. But it was a pretty unpleasant level of drunkeness. After about two drinks, I would be incredibly tired and pretty much ready for bed.

I was hoping I would feel invigorated being back at sea level where the oxygen level is normal – not really. I’m starting to realise one upside of living at high altitude is the lack of mosquitoes. Since arriving in Huacachina, I’ve accumulated at least thirty bites.

Last night I went to wine tour with a guy from my dorm. To be honest, I only went because I liked him – kind of lame because he is Australian and I had vowed I would avoid Australian guys for the rest of this trip. The tour was all you can drink and we were bused to somewhere in Ica, supposedly Peru´s most dangerous city. The bus ride was pretty funny because our Peruvian guide´s idea of a great party was to blast Pittbull and flick the bus lights on and off.

The night itself was alright. Sam and I drank far more than anyone else on the tour but for a change, I wasn´t really that drunk. After a while, the others got up to dance while we continued to drink. Then we ran out of alcohol and were given a bottle of Pisco when we asked for a top up. I would describe Pisco as an unpleasant Peruvian liquor that sort of tastes like tequila.

After midnight, the other people in the group decided they wanted to return to Huacachina and find a bar there, which I felt sort of defeated the purpose of paying for an all you can drink night. I was wearing a large men’s shirt so I hid the Pisco under it and we all got the bus back. Then I wandered around Huacachina with them for a while but there wasn’t anything going on. It was 1 and I had to be up at 5 the next day so I went to bed. Sam stayed out with everyone else. It was kind of a shame because he left the next day and from the moment we met I really liked him.

Tomorrow I leave for Lima. I’ve really liked Huacachina. I enjoyed the sandboarding and it was surreal to stand in the sand dunes overlooking the oasis. I also went on a speedboat tour to Ballestas Islands, which is sort of a poor man’s Galapagos Island. It cost $15 and I got to see sea lions and penguins.

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