11.01.2009 - 17.01.2009 35 °C
Hi to everyone, it's your guest speaker, Kathryn here! As you may be aware I am back in the fold of my cousins after a short sojourn back in Blighty. I have been given the huge responsibilty of covering Peru, and have alot to live up to given the quality of previous entries. I will give it my best shot!
For those of you that don't know about my decision to return, I shall tell the tale now. For those of you that do know, I am sorry for being repetitive and will try and keep it short.
After a night out in Quito, and maybe after a few drinks, the girls deposited me at the airport with the fairwell shout of ''SABATICAL!'', and I managed to get my flight. I disembarked at Bogota to catch my connection, and I am afraid to say I cried like a baby. The Colombians must have thought that I was a loco gringa. At this point I called my Mum and told her I wasn't coming home. In no uncertain terms she told me, sternly and sharply, ''you will get on that flight and we will discuss this when you get home''. I felt, and was probably acting, like I was 15 again. After 2 days back at work I thought what the hell, and hit the boss with the bombshell that I wanted a sabatical. ''How long for?'' she asked, slightly panicked. ''2 months'' I replied. After deliberation with the powers that be I was given their blessing and the flight was booked before they could change their mind.
After a nightmare journey out here I landed in Lima at about 11pm. To say I was eager and excited to meet the cousins was an understatement. By the time I arrived at the hostel I was ready to take the wheel from the driver just to get there quicker, and people in Lima drive really quickly. When I arrived at the hostel, Laura and Claire shrieked so loudly that one of the residents thought a murder was occuring. And so began our Peruvian adventure.
Although it has a lot of intersesting qualities, Lima felt like a big bang to all of our senses. It is just another loud, smelly city with not alot to do. The girls and I, however, could manage to have fun even if we were in Acaltraz. One great thing was that the food was amazing, all of you knowing how much us Harris's like our food. On our second night there we went down to the surfers quarters. We ended up in a family's house and had the most surprisingly delicious food. Although it is cheaper here than London, it is still quite expensive and we found the people in Lima alot less friendly than the lovely Colombians.
After spending a hectic xmas and NY in London, what I needed was some R and R, and I think the girls had a bit of a culture shock after their laidback time in Montanita. After 2 nights of 24 hour traffic, we decided to call it a day and head South to Huacachina. We would soon find out what a great decision that would be. After a 6 hour bus journey, arriving in the dark at 10pm we managed to find a comfortable hostel and settled in with a cerveza or two. Whilst standing at the bar, Laura started staring very intently at a man sitting on cushions on the floor. I thought she was being blatently rude, or even worse, weird. Turns out the man used to go to uni with her, what a small world!
The next morning we awoke to one of the most perfect views we have ever seen. We were staying in a tiny oasis in the middle of a desert. It is so beautiful that it is on the back of the 50 Soles note (the Peruvian currency). The population is around 200 and the oasis was surounded by huge sand dunes, with a lagoon at the centre of the village. It was simply stunning. The people there were so friendly and there was a really laidback feeling to the place, we felt we could stay there forever.
We settled in well in Huacachina (anyone surprised?!) and decided to stay a few more days. Our days were filled with getting up for breakfast, relaxing in the sun, a bit of lunch, relaxing in the sun, dinner, and then a bit more relaxing in the bar. It was hard. (The surprise jar of marmite I bought out for the girls went down a treat, however the ribena was confiscated at Miami airport, but that's another story).
Late one afternoon, when we came to the conclusion that it may do us some good to move from our hammocks, we decided to climb the sand dunes to watch the sun set. Not an easy task. So, laden with our cameras and the obligatory carton of Clos, we started trekking. Think 30 degree heat, 45 degree angle and a very big sand dune. 45 minutes later we were still climbing and wondering if it was really worth it. ''Think of the thighs'' was our mantra. We finally managed to reach the top of the dune, and settled in with our Clos. I would have climbed for hours to see the view that appeared. We were rendered speachless (yes, hard to imagine that the 3 of us were silent) by the most breathtaking hues of oranges, pinks and reds of the sunset. After an hour of more relaxing, complete traqnquillity, and of thinking how lucky we were, darkness descended and it was time to go back to our little oasis. The thought of walking down seemed a little too timid for Claire and I, so after borrowing a sandboard from some Spannish guys, we took the easy way down. With Claire at the helm and me perched on the back we made it down the dune in 2 minutes flat. For those of you that knew us then- think circa 1988 with the sledges in the snow, and you can imagine the looks on our faces and the screams of delight! Poor Laura was relegated to cameraman due to said cast. We will make it up to her.
After 3 days of relaxing in the sun, we decided that it was time to make a move. We packed up our rucksacks, and boarded the bus to Arequipa.