and onwards to Paracas
10.01.2013 - 13.01.2013 -32 °C
After our saga in Santiago we arrived in Lima in style being picked up by a driver at the airport who whisked us to our hotel in San Isidro where our hotel was located. Being dog tired we opted for a takeaway delivery and did'nt set foot outside til nearly lunch time the next day. When we walked outside we soon realised we were in the D4 of Lima. Nearly every second property was an embassy and of course the place was impeccably groomed. Sometimes you fall on your feet when you book online but this time it was entirely by accident.
Our stay in Lima was really a litany of taxi rides to replenish our stolen stocks - camera charger, laptop, backback etc. It amazed us how many staff were in all the shops, some with no customers. However, the surplus of staff did not equate to great service - to try and get some attention was a skill in itself. At one point Seamus stripped naked and no one in the shop noticed........(I apologise, that was Aine dreaming again).
On our our first day after spending several hours trying to get served in shops we were starving so we decided to go into the first restaurant that looked busy. We went down a side street and into what turned out to be a chinese restaurant where we had the tastiest and freshest chinese we have ever tasted - 3 drinks, 2 starters and 2 main courses all for the princely sum of €7. We love Lima! That evening Aine was gagging for a drink and our hotel only served beer so they directed us around the corner to the nearest hotel which turned out to be the 5 star Lima Country Club! We decided to break the bank and ordered two double pisco sours which cost us nearly 5 times as much as lunch! It was very luxurious indeed so much so that when we were presented with a small bowl of mixed nuts and raisins we devoured it and the waitress replenished it and brought us some heur d'hoeves. Of course I ate them too and she topped us up with some more. We had to leave before we drew too much attention to ourselves.
Day 2 and 3 commenced with a fine breakfast followed by more shopping combined with sight seeing (the Cathedral and other fine buildings. We walked along the sea front at a height of 400 m above the strand where there were shops built into the cliffs. Having replaced most of our stolen stock we took a 4 hour bus to Paracas which is on the coast south of lima.
There is nothing much in Paracas except for it's proximity to the Ballestas Islands, which are world renowned for bird and mammal life. We took a boat ride out to see the wildlife and saw plenty of it. On the way to the islands, we saw El Candelabro, a large-scale Geoglyph that may have served as a beacon to mariners.
The mystery as to the origins of this particular Geoglyph is ongoing with much speculation. The Ballestas islands are famous for guano i.e. bird shit, which they harvest every few years by hand and export to the UK. Peru's economy in the last century was based on guano production, but the fact that the Peruvians overfished the stocks of anchovies over the years has meant that the number of birds has drastically reduced. Still. there is a shit load of birds there. Some of the rocks were black with nesting cormorants. Then, there are pelicans, gannets and seals basking on the rocks.
Later that day we got the hell out of dodge, Paracas, and got the bus to Nasca, the home of the famous Nasca lines.