Sunday, August 18, 2013

We made our way to Pisco by bus, clutching a $9 ticket that was handwritten on a recycled paper template. I hesitantly handed over my bags, a backpacker's bag and an oversized suitcase that I immediately realized was completely impractical and unnecessary. I worried about my luggage disappearing, and decided to look out the window every time we stopped to make sure it didn't walk away with a different passenger.

The bus ride was beautiful. We drove down the coast with a constant view of the beach and the ocean. The bus was also surprisingly comfortable. The seats reclined almost to a laying position, and they served free lunch and snacks. The lunch was terrible - I swear the bread was part plastic. Ali says there's just more egg in the bread here, and that's what gives it its challah-like glaze. It was the first time ever that Ali liked the food more than me. They also played a movie for us about magicians. I think ScarJo and a guy that looks like Hugh Jackman were in it, but I am not sure. Anyhow, it was an American movie that was dubbed into Spanish with English subtitles.

As we were driving through Chincha, Ali pointed out that there was a little boy who had just crafted his own kite out of a trash bag and sticks.

We also observed an interesting method of security on the buses and at the bus station. A minute before departure, a woman came onto the bus and had everyone look into a handheld camera. Then, once we pulled up to the station, they had another handheld camera and were taking videos of people picking up their bags. Very different.

Once we reached Pisco, we discovered something else that was very different - mototaxis. They are miniature cars that speed through the streets honking their horns because there are no street lights or stop signs, so it's the only way to warn people that they are driving through a busy intersection. It's basically a free for all. The drivers honk and hope it will be OK. It's insane. 

Once we got to Pisco, we found out we were too late for a tour of Paracas, so we walked around the small city center. Pisco is only ten blocks total.

On our walk, Ali began talking to a guy who sells tours for Paracas and Huacachina. He was incredibly friendly. I still haven't really acclimated to the friendliness of strangers in Peru. We thought Sam was directing us to a BBQ restaurant, but he  actually brought us to his friend's barbecue in an empty lot in between two buildings. At the gathering there were plastic stools, children, and at least ten people who all immediately introduced themselves, in Spanish, and with kisses on the cheek. I was very unprepared for the experience, and couldn't understand anything they were saying, so Ali and I left soon after and had dinner at El Dorado down the street.

Later, we ran into Sam again, and this time he brought us to his friend's house, who he described as the oldest person in Pisco. This man, Igor, lived in the ruins of a hotel that crumbed in the 2007 earthquake in Pisco. The earthquake was an 8.4, and did a toll on the entire city, but the effects of the quake were especially apparent at the site of this hotel. The hotel was slowly being rebuilt, and Igor lived in a one room apartment there. In order to get to his apartment, you had to climb over the earthquake debris. His stories were incredibly sad. He told us about how his wife was killed in the quake, and how less than a year ago he found a baby in the garbage, and adopted her after the police said they wouldn't get involved.

No comments:

Post a Comment