Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday, Jan 28th, Lima, Peru


We just met our guide, Pablo, who will be accompanying us for the rest of our Peru adventure, as well as Bolivia.  At dinner here at the hotel in Lima, he explained that we'll be joined by 12 Canadians for our stay in the highlands around Cuzco, and then most of them will be departing to the Galapagos.  Three of our group will travel with us to Bolivia, and then on to Quito in Ecuador.  We'll meet a new guide, for the remainder of the trip to southern Ecuador, the Amazon, and Galapagos.

The finish of our visit to the Nazca lines included seeing the Ballestas Islands, and the Paracas National Reserve.  The low tourist season meant we weren't fighting crowds at either place, and they were well worth the effort.  We were treated to yet one more Nasca line on a large sand dune on the Paracas Peninsula (the Candelabro), dating to 200 B.C.  An alternative theory is that it was altered by San Martin, a Mason and the guy who declared Peru Independent in 1822, because of the similarities in their graphic designs.  I'm thinking early sandboarders.

The mass of bird and seal colonies at Ballestas were pretty impressive, and the surprise were the penguins.  It was very cute when they four of them descended the cliffs from their rocky perch to leap into the surf.  I'm sorry the photos of the moms and pup seals didn't turn out, as we couldn't get very close and I'm still wrestling with my camera's focus options at mid distance.  Our captain maneuvered our launch to quite a few key points around the islands, and we were able to take it all in for over an hour.

The National Reserve also provided us with a clear demonstration of how Paracas got it's name.  "Para" means rain, and "cad" means sand in the local Quechua language.  And this peninsula's sandscape is immense.  The wind has sculpted beautiful designs, and its colors are gorgeous.

We were also treated to a geology lesson, observing 40 million year-old sea shell and petrified wood fossils in the sand, and some awesome beaches.  Paracas culture is one of the earliest in Peru, and many sites are being preserved here in the Reserve.  All in all, a great adventure on the way back to Lima.

To see all of the photos taken today (actually, there's a lot more, but I can't subject you to my indecisions over deleting them), click on Paracas and Ballestas Islands.   

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