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Published: October 27th 2018
It has been a go-go-go for the last seven days and we were swamped. So when the wake-up call came @5 am, we really didn’t want to get up. The last time…I told myself. Well, I always wanted to see the Nazca lines and Ica desert is just on our way. So why not have some fun doing the monkey business as I always do! Only difference is I dragged Suman this time…haha!
We were picked up around 6-ish and the cab drove us straight to the Lima bus station. It was a day trip to see the Ica desert and the Nazca lines. We knew it would be a long day. The hotel prepared us packed sandwiches for the road. Hardly there was any traffic during the 15 minute ride to the bus station. Lima was sleeping. “Wanna coffee?” I asked Suman. We grabbed another round of coffee in the bus station. The luxury bus left Lima 7:00 am sharp. It’s a four hours ride to Paracus and boy, it was a relaxing ride alright. To be honest, we were used to Greyhound services in Canada and this was indeed a luxury ride as compared to that!
We enjoyed every bit of the ride.
The landscape soon became arid desert. Probably Lima would be dry too if it didn’t get the moisture from the ocean. It was around 11am when the bus snaked through the small roads of Paracus and entered the terminal. The plan was to spend the first half of the day to the Ica desert and have some fun in buggy-ride and of course, the sand-boarding. Neither Suman nor I been to a real desert before. So we opted this opportunity to have some desert fun before we were to fly out to see the Nazca lines in the afternoon.
We looked around but couldn’t find our pick up. Hmmm…is it time to worry! Well, we had to wait for a while before the driver showed up to take us to Ica. Anyway, our car drove through the small desert town of Paracus towards the Ica desert. I looked around; totally brown. No sign of green anywhere. We are not used to this climate and it’s difficult for us to apprehend how the people can live in desert cities like this – day-in and day-out. There is no rain, no green pastures,
no seasons, everything is scorched by the sun, and the blowing wind carries sand and dust. I don’t think I could live here. Then again, people get used to.
It was a 15-20 minutes ride to the Ica desert. We got out of the car and boarded one of the dune buggies. It’s like a Rover equipped with high end drives to deal with the unstable sand dunes and ravines.
“Do you want sand boarding from high cliff or from a low height?” The guy asked while driving his buggy. He is a Peruvian from a distant desert town, but his English was fluent. I said, “Amigo, we never did it before. We just want to have a feel first. So let’s start with a low one and then we go higher up. How does it sound?” “Si, si.” The guy gave us a smile.
The drive through the desert sand itself was spectacular. Our seatbelts were on and we were holding the rails so that we don’t get thrown out of the car during the maneuver. We were not the only one looking for desert fun. We could spot buggies miles away in the bright desert
sun, just like a dot. Well, finally we stopped near a sand dune where we could see a long desert slope.
“I go first” I told Suman. I wanted to make sure I wait downhill when she comes down in case she skids and needs my help. “Ok, face down, hold the board to your stomach and chest,” the guy instructed. I held myself tight to the board on the sand, face down with legs folded up. “Ok, there you go, amigo,” One push from the top, whizzz I go. I was picking up speed as I was moving downhill over the sand. I knew I will slow down once I reach the flat surface of the sand at the bottom. But I wanted to slow down now as the speed was increasing with the momentum. I brought my feet down and dug in the sand to brake early enough so that I come down at a controlled speed. Slowly I came to a halt! Not bad for the first time, I thought! I stood up on the sand and looked up. I could see Suman like a dot. I raised my hand to give a signal and there
she went. Well, she made it fine too without any mishap. Overjoyed, alright, we passed! The driver drove the buggy down and we shook hands.
“You made it well, amigo,” he told smiling at us. “Let’s try the higher one” He was excited.
Suman was not in a mood to try out the higher dune. But I wanted. I am an adrenaline junkie! Any chance to feel butterfly in the stomach, I am game. Well, correction…I didn’t like Bungee jumping and Tarzan swing in Costa Rica. That’s all! I am fine with the rest.
“I will do it, let’s go amigo” I announced.
“I will wait in the buggy, you go” Suman told me. We drove up near a cliff and I looked down. Walla, this was a dune sitting high on a desert cliff. I could see more than a mile downhill, far below the sand dune. “Are you sure?” Suman was suspicious. I was actually thrilled with the set up. The same drill, hold the sand board to my chest upside down with the legs bent upwards.
Showtime! “Ready? One-two-three,” he gave me one push and I was whizzing through the sand, actually
bursting like a missile this time as the slope was now much steeper. I was picking up speed fast, soon exceeding my comfort zone. The sand looked blurred as I was jetting down. Come on, this was my first sand boarding, I don’t have a clue how much speed is safe. I was not fastened with anything; one wrong move, one sudden turn at that speed, I would be thrown out of the board flying over the sand. And I am sure it would break one or two bones of my body even though it was sand. So I better be careful. I glanced down and still there was a fair bit of downhill to glide. And the way I was picking up speed, I was sure it will be soon out of my control before I could even reach the flat surface. Then it would be too late. Nha, “do it now” I told myself. I straightened my leg and dug in the sand, just enough nudge to slow me down as I did the last time. Nope, didn’t help much. I had to dig in further into the sand and I could feel my toes were burning due
to friction. I was enjoying the ride, but I didn’t want to hurt myself near the end of my trip. I reached the plain surface with my feet dug deep in the sand. Well, I made it! I stood up. I could see the buggy at the top of the sand dune like a small ant. Hope the guy has a bino to see me and drive down. Well, he had trained eyes and he drove the buggy with Suman right close to me.
“Are you ok?” Suman asked me jumping out from the buggy.
“Yes, I’m fine. A little bit scary, but fun. Let’s go.”
We all headed out driving through the desert towards the town. We passed a beautiful oasis with a resort. I have seen oasis only in the pictures; this was the first time I saw oasis in real life. We got out of the Ica desert and headed straight to the Pisco airport. Yeah, that was the main reason we came all the way here for – to see the famous Nazca Lines from the sky. Let’s do that! The next episode….stay tuned.
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