Sunday, July 08, 2007
From mountains to desert and sea...
I meant to update my blog last night but the computer at my hotel was occupied, and I accidentally fell asleep at 830! But today was my tour to the Islas Ballestas and Paracas Reserve. It was great! (I admit, sometimes organized tours where someone else does all the planning can be nice).
First, I had a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands. Dad, I think I now have some birds on my "life list" (if I had one) that you don't. From the boat, I saw two kinds of cormorants, Peruvian seagulls (which looked like every other seagull I have ever seen), and boobies, which really is a bird name. But even better, I saw Humboldt Penguins, sea lions, and flamingos! I never would have imagined ever seeing any of these animals in the wild, so it was pretty neat. Also saw a mysterious etching in a cliff wall, no one knows if it was made by pre-Inca cultures such as the Nazca or paracas cultures, or by pirates. A stone structure called the Catedral, lots of ocean views, and a red beach.
The strangest thing is that this ocean (well, the Pacific ocean, specifically) is bordered by desert. The driest desert in the world, the Atacama-maximum of 2mm of rain a YEAR (see, I learned something today!). It is such a strange juxtaposition, having the ocean there but nothing but sand and rock as far as the eye can see. Interesting.
Tomorrow I have another ride on my double decker bus, and if I survive the trip through Lima, fly home!
Pictures: 1. the candelabra or whatever etched into the ground 2. note the sea lion on the right of the rock 3. pacific coast