Lima on repeat
By the time I arrived in Lima in December I had been travelling for 11 months. A few hectic preceeding months combined with the transit from hell meant I was decidedly burnt out and travel wary, I decided this month was to be about work and not much else.
I spent most of my days heading to the workspace, working, looking for food, returning back to my apartment to relax or head out and explore the city on foot. I managed to avoid most of the party aspects of the city entirely knowing their would be plenty of that over New Years and January.
Work life balance
After a few hectic months of adventure I had fallen behind on some of my work goals, December was a great month to play catch up. The workspace was great and managed to get back on track with my work.
Additonally I had been planning a month long adventure with the wonderful Di McNae starting mid Jan in Lima, working our way east until we reached Bolivia then head south to Chille. This was a great reason not to go on the constant side trips with the Kaizens despite the ever mounting FOMO. I had to make a concerted effort to avoid Instagram during this period as I knew I would be visiting all these places next month and wanted things to be somewhat of a surprise. As it turns out I need not have worried.
Ceviche & Pisco
Peruvian gastronomy and bar culture is as impressive as it is varied but the staples are Ceviche and Pisco, both of which I sampled in abundance, the Ceviehe particularly was standout. Pisco sours were a little full on for my delecate constitution and I’d normally limit myself to one (luckily as they are quite potent). I did a group Cevieche & Pisco making course which as I suspected was more assembly of fresh ingredients than cooking per se - although I was surprised how much salt goes into the Ceviche.
The Playas’ down south
I did make two excursions out of the city to explore the private beach enclaves to the south that are the weekend escapes of the well helled Lima residents. The first trip was originally intended to be a boating trip to view the sealions and wildlife but took a detour after befriending a local on a stand up paddle board. We accidentially dunked him in the ocean after throwing him a beer - after talking for a bit were invited to come back to his private beach and villa to drink Pisco with him and his family (all 15 of us), it would be rude not to right?
We went down south again to Punta Hermosa for a Christmas day party, our Remote Year group leaders were nice enough to rent a palacial mansion in one of the many gated communitites that line the beaches south of Lima. This place was amazing and unlike any Christmas day I have ever had.
Second time around
After a few weeks exploring the hedonism that is Colombia over New Years my partner in crime Di joined me in Medellin to start our travels, first up was to head back down to Lima where after a few days we would meet up with our tour group.
We had a few days in Peru before the official start of the tour, with one full free day in Lima we decided to take a Cycle tour of the Miraflores and Barranco regions. The tour was just the two of us and our guide, we meandered through the streets as he pointed out architectural or cultural landmarks. I’m embarrassed to say that I learned more in these two hours about Lima and Peru than the entire previous month. We ended at an authentic local bodega where we sampled some of the local food and drinks.
I know this part isn’t Lima but it was so awesome it deserves a mention. The next day we started out early and hopped a bus to get to Huacachina, a desert oasis a few KM outside the city of Ica. Huacachina is a surreal place of lush palm trees and a lake set amongst the worlds largest sand dunes, how the sand dunes don’t just shift a little and engulf the little oasis is beyond me.
The sand dunes are what most people come here for, specifically the dune buggies and sand skiing - both of which we were keen to have a go at. I must say I was quite nervous given I haven’t set foot on skis for over 20 years (that makes me feel old). My fears were confirmed on the first few runs where I felt very unsteady and couldn’t quite get it right. But after a few more runs I get back into the swing of things - by the end of the day we were bombing the most challenging hills our guide could muster. We would think each one was bigger and much steeper than the last, but after decending it and being pickup up by our dune buggie we were eager for the next.
It was so much fun and I can highly recommend so long as you don’t mind getting sand EVERYWHERE. We ended the day by skiing/boarding down the final dune into the two to some much deserved and needed beers.
We were rudely rocked awake at 4am by what turned out to be a 7.1 earthquake nearby, what started as a regular shaking earthquake turned into waves that could be felt through the unsteady building foundations. My mind imeadiately went to my initial thoughts of being engulfed by the mountains of sand surrounding us - luckily this didn’t happen.
What did happen however was the power went out, this had the unexpected side effect of ejecting all the punters from the nearby nightclubs. Undeterred the revellers moved the party to the street where they lit their headlights and blasted their (surprisingly powerful) car stereos until dawn.
With no air con, the risk of being engulfed by sand dunes and terrible spanish pop music rattling the walls, the rest of the nights sleep should have been non-existant - lucky I was so exhaused from the sand skiing I went out like a light and slept like a baby, I woke in the moring to find everythnig back to normal.