Monday, November 15, 2010

Parties, paddle boats, and a movie marathon

A great weekend in Nazca and Huacachina! Sasha and I did not see the Nazca lines by plane (nothing like some downed tourists to kick the prices up) but we did see about a dozen of thousand-year-old mummies.

Huacachina is a beautiful little oasis in the middle of the desert, and the sandboarding near there was AWESOME. I even tried standing up. Once. So the next time you find yourself in the area....

Tons of potential, truly authentic Halloween costumes just lying by the paths.

Some new anecdotes I can tell at parties:

In the car ride out to see the Nazca Lines

Me: So what do the people here think about all the tourism? (You know, wanting to be all anthropological.)

Jeffrey(our guide): They mostly think it’s a good thing. It’s how we live. (Pause) But you know, you can’t generalize.

M: Ah, yeah. (Wait, what?) Generalize about what?

J: Listen, friend, I’m not going to say anything about all the tourists. People are different. You know, like if someone doesn’t want to drink with us, that’s fine! Or if someone wants to go to bed early, good, rest! Some people like that.

M: (Are we still talking about tourism?) Yeah. We do.

J: But sometimes the people staying in the hostal say to me, “Hey, Jeffrey, can you get us a little marijuana, or a little cocaine? Is that possible?” And I say, “Of course it’s possible! C’mon. How could it not be possible? We’re in Peru! Everything is possible in Peru! And they say, “How long will that take?” And I say, “Oh please, 5 minutes no más!”

Obviously translated and paraphrased. Except those last two words, whose spirit just couldn’t be conveyed any other way.

Apparently Jeffrey thought we knew that tourists in Nazca have a reputation of being drunken, drugged partiers. And now we do. He also may have been looking to make a little pocket change. Which he didn't.

Our room at the hostal in Nazca. I'm a new fan of hostals.

Plaza de Armas in Nazca

Near the paddle boats on the lake in Huacachina

Sasha and I get on the boats, giggling about the tiny kiddy umbrellas they’ve just handed us to keep off the sun, which is just middling warm.

Paddle boat man (who had been rather pushy and rude beforehand): You pay now.

Me: Oh, sure. How much is it?

PBM: 15 soles. (A little more than five bucks.)

Us: EACH??

PBM: Each.

We exchange looks, shake our heads incredulously. 15 soles for a 20 minute paddle boat ride? Highway robbery. Or… high seas robbery. Teehee.

Me(probably a bit pissy): Then we’re getting off. (We hand him our umbrellas.)

PBM (keeping his foot on it and standing in our way, looking, to me, slightly threatening): Why are you getting annoyed? Don’t get annoyed.

Me: Well I get annoyed when some pushy salesmen takes advantage of two American girls who generously decide to pay for the privilege of risking their lives in his paint chipping, decade old, at-the-bottom-of-the-lake-at-any-moment paddle boat, you thief. Now get your freakin foot off and let us get the heck off of here! No really! I would've said that if I had any idea how to do it in Spanish.

It was more like: I’m not, we’re just getting off.

PBM: How much did you think it was?

Well, we had thought it was less than 5 soles total. But at the time it seemed unlikely that even this guy would jack the price up more than six times for a couple of gringas. In retrospect, I’m not so sure. But paddle boats basically was our morning itinerary.

Us: 5 soles each.

PBM (after consulting with the guy next to him, like we were really getting a steal): Fine. Go ahead.

Us: What about the umbrellas?

PBM: You don’t get any umbrellas. (Pushes us off.)

Well, we got a good laugh for our five soles each.

^^Look at me! I'm dying from heat! What ever could have prevented it?^^

The movie on the late night bus ride

I don't really even know what it was, since part of the time I was sleeping and part of the time I was listening to Modern Scholar's The History of the English Language in audio form. (Raise your hand if you're cool enough to be excited that English was once a synthetic language!)

I did catch enough to know that the crappy sound system only became unbearable in the airplane scene, my chest became tight if I glanced up when they were water-boarding some chick, and Sylvester Stallone clearly has a medical condition in which his forehead cannot move.

How do I know all this you ask? They played the move two and a half times straight through. At some point I think I heard people begging them to take it out. (And possibly threatening to throw themselves out of the vehicle. Or that could've been the voice in my head.)

Finally, something inspired them in the middle of the third run to turn the darn thing off completely. And just when I was sure that every person on that bus was breathing a sigh of relief, some lady in the back yells in a high pitch voice, "Señor! Turn on the television! Turn it on!"

But happily, that woman will never know if even the great Stallone could save the day three times in a row.

Sorry so long. Happy Monday!



    No umbrella for you X-D You TOTALLY should have said what you wanted to say. For all the gringitas out there, write it out and practice it for next time.

    Our travel bus rides just played cumbias or American 60's music.
    At one point our entire group were singing our lungs out at 9PM to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (which is a beloved classic in Ecuador, apparently).

  2. Great blog... great photos. The paddle boat guy is exactly like all the other jerks that ripped me off for a year in Lima. lol... they just get you so mad!!!

    As for Nasca... I heard the plan ride wasn't even worth it anyway. So no sweat. I know a guy who went earlier this year and said that the plane banked so much that he couldn't take any photos and barely saw a thing.