We got back to Lima, from Puno, on a 24 hour bus ride from Puno, staying at the same hotel as when we first arrived. Waiting at reception, while someone else was taking up the receptionist’s time, I flipped through a tour company’s brochure. To discover a photo I took a few years ago, being used to promote a trip to the only oasis in Latin America, Huacachina.
Some online sleuthing showed the company using my photo extensively to promote their trips. An email later, pointing out their transgression, where I suggested them paying the license fee and a fine, or them offering us one of their rather expensive day trips, PeruHop was reasonable enough to host us on a day trip, to Paracas, the Ballestas islands and Huacachina.
But, to participate, we had to get up at 4:30, getting back at midnight. A bit much.
On the trip, we joined tourists completely separated from, what I think, are more conventional backpackers, finding their own way around the country. PeruHop offers full service bespoke tours of Peru and Bolivia. Operating their own busses and providing excursions all over the country. The tourists on their busses never need to deal with local service providers to get around or see the sights. At a cost, with a lot of convenience, but still, in a way, on the backpacker’s trail.
The trip was enjoyable and reasonably well organized, even though the guide that was with us for most of the day had an unintentional degree in sowing confusion.
The Ballestas islands are a self-styled ‘poor man Galapagos’, while in Huacachina we got a tour by sand buggy followed by some sandboarding. Perhaps at least as interesting is a ‘Nazca pattern’ that can only be seen from the sea. Though, when the Spanish first landed, they made no mention of the ‘Candelabro’, implying that, perhaps, this one was a more recent addition, perhaps even created by the Spanish themselves.
Later, after Natalia had started on her way back to Brazil, I realised that the streets of Lima had started to see a new type of street food seller: Venezuelan empanada pushers.
And then, on the day the opener of Game of Thrones season 7, more than half a dozen pubs were hosting parties, showing the last episodes of the previous season before showing the start of the new season. I want to De Grot and joined the crowds.