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Parque Paracas NP 20.10.15

October 28, 2015

Parque Paracas NP. 20.10.15
The flight over the Nasca Lines was quite amazing. Neither of us realized the area they covered was so large and so many of them. Both lines, trapezoids and figures it was all very impressive. The lines seem to go for eternity and the figures were as large as 300 metres long and very intricate. The Humming Bird would be one of the most fascinating with a series of lines making up its wings and tail. Most were on the desert floor but the astronaut was on the side of a large hill. Well worth the money.
On the way north we called in on the Maria Reiche museum. She came here in 1938, was intrigued by the lines and stayed 60 years studying them. Nasca has a feria each year to honour her. She died in 1998.
We saw the sea for the first time yesterday and it was wonderful lying in bed hearing the surf breaking on the red sand a few metres away.
This is a maritime park taking in a varied coastline, numerous islands and a few kilometres out to sea. It is very windy, renowned for it, and we sit in the bakkie tonight being buffeted by the gusts. Usually it dies down overnight as it did last night and the mornings are very pleasant.
Birdlife is prolific here mainly coastal and sea birds but the Andean Condors are becoming more common feeding on the dead sea lions that are often washed up on the coast. I saw two this morning. It appears the local fishermen kill them when they get caught in their nets.
The park is devoid of trees and there is not much in the way of other vegetation.
The area we passed through yesterday is where the grapes that pisco is made from. We have become quite keen on pisco sours since we’ve been over here.

South of Lima. 21.10.15
From the sublime to the ridiculous. This morning saw us leaving one of the most beautiful settings we have free camped at and tonight here we are in the back section of a massive service station with semis crawling this way and that, some filling up and hitting the road south, others parking in a secure section while the driver takes a meal at the nearby caf. We joined them. Joan the only woman in the place, the truckies, twenty or more, slouched over their papas and Inca Cola. Actually it was a very nice eatery and we both enjoyed a pleasant meal washed down with a glass of Argentinian Syrah.
The plan was to stop up the road a bit at the Peruvian Automobile Assn camping area but the gates were barred and the two blokes there were adamant our NRMA cards would not sway them in the slightest. ‘No’ was ‘No!’ My cursing and telling them they were a pair of wankers made little difference. But then they didn’t understand English.
The alternative though seems pretty good. A nice meal, security seems good and ear plugs to aid us in a good nights sleep.
Lima, a city of 9 million, doesn’t interest us that much. The idea was to stay on the autopista that goes through the city and head north to a nice camp site about 180kms north of the city for a few days.
Camp Media Mundo. 210kms north of Lima. 22.10.15..
Peter and Christa, a German couple had told us driving in Lima was a nightmare but the map showed a beautiful multi lane highway passing right through the centre of the city and heading north for some 175kms. What could be easier? Getting into the city centre went well but getting out became a nightmare of jams, reckless drivers cutting you off, tooting horns, roadworks and to cap it off one intersection that took us 45 minutes to get up to then fight our way across. I was stuck in the middle of it for quite some time while the lights changed from green to red, back to green, then red, a dirty big truck at 90 degrees to me blocking my exit with buses edging into any fraction of a space if it eventuated. Surprisingly it didn’t concern me at all. In these situations you have to drive like them or you get smothered and your uncertainty could be the cause of an accident. We haven’t seen any dings during our time in Peru but there are plenty of dented cars and buses on the road.But Media Mundo is a birders paradise. Set on a 2km long lagoon a few hundred metres from the sea it is home to a myriad of wetland and aquatic birds. The lagoon is surrounded by high reeds, a real sanctuary for some of the species and while I type this at night the sound of night birds calling has the breaking of the surf as a back drop.
The road here has been through coastal desert with the odd bit of greenery in the way of sugar cane, small crops and market gardening. What you can’t help noticing is the areas of desert close to the road that have been divided up into small lots with a single roomed shack built on them.. Usually empty and without a window or door I think they were an attempt to supply a house and land for the campesinos when the government broke up the large land holdings. The land us useless in itself and I don’t think services have been installed. The only thing that seems to have taken off are chook farms owned by some of the cooperatives. Long low sheds with granery silos nearby I think they have proved a winner for some of them.
Media Mundo 23.10.15
This is a fantastic place to recharge ones batteries. The reeds on the landward side of the lagoon would be 100 or so metres wide. Water courses run through it and places where the reeds have been cut for thatch exposes the birdlife that would otherwise be hidden.
The resort itself is new and the owner, Orlando, is very proud of what he has created. Tilapia, an introduced fish, are being bred in ponds coming out of the lagoon. We will sample some tonight. Hydroponically grown lettuces also grown here will accompany the fish. We hope it looks as good or bettter in ten years time. So many of the places start well but maintenance is so often lacking.
Warnings of attacks on tourists in this area make it necessarry to find secure places to stay and this was ideal. Not sure when but some overlanders were robbed at gun point not far from here. Between 1980 and 2000 there was a guerillla war going on in the mountains east of here between the Maoist ‘Shining Path’ guerillas and the Peruvian army in which over 70,000 perople were killed and many villagers escaped to the cities on the coast and are now part of the problem of lawlessness it appears.
We had a bit of a shock the other day. Before getting on the plane to view the Nasca Lines they put us on the scales, it was a very small plane. Joan had lost 3 kg and I was down 9kg from when we left home. That’s allowing for clothes, shoes and bags. Time to get into some fattening foods. We have eaten pretty well but maybe not as much as we should’ve.

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