The sky in Peru is white. My friend told me it was, and he was not wrong. Turns out, it is a real thing called “Garua” where dry winds hit the Andes and create a low-level mist cloud that blocks the sun for months at a time. Garua in Hebrew means terrible, and that would be my way of describing this white/gray sky.
I expected the return to South America, after 3 weeks roadtripping the US, to be bumpy. That was an understatement. We decided to double our budget for Lima so that the transition would be smoother. We arrived late at night to a top rated hostel with amazing reviews, but we got to this weird house-turned-hostel run by a very creepy man who lived on the ground floor and had a creepy one-way window to the common areas of the hostel. Our room was on the top floor with no windows, old carpets and a locker. It smelled like antique shops and the sheets were single on a double bed. We agreed that it was a perfect setting for a serial killer. The next morning I woke up early and went downstairs to drink some tea, and found the man showing 4 guests what to do in Lima. They had maps and colored markers and he was the only one who spoke and markered. After 20 minutes 2 of them said they needed to go and he said they should wait until the end of the lecture. I think they sat there for over 45 minutes. I don’t love cities to start with, but a gray city with a serial killer who wouldn’t stop talking was too much. I went upstairs and told Avri we had to leave Lima.
Because of altutude sickness we could get in Cusco, we decided to travel there gradually by taking buses instead of flying, but break it up as much as possible to visit the towns and not go on 20 hour drives.
Avri found a small town called Lunahuana where we could start the journey. It was a cute 4 block town that apparently filled up in the weekend with Peruvian tourism that came for the rafting and zip-lining they had. We were there mid-week and were literally the only foreigners – to the point where a woman was giving out flyers for a restaurant and showing me where it was, and I told her we ate there yesterday and she said, no, you ate in the one next to us. So yeah, we stood out.
After a couple of days of just chilling (and watching the first season of Orphan Black) we headed out to Paracas, a town on the water from where you take boats to the Ballestas Islands (poor man’s Galapagos) and go to the nature reserve where you see the desert and the sea. Avri needs a really really good reason to get on a boat and so we passed on the Islands but do plan to go to the desert later today, even though the most visited areas are closed off because they are building stuff to expand tourism.
The town is surrounded by factories that make fish food for chickens and the smell of fish is so strong so that we can’t stay here for much longer. Yesterday we realized that our plan to take buses was probably not the best when we found out that the next destination (Arequipa) was 12 hours away, and then another like 20 to Cusco. A group of Israelis we met said 12 hours is no big deal but they are still so young and resistant and we are older in both body and mind.
So now we don’t know what our next step is. Should we go back to Lima to catch a flight? Or should we give this 12 hour bus a try? Neither of us can decide.