Monday, 30 August 2010

Sandboards and dune buggies

I was a little apprehensive about the next planned activity after the lines – leaving Nazca we were heading to Huachachina, a town not far away, based around an oasis in the middle of the desert, where we had the opportunity to take a dune buggy and combine a rollercoaster ride up and down the dunes with a try at sandboarding – basically snowboarding but on sand. Reading about buggies flipping over and injuries during the boarding I was a little worried that I might not make it back in one piece, but it turned out to be one of the most fun days of the trip.

We climbed into our buggy and set off, zooming into the dunes and bouncing around inside, before arriving at the first of four dunes to try our hand on the boards. The quickest and safest way to get down is to lie down on the boards and launch yourself head first, which is quite scary when the dune looks vertical! However, it is fantastic fun – the boards go extremely fast, but the sand is soft and warm. We threw ourselves down straight dunes, dunes with bumps and turns and the finale – a dune that is as close to vertical as possible, and pretty high, allowing you to build up a lot of speed and finish basically eating sand. It was an amazing experience and one I’d definitely like to try again in the future. The ride in the dune buggy was also great – whizzing around the dunes at top speed, being thrown around inside and feeling the exhilaration of cresting the peak of a dune and knowing the buggy has to come straight down – huge fun!

After a quick swim to get (some…) of the sand off, we spent the afternoon at a local vineyard, where they produce the national drink of Peru – Pisco. We’d already had a number of pisco-based cocktails during the trip, but this time we had the opportunity to try different varieties straight up, which is, unlike the activity of the morning, something I’m not too keen to repeat – the spirit is strong and not particularly tasty on its own, and after 5 or 6 shots worth we all got on the next local bus feeling rather woozy and ready for some sleep…

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