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Desert storm on a tea tray

sunny

We are slowing the pace right down until we eventually come to a stop at around 12 midnight tommorrow. We fly out of Lima at 8am Saturday morning and should be with our families by 6.30am on Sunday morning. We are both feeling pretty tired, its like our bodies have decided to give up after 6 months of carrying bags, ducking on buses and clambering over mountains. Henry's back is twinging and my skin is worse than it was when I hit adolesence. Yesterday all we managed to do was have an afternoon walk to Mcdonalds, our money is running low too so this helps as an excuse for doing nothing. In the evening we dragged ourselves out of bed and went to the 'Circuit Magico del Agua. This is a big garden with loads of fountains that are all lit up. That doesnt do it justice actually. The fountains are set to music and the water dances, different coloured jets springing up interacting with each other like ballerinas, all done through light and music. It was fascinating. They had a water tunnel that you can walk under and a water maze. In the maze the middle circle is dry but there are 5 of concentric circles made up of hundreds of jets constantly changing the pattern of when they turn on and off. Then there are other jets that squirt into the dry bits. There is sometimes a path that is opened up and sometimes you have to jump the jets when they are low. I managed to get to the middle but on the way out a jet got my bum as I jumped it. The Peruvians loved it, but most of them were just standing under the jets.

Before we came to Lima we were in Huacachina, this is a small town built around an oasis in a desert. We stayed at a hostel that was a bit run down but had a nice pool. In fact the whole place was a bit run down, full of drunken Israelis, no nice eating places or hostels. But really, really hot weather which we had been craving. We came there to sand board and dune buggy so we book ourselves in for that evening. The dune buggy was like a big go kart with some sort of engine that would be detailed if Henry was writing this, it had a roll cage and some vague seat belts. We were strapped in and the driver set off down the road at a rate of knots. Then he slid off the road and onto the massive desert that sprawled before us, tripping over the dunes and skidding over the sand lightning quick. You know when you are on a fairground ride that you like you scream because they're enjoying it, but then when you get on one that you think might break and you're actually petrified you are completely silent? The first 10 minutes I didnt say a word I just held my seatbelt in place and gritted my teeth. Then we stopped at a big dune and the driver got out. He pulled out a long board, no wider than a tea tray from the back and applied some wax. He handed one of these out to all the group and explained to lay down, hold on to the straps and keep your elbows in. There was a Peruvian couple in our group, the guy went first. He lay down on top of the dune and the driver pushed him head first down the huge mound. He wooshed down so quickly. Me and the girl looked at each other as Henry layed down on his tea tray. I was sure if we had been in England there might have been some sort of Helmet provided, or, I thought as I looked at the Peruvian's bare legs, knee pads at least . Henry was pushed down, then the Peruvian and then I was left at the top of the hill on my own. I figured the sand board thingy couldnt be any more scary than having to go down with the driver on the buggy so I lay down on my tea tray with my head poking over the edge of the hill, as he pushed me over the top he said 'don't worry you can control it with you legs...'

It was ridiculously fast and sand managed to wedge in the cracks in my teeth but it was great fun. Strangely with that surge of adrenalin I found myself screaming in the buggy too. The hills got higher, with bumps and jumps in them until we got to a sheer drop that we had walked to ourselves. The driver had told us to go down one hill and we'll find another at the bottom, but as is the nature of dunes, the hills had rolled and split. There was a shallow one with a lot of sand board marks but our boards had come out above a dune that had an actual lip and then a sheer drop. The peruvians had already tipped eachother the 180 degrees over the lip. 'Are you sure that this is the right drop Hen, there are board marks over there,' I was saying as my legs were kicking in the air and Henry was tipping me vertically over the lip, 'just control it with your legs...' I'm sure I heard him shout...

Sadly Henry was the last one and had to throw himself over the lip of the dune. . By the time he got to the bottom the board was a good few feet in front of him, arms outstretched clinging to it to carry him down. I thought he was trying a new technique or something. It wasn't until he joined the group and said, 'the board sort of started without me' that his stunt made sense. He had successfully thrown his board over the top but forgotton to follow suit. I think I've just worked out why his back's playing up now...

Posted by HenryKat 08:35 Archived in Peru

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