Stranded in the desert with Jesus

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“We’re out of gas!” yells Louise, as the head of the petite Aussie just peaks past the crest of the sand dune some 300 m above us.

With the exception of Louise and Cindy, who decided to sit this hill out, the rest of us are at the bottom of a valley waiting with our sandboards, covered in a mixture of sunscreen, sweat and sand. We had just sandboarded down what was supposed to be our last run.

“We’re out of gas?!” I yell back.

“Yes, the buggy won’t start!”

I look back at Marina and Killlian and smile.

“I think the girls are trying to play a joke on us,” I suggest.

On the past 3 runs, after we had sandboarded down the dune, our buggy driver, Jesus, would drive down the dune and pick us up, pack up our boards and drive us over to the next run. After this last, and most vertical run, we were supposed to be taken back to the Huacachina Oasis for some much needed lunch and relief from the scorching sun (all of us had a bit too much Pisco liquor earlier that morning while on a ‘winery’ tour).

Us in Huacachina

 

“I don’t think they’re joking” says our guide, Luciano, in his unique Spanish/Italian/French accent.

After a number of minutes pass, I realize we are not going to hear a punchline to the joke I had suspected; we are stranded in the middle of the Peruvian desert with Jesus.

And despite Jesus’ biblical success in the desert, this lesser Jesus is having no luck with the simple act of starting a buggy.

He also has little success locating a cell phone signal to ask for assistance from his co-workers back at the Huacachina lagoon.

Splendid.

There are a total of 10 of us including our guide and Jesus.

We have very little water, no shade apart from the shade we create for each other and we are surrounded by kilometers of fine sand desert.

And it’s hot as balls.

In a moment of mini-panic, Killian, Marina and I decide to climb back up the almost vertical slope of sinking sand, while Barry and the 2 British girls, Jessica and Tambee decide to wait it out in the valley.


After a few breaks we finally finish our labored assent and head straight for the non-functioning buggy for some shelter from the sun and to get a sip of what water we still have remaining.

Jesus is still struggling with his cell phone reception.

Finally, he gets through, and we are assured help is on the way.

About 20 minutes later, our help arrives in the form of 5 of Jesus’ laughing coworkers (or disciples) in another buggy.

Given we had now all been out in the middle of the desert under the midday sun for over an hour longer than predicted, we had assumed this other buggy was here to pick us up.

Or at the very least, we hoped Jesus’ disciples had some mechanical skills between the 5 of them or an extra tank of gas to remedy the suspected lack thereof.

We were wrong on both counts.

Rather than packing us up into the functioning buggy, they decided to drain gas from it into a plastic bottle – all the while spilling much of the gas onto the sand – and then transferring said gas into the non-functional buggy.


Realizing this may take longer still, Killian and I grabbed a couple boards out of the back of the buggy and decided to do an extra run down the dune.

After we joined Barry, Jessica and Tambee down in the valley, Louise’s head yet again popped up from behind the crest of the dune.

“It’s still not working!”

“Forget 40 days, this Jesus couldn’t last a day in the desert”, joked Killian.

After a few false starts, the struggling engine of our buggy finally coughed to life.

Before long, we were all back to safety, enjoying some Peruvian cuisine for our much delayed, but now discounted lunch.

Even more enjoyable was the shade, drink of water, and a swim in a refreshing pool within the desert oasis.

From what I can gather, Jesus will need nothing short of a miracle to keep his job.

Peter

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Subjectivity of Travel Experiences

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“Chicas in Brasil? Ohh, muy beautiful. Nice titties, nice ass.”

Marina and I nod along awkwardly, as the disheveled man who sat down beside us at Kennedy park in Lima, continues to give us travel advice on South America, while people walking by look at the unnatural interaction with apprehension.

“Muy beautiful. But be careful!”

“Why is that?” I respond.

“Nice titties… nice ass… A little cerveza (beer)… a little salsa (dance) – muy bien! Then you take chica home do a little fucky-fucky, and wow…”

“Big dick!” he yells, as he illustrates by the spread of his hands the exact proportions of said member.

“Chica is a gay! Brasilia – so many gay!”

“Ahh, I think I should be alright – I have a girl with me” I quickly rebut while nervously hugging Marina in an effort to end the offensive travel advice spewing out of our new Peruvian friend’s mouth.

Thus, tonight we learned that transvestites are extremely common in Brazil.

According, to this interesting character, anyways.

But such is the advice one commonly gets from others while travelling. That is, very subjective and biased.

For example, before coming to Lima, most of the fellow travelers we met in Ecuador spoke very poorly of Lima. Many would recoil in horror when we announced we’d be staying in the city for 4 nights.

“Oh no! One night is all you will want to spend there” was the typical response.

Many people warned us about how dirty, unsafe, and generally unsavoury this city was.

Only one woman, Ruth, a teacher from Colorado, spoke favorably of Lima; she had apparently extended her stay here during recent travels.

Alas, Ruth was in the minority.

As you might imagine, we arrived in Lima with severe reservations as to what we would encounter. How much worse could it be than Quito?

If you read yesterday, you know that we are already quite enamored with Lima.

We have explored both the Miraflores and Barranco districts of Lima – sure, the 2 places where new money and old money rule, respectively – but both of these places have been immaculately clean. We saw numerous people cleaning the sidewalks, sweeping any garbage, etc.

In terms of general safety, police presence is abundant throughout the Miraflores area. Today, on a weekday, the population at the seaside mall comprised of approximately 2 police officers for every shopper. We both feel generally much safer here than in Quito, Ecuador.

And such is the subjective experience of traveling, and thus the advice one receives.

Because of this subjectivity, I remain doubtful of the notion that all the beautiful chicas in Brazil actually have “big dicks”, as our sketchy new friend suggested.

Lima or southern California with a rocky beach?

Peter

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