Journey through Peru: Paracas day 1

So here we were, two responsible adults, standing in a bus station at 5am, willingly subjecting ourselves to a two-week trip with our littles in which we would spend over 20 hours on buses. In fact, every mode of transportation would be taken on this long trip: bus, car, boat, moto, and plane. Crazy, or stupid? That is the question… The first bus ride went great. No problems so far! Four hours in a bus in which the seats recline (all the way – not just 2 inches!) and you don’t have a stranger on either side of you breathing their lunch breath all over you, was really nice. Both the kids are lap children, but they did well being constrained (as well as can be expected, that is).

Going for the camera

Going for the camera

Cliff had fun driving his cars on the pillow for a bit.

Playing cars on the bus

Playing cars on the bus

When you travel with kids, your goal is usually to find things that entertain them for 5 minutes at a time.  Anything longer is just a bonus.

The level of poverty we passed through was saddening. Though some of the small villages seemed to keep tidy places, most were very run down. Nearly every town seemed to have a piece of land growing vegetables or long rows of crowded coops of poultry. Their homes were right on the ocean, with the farm land past that and near the road.

Paracas itself is very small. I was surprised at how empty it seemed, though it was the off season, so maybe that was why. There is one road that runs through the whole town and it takes just 5-10 minutes to get from one side to the other. At the far end of the main road is the Nacional Reserva de Paracas.

Our first day there we got checked into our hotel then caught a cab to the town’s center, a boardwalk of small restaurants and mercado-type stalls selling artisan items.

Stalls of artesnal items

Doing some Christmas shopping

Playing on the boardwalk

Playing on the boardwalk

These pelicans were trained for photos. It was so funny to see them walk up to their handler for a fish!

Man feeding pelican

Man feeding pelican

At the ocean!

At the ocean!

We had ceviche for lunch – one of the best ceviches I’ve had in Peru (and that’s saying a lot!). The fish was locally caught by the boats we watched float in the bay as we waited on our food to arrive. It’s amazing to me how inexpensive things are when you go to the source of them. Two huge platters of ceviches and fish (that fed our whole family) was less than $20. That’s a good meal, there! We also had a smoothie consisting of papaya, plantain, egg, and banana. Yes, raw egg…I know. But we took the risk and everything was fine. At home we eat raw eggs in our smoothies, as long as we know the source of the farm fresh eggs – and it’s really no different than eating a sunny side up egg.

We ended the day with a walk on the beach outside our hotel.

Starting our walk on the beach

Starting our walk on the beach

The sun started dipping below the horizon as we watched the huge pelicans gather into the bay.

Watching the pelicans

Watching the pelicans

The sandpipers chirped a happy sound as they looked for a catch in the shallow water. There was a lot of wildlife out! We even found a flamingo feather!

Flamingo feather

Flamingo feather

The seaweed that had washed up on shore looked like piles of romaine lettuce and green cabbage. In one spot we found an enormous pile of discarded shells.

Empty shells

Empty shells

They were beautiful shades of purple and orange.

Look at these shells!

Look at these shells!

Before long it was too dark to continue further, so we turned back. It was an enchanting evening!

Sunset

Sunset

Beautiful and romantic, even with two little ones in tow – sandy feet and all.

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