Bird crap and the "Pepe" incident
25.07.2007 - 27.07.2007 17 °C
As I had decided not to do the Galapagos (sad, I know) because they were just too damn expensive, I decided to take a trip to see the "poor mans Galapagos", the Isles Ballseta, near Pisco. Hmmm, so named the "poor mans Galapagos" because they are supposed to have a lot of the same birds and penquins and you can see them in a day and it cost next to nothing, but really I think it should be named "poor sucker who has to endure this tour". Unless you are interested in seeing a whole heap of bird crap on some rocks, my suggestion, is not to go. Oh, and the bird crap really is half the attraction. It´s used as a fertiliser and apparently fetches more money than oil! Who would have known. Maybe the islands are nicer in Summer when the skies are blue and it´s warm, but the day I went it was cold, windy and sprinkling, not ideal. And there seems to be a thick layer of smog covering Pisco. Like the rest of Peru´s coast that I saw, Pisco is literally a rubbish dump, plastic bags and bottles strewn everywhere. There was also a thick layer of scum around the islands which I can only assume is caused by all the boat trips there.
The following is an incident that happened to me in Pisco which just about sums up a lot of my experiences with South American men. I have many more such stories, but I´ll just tell the one and you´ll get the picture. Pepe was one of those agency touts that meets you at the bus. He met me as I got off my bus and as he was the only one there, I had no idea where I was going to stay and had a cheap hostal on offer, I decided to stay at the hostel and also booked my tour through him. Pepe seemed really nice. He was old enough to be my father and told me stories of how he used to work for the bank but the government had shut many of them down and now he was touting, I felt a little bad for him. I had lunch with him on my first day there, with two other girls that he had sold tours to that day. Later that afternoon as I walking to find the bus station to book my tickets to Lima, he actually came with me to book them, which I thought was really nice of him since the station was outsided of town. He was restoring my faith in Peruvians who I hadn´t the best experience with so far - mostly because I had only been to a lot of touristy places and they all want to rip you off! Later that night as I sat in my room, Pepe knocked on my door and invited me upstairs for Pisco Sour on the roof top. I was beginning think this was a bit weird, but was glad to see the other two girls up there also. It was about this time he started making comments about how beautiful I was, beautiful eyes etc... So, I had one drink then went to bed. Next day, went on the tour and then rushed back to my hostal to pack for my afternoon bus. I was in my room for all of two minutes before Pepe knocked on my door again. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and then grabbed me around the waist and started telling me how beautiful I was, how he hoped I´d come back to Pisco one day and then kept trying to kiss me, I kept moving my head, literally screwed up my face in disgust and eventually got out of his grip. The whole time I kept thinking, where on earth did he get the idea that I would want an old man to try and kiss me and that I would think about coming back to Pisco for him?! Had I said one too many "muchas grazias"?? Did he assume because I am blonde and western that I was easy game? I don´t know, I am at a loss. I left Pisco with a very sour taste in my mouth indeed!
Then started my long trip up to Ecuador. I was catching a bus straight from Pisco to Lima and then from Lima up to Cuenca, my first stop in Ecuador. The ride up the coast was dissapointing as I mentioned before...one awful polluted coastal town after another. I had decided not to stay in Lima as I really was over big South American cities, and just wanted to get to Ecuador. My overnight bus from Lima was supposed to make it into Piura (the closest town in Peru to the border I would cross) in time for a morning bus to Loja in Ecuador where I could get a bus to Cuenca. But of course the bus was 3 hours late so I was stuck in Piura (possibley an even bigger hole than Pisco) for the day waiting for the next bus out that night. As I bordered the bus, I was pretty happy to be leaving Peru. I am sure if you get off the beaten track in Peru, the people are lovely etc etc, but the gringo trail, despite all it´s wonders (Machu Picchi, Colca Canyon) doesn´t seem to bring out the best in the Peruvians.
Nazca-esque type drawing on the sand dunes - how does it stay there??