. Ha!). He's now reading, talking to us and driving all at the same time. Yikes! We get to our bus station and he accompanies us inside to make sure we haven't missed it as it was scheduled to depart at 7:30 and it is now 7:31...we missed the bus and find out that the next one leaving for Pisco is not until 13:30. Giovani kindly offers to bring us to another bus station...same thing again, just missed it. We're a little surprised after hearing from fellow travellers that usually buses don't leave on time...We head off to a third bus station...this time we have a 45 minute wait, and the bus does not go directly to Pisco, but will drop us off on the Panamerica highway 4km from Pisco. I tell Giovani that I'm not quite comfortable being dropped in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. He gets on his cell phone and makes arrangements to have his friend Marco meet us with a taxi. Hmmm what shall we do? Imagine the scenarios going through our minds...The taxi driver has made every effort to look after us, even sitting with us to make sure we get on the right bus! So we decide to take a chance and take him up on this option. At this point we're exhausted (we've been up since 4 a.m. Friday), we're sitting in a coach bus filled with locals and we're just starting to relax.
Of course the bus ride is fairly uneventful other than numerous stops along the way. We've discovered that gringos have to pay 50 centinimos to use the banos and locals pay only 40...this difference in price continues to be a theme throughout our trip...:)
Fortunately, Marco met us with a white board sign that said "Roberto Steacye Canada" and a rather broken down taxi
. He speaks some limited English, told us that he knew exactly where we should stay...and eventually we found a nice room with a private bath in a home: Hotel de Portado. Apparently it had hot water - we're not sure when this hot water was supposed to be available...in any case, the landlady (Gloria)was very pleasant and we were able to communicate somewhat with her. Rob's Spanish is ramping up rapidly by necessity! :) In the middle of the night - we got up to have showers and organize our bags and - I suspect our internal clocks were a little messed up! - and she knocked on our door. We didn't know that it was her and figured it was either (a) somebody trying to wake our neighbour or (b) a crazy person wanting to rob us! Consequently we ignored the knocking for a good 15 minutes until the light went on in the hallway and we answered her Hola...apparently she had something for mosquitos since she thought we were awake because of them. How attentive is that!?
Sunday morning we left for the Isla Ballestas (Poor Man's Galapagos) and the Paracas National Reserve, hoping to have a little bit of time on the beach to relax as well. We met a great couple from England (Tim and Hannah)while standing in line for the boat whose company we've enjoyed over the past few days. The tour of the Isla Ballestas was wonderful as the photos will tell. The tour of the Paracas National Reserve wasn't exactly what we expected but the landscape was amazing and we did enjoy a nice lunch with Tim and Hannah over-looking a fishing area
. The wind made it a big too chilly for sun-tanning unfortunately.
Tim and Hannah raved about a wonderful hotel in Huacachina and so we decided to leave Pisco after our tour and head off to Ica, which is very close to Huacachina. So, we picked up our gear from our hotel and caught a ride to bus station with Gloria's son.
Gloria (from our Hotel in Pisco)proved to be even more wonderful when we finally caught a bus to Ica and realized about 15 minutes into the trip that we had forgotten Rob's insulin in her refridgerator...about 5 minutes after discussing how we would get the insulin once we were in Ica, the lights went on the bus and the bus attendant came back to tell us that Gloria had realized that we'd forgotten the insulin and had already arranged for the insulin to be delivered to us at the bus station in Ica! We were very relieved and pleased that everything was arranged. The bus station attendants in Pisco and in Ica were very concerned about our safety and the security of our bags which was really wonderful since we were quite nervous. They even arranged for a secure taxi from Ica bus station to Huacachina.
Pisco photos to come soon - no proper USB port on this computer in Huacachina!:)
Ready for a ride? (Saturday, 6:45 AM) After speaking to an airport "concierge" we get paired up with Giovani a 19 year veteran taxi driver who will drive us to the bus station where we can get a bus to Pisco. We go through the usual chitchat of where are you from and so on...Stacey and I are trying to adjust to his crazy driving, swerving through cars, bicycles and pedestrians comming from every direction...never quite sure if we're going to suddenly hit something. The air in Lima is really thick - we feel like we're literally breathing in exhaust. The sky is a thick clowd of smog and everything seems to be run down and dirty. We're too afraid to pull out our camera after hearing all the warnings about keeping our bags secure. So - no pictures, but let's just say the houses really reminded us of Cuba or the Dominican Republic. He pulls over at a major intersection and whistles out to a little girl who comes running through traffic to deliver a periodico (looks like our Ottawa Sun - complete with a full page of the sunshine girl on the back