Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

El Huacachinero

What is so amazing about Peru is that it hosts a variety of different environments just within hours of each other.

Just as the oppressive omnipresent fog was beginning to get to us after spending 1 week in Lima, we boarded a Cial bus which plucked us out from behind the cold grey curtain and whisked us to the sunny dunes of Huacachina in less than 6 hours. Our days were gloriously sunshine-y. Our skins warmed at the touch of golden rays. The cloudless skies were a brilliant blue. The air - cool and fresh (no smog!) Towering sand dunes rose for miles above and seemed to wrap us in their soft, protective blanket.

In short, from a raving modern metropolis, we found ourselves in the Peruvian desert!
A drastic wardrobe change was in need!

Off came the sweaters... and out came the swimwear!

Off came the sneakers and socks... and on with the slippers! (Our toes wriggled around happily)
And where in the world did we stash the sunblock?

We checked ourselves in at El Huacachinero. While it's not the cheapest at US$10 per person for a dorm bed (as a gauge, US$20 is the average price for a private room with ensuite bathroom and breakfast in Peru), it was certainly value-for-money because we got the enjoy the rest of the spiffy hotel facilities at the lowest possible price.
Not that there are many facilities to speak of, actually. El Huacachinero is deemed a 2-star budget hotel in most travel guides.

Which is a total understatement - c
heck out the desert resort we were at!

The nicest budget hotel I've ever stayed in

El Huacachinero is beautifully furnished throughout. Local handicrafts hang from its cool stone walls. Potted plants and comfy armchairs line the corridors. The pool is clean and inviting. Best of all, this budget hotel has an entire sand dune as it's backyard! In the evening, the whole place is bathed in a soft, warm glow.

From this photo, you wouldn't believe that we are on a super low-budget backpacking trip

I didn't take a photo of it, but our dorm was one of the biggest and cleanest we have had in South America (until an Irish hippie emptied an entire sand dune from his sneakers onto the floor...) The water was piping hot (too hot!) and the bathroom, huge.

En route from the bus terminal in Ica to Huacachina, we shared a taxi with an Irish backpacker. He hadn't decided where to stay in Huacachina yet and I helpfully informed him that dorm beds at El H
uacachinero were going at US$10 a pop. When we arrived at El Huacachinero, he couldn't believe from the posh exterior that this place would have dorms and wandered off to check out the party hostel next door.

Upon checking in, I discovered that Dan and I had the entire dorm (9 beds!) to ourselves and immediately wanted to kick myself for opening my big mouth an
d telling Mr Ireland about El Huacachinero. As luck would have it, in less than 10 minutes, we had gained ourselves a new Irish neighbour. Sigh. I tried to convince myself that good deeds beget good karma and that I would eventually be rewarded for my too-willing-to-help booboo.

Good karma, unfortunately, did not think to look for me in the depths of the deser
t. The next night, 2 more half-naked guys checked into our room, which invited a testy comment from Dan that they shouldn't strut around in their skintight underwear before his wife's chaste and innocent eyes. One of the guys retorted that his undies were similar to swim shorts, so what was the big deal? Plus, he couldn't sleep properly because Dan snored throughout the night. Gee, I don't see how that inane remark justifies his state of undress, really.

And you would think that travel makes people more aware and sensitive of other cultures. Like how it is damn rude and insensitive to put up a cringeworthy parade dressed only in your tighty-whities (loose boxer shorts are okay) in front of Asian women... or
any woman to be exact. To do so is to assume that:

(1) She is so un-ladylike as to
want to look at your half-naked body (I could only roll and avert my eyes politely); or

(2) She is invisible or just an unimportant fly on the wall (I paid for a bed, dammit, not a spot on the wall)

Maybe I'm makin
g a sand dune out of a sandcastle but that is not how my guy friends (and my husband) behave in the presence of the fairer sex on overseas trips.

Anyway... *deep breath*... let's revert t
o those sunshine-y thoughts, shall we?

Like these cute green parrots. We thought we were imagining little voices in our heads saying "hola! hola!" as we walked around the pool area. Well yeah, Polly wanted a cracker alright!

So I picked up a discarded cracker from the ground and handed it to one of the parrots...

All I did was to give it an old cracker...

And the next thing I knew, it had adopted me! It crept up from behind, slinked under our deckchairs, scaled the side table, hopped onto my chair, walked up my arm and sat comfy on my shoulder. Like it was the world's best perch.

I am not your owner! You are not my pet! Comprendes?!

I picked it up and placed it back on it's original perch - an empty chair near the restaurant. 2 minutes later, it sneaked right back onto my lap, uninvited. So I decided to teach it to read...

Polly reading The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan (whom I'm not related to, by the way)

The DanYilin dolls Dannie Action Figure and Yi Lin Doll also seemed to have a blast at El Huacachinero! Check out these pictures of them enjoying themselves in the sun.

The Yi Lin doll seems to have gotten a tad too fair from spending long sunless hours in the backpack. Time to get a tan!

She joins me in trying to tan that stupid camisole-shaped tanline (from doing rooftop laundry in Huaraz) away

Joining the other guests in lounging around and snapping pictures by the pool

I can float on my back! (Dan can't! *snigger* Really, he can't.)

True to his cheeky nature, Darnie (geddit, geddit? Socks...darn....Dannie) the Action Figure got bored after awhile and went around terrorising the helpless hotel guests.

Let's play Kick The Lady!

The house parrots were not to be bullied though. They stared terror in it's face and put up a fierce fight! After which they reverted to their charming selves and went around greeting everyone with a friendly "hola, hola!" all round.

Come any nearer and I'll kungfu-kick you! Hiiiiiyah!!

I'll bite your head off! Eat your beanie! Peck out your ey.... hang on, where are your eyes?

Stomping around on the sand dunes with his big feet

That's all those cheeky dolls managed to get up to during our short stay in Huacachina though. We couldn't bring them out onto the sand dunes and get them all mucky. (As an example, Dannie rolled down the dunes in Dubai and still had sand pouring out from his ears a week later - I'm sure Action Figure Darnie would have leapt at a chance to do the same.)

Stay tuned for our next post to see how much sand we consumed from the Peruvian desert! (You might wanna guess ALOT, cos Dan just emptied a second helping of sand from his shoes last night, in Cusco, at an altitude of 3,395m.)


Tracy Su said...

I love what you've done with the action figures! I think the other sunbathers giving you bemused looks in the background are very funny too!

Oh, and I forgot to respond to something on 'Sew Special'. Yes, the socks were fresh and new when I was putting the figures into action! Very important. I hope that lays everyone's suntanning minds to rest now.

Shucks! I want a nice holiday too =(

Yi Lin said...

As you can tell, we're having lotsa fun with the action figures! Both theirs and the parrot's antics were attracting lots of strange looks in our direction.

We actually have almost-new 78% wool trekking socks from our half-trek attempt. Worn only once. We've sworn off mountain trekking. And socks are too super thick to be worn again back home. Maybe I'll pass them to you for future sock dolls... like super-furry guinea pigs (which taste TERRIBLE by the way.)

You have an entire UK as your backyard to holiday in! And Europe is just around the corner. Oh, but it's WINTER huh. Yeeeks.

WeLoveRoy said...

Wow... the hostel looks really nice!! and sooo cheap.. amazing!

The parrot reminds me of what I saw the other day while running at ECP... this Ang Mo fellow walking his parrot on his arm..

Forever Living

Forever Living
Read about the products, then contact our wellness sponsor!
Related Posts with Thumbnails