Sun, sand and Simon Pegg

18 04 2010

We arrived at Ica at some bleary-eyed hour of the early morn and Ruud and I got a taxi to the oasis town of Huacachina. We checked into the backpackers’ favourite, Casa de Arena (house of sand), without any problems and despite the early hour we managed to get a dorm room already. Everywhere else I’ve had to wait until checkout time before I can get to a bed. In the dorm we met, Allie, an English gap year student. She was still waiting for her friend Hat to come home (it was already 8:30).

Since the sun was shining and there was a pool I almost immediately stationed myself around it for some ultimate relaxation; listening to my iPod (The Enemy’s We’ll Live and Die in These Towns is fast becoming one of my fave albums. Might have to check out the new one) and reading A Death in Brazil. Probably not the best book for me to read now that I’ve decided that I’m not going to Brazil on this trip when it keeps whetting my appetite for it.

Eventually I decided to head into town for a spot of lunch (a reasonable Caesar salad) and to try my luck with an Internet café. Unfortunately there was only one in town (the other one was closed for maintenance apparently) and it was completely full so I had to give up.

At 4 we headed out for our sand buggy ride and sandboarding. The ride there was utterly exhilarating and our driver took great pains to make it as exciting as possible. I never felt particularly unsafe though – he seemed to know what he was doing. We then began the sandboarding itself. I thought we’d start off on a small hill but the first one still looked mammoth to an inexperienced boarder like myself. I debated whether to board or sledge but after seeing how slow the boarding was compared to going straight down on your front I decided to do that. It was awesome fun.

Sandboarding!

On the fourth or so run down I hit a bump and managed to do a spectacular roll down the dunes. I got a lovely sand-burn injury on my arm for my troubles but it was all good. After we’d finished our tour we stopped off at the top of the oasis to snap a few pictures of the sunset before heading back to the hostel.

Sunset on the dunes

At the hostel I went out to dinner with Hat (whose birthday it was), Allie and another English girl from our dorm, Sarah. It was the first time I’ve ever gone out to dinner in South America with just English people. It was rather bizarre! Allie and Hat seemed to be on a super-extreme budget so it took us a long time to find a venue that was suitably priced.

After dinner we went back to the hostel but the club was dead. I got chatting to Phil and Henrick (two Swedes from my sandboarding) and two English girls that I’d seen around Loki but not really spoken to much before (Helen and Jodie). They were really good fun. Helen kept saying that I was Simon Pegg – which is  not the first time I’ve heard that this trip. And I think when my sister first bought me Spaced on DVD she was also going on about how much I looked like him.

Me before fighting zombies with LP's

Since the club was so dead we decided to head out to the dunes with a bottle of vodka and some Coke and create our own party. The shop next door had shut so we went to a bar down the road and got the provisions before actually heading to the lagoon – the sand dunes would have been a nightmarish ascent in the dark.

Afterwards we headed back to the hostel where the club had now completely shut and everyone was sitting on the patio by the pool. We joined some of the Australians I’d been chatting to earlier and had a few drinks with them (they’d been drinking since midday so they were well-oiled). Unfortunately I had to be up early the next day to go to Nazca so I went to bed early.