No seriously, I want to know. What is happening, Peru?!?! My trip is not going as planned! And I don’t want to point fingers buuuuuut……I think it’s sorta your fault.
Peru and I started off fabulously. In fact, as I was sitting in my taxi to Huacachina, I was thinking how easy traveling in South America was and— oooh! Look! There’s a desert over there!
I decided to make the first stop on my trip Huacachina, a resort town built around a real oasis in the desert.
This sounds super chic and luxurious but instead of movie stars and wealthy Peruvians cavorting in the healing waters of the oasis imagine a bunch of drunk backpackers and Peruvian families on holiday. A tad overwhelming for the traveler looking for a peaceful night in the desert. Know this. If you go to Huacachina be ready to party.
My taxi driver dropped me off at the Casa De Arena hostel. According to Scary Planet, excuse me, I mean Lonely Planet, women should avoid this place entirely. I would say to stay away only if you don’t like cheap beer, loud music that sounds good after drinking that cheap beer and hate fun.
As soon as the temperature cooled, I signed up for a dune buggy/sandboarding tour of the desert.
I love roller coasters, cliff jumping, fire-baton twirling… anything that increases my adrenaline flow. However, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something this stomach churning. The dune buggy ride was insaaaane. The dunes are enormous so when you come flying over one, it feels exactly like being on a roller coaster. Except that the security of knowing this will all be over in 90 seconds is replaced with pleaseletthisbeoverwe’vebeenonthisthingfor30minutesI’mgoingtohurl tears.
After we climbed up what seemed like the Everest of sand dunes, the entire buggy begged the driver to stop. I was certain if we went down this dune the buggy would flip all the way back to Huacachina. The driver laughed and said something in Spanish. Everyone on the buggy laughed and cheered, except me, the girl in remedial Spanish class. Repeat-o mas slowly por favor??
It was time to sandboard. Since I was the only one who spoke english, therefore making me the most dispensable, I was pushed to go first. I decided boarding on my stomach would be the way to go.
The driver gave me the best instructions that he could. The only thing I could understand was, “Rapido! Rapido!” I tried to ask if there was a smaller dune I could have a practice run on but as I was asking he pushed me down the dune. So much for that.
To be honest, I’m glad he pushed me. I’m embarrased I was lame enough to ask for a smaller dune. Boarding down the big dune was a rush but it wasn’t scary. I immediately wanted to go again. Some spanish and finger pointing informed me that I could go as far I as I wanted.
Three dunes later, I stood completely alone in the desert. I had sandboarded so far I could no longer hear the screams from my group as they took their turns down the dunes. The only thing I could hear was… silence. Pure silence. The kind of silence you hear when you are dead.
This got me thinking.
Is God about to speak to me a la Eat Pray Love style?
I mean, really. If there was any time and place for God to give me some divine insight this should be it right? I’m alone in a desert, the sun is setting, the dunes are rolling forever into the horizon and the first stars of the night are coming out. Come on God! Speak. The setting is perfect. Hello??? Did you not hear me?
Talk to me, SARAH WALKER. Right now. I dare you.
Geez, not even a cough or a sneeze?
Fiiiine. I didn’t want to talk to you either.
Later that night, I met a fun group of people from all over. We went out to dinner and when the restaurant couldn’t accommodate us inside with a table, the owner came out placed a spare one on the sidewalk.
The party continued back at Casa De Arena’s disco. The memory of the night is hazy but I do remember shouting on the dance floor, “I’m having so much fun I could die!” I know, obnoxious. But if it makes you feel any better, I would really regret saying that in the next couple of days.