We had a wee annoyance before leaving Trujillo. Nathan went to pay for our accommodation and they told us that it was fake! After checking, the $1,200 soles we had withdrew from the ATM here, $300 soles were fake. I wasnt too well so wasnt as annoyed as Nathan. It was a real let down.... thanks Peru! You would think that banks would check their money properly before putting it into their ATMs. When they actually showed us how to tell, it was pretty obvious they were fakes. They told us that we need to take our ticket and the fake $100 notes into that bank and they should (in theory) change them for us. As I wasnt well and we had already been into Trujillo (as we are staying in the smaller fishing village) we werent going all the way back in again.
We were also leaving that night. So, a word of warning is to get your money out of an ATM which has the actual bank attached (and open), get your money out and check it. If possible, go into the bank and get them to check and stamp it. This is the only way to help the situation out. If you try to pass on the fake money usually it will be picked up as every Peruvian checks money given to them, and if not, if their boss finds out they took fake money it is then deducted from their pay (and of course is far much more valuable to them rather than us Westerners).
Anyway, back to rainbows and chocolate filled streams....!
We had hopped on an overnight bus from Trujillo to Lima (capital of Peru) and then onto to Ica, a total of about 13 hours travelling. There was a family at the bus station and one girl, about 7 kept coming up to us saying ´Hello´.
Her uncle said to us ´She crazy, she loco. She want to speak English but she cant´. It sounded so funny. We ended up giving her the little kiwi on my bag and she was stoked. We told her it was a kiwi and she ran to her mum to tell her. We have no idea half the time what she was saying to us, but it sounded cute. She made her sisters take heaps of photos of us with her on their mothers phone. She got her photo taken with Nathan and just plonked herself right between his legs as he was sitting down. Everyone around us was laughing, it was so cute. Just before we left for our bus we had yet another photo taken with her on their digital camera and her mother came up and put the girls arms around us for the photo because she was too scared to. Cuteness.
We forgot our sleeping bag and froze for the first 6 hours until Nathan spoke to the driver and he gave us a blanket.
It was so cold! We seen some of the distruction from the earthquake that hit here. Lots of old houses which had crumbled, people living in tents and lots more in small enclosures made from bamboo with weaved material like flax for the walls and thick plastic for the roofing. One small community was being entertained by a clown, and I noticed some white trucks with the Red Cross symbol on them so I guess they were their doing it for the local children. The tents were also exactly the same, so must have been given out in the relief. It was pretty sad, but in saying so, I thought we would see a lot more distruction and we didn´t.
We reached Ica and caught a taxi straight onto Huacachina which is a small oasis town not that far from Ica, surrounded in sand dunes.
Lost in the sand dunes....
These sand dunes are HUGE and steep. We got into town and searched for a place to stay, had a shower and then off for something to eat. It´s more expensive here that we thought, but in saying so we have at times saved 40% of our budget while being here in Peru. Eating out and accommodation is cheaper, although we have thought groceries are more expensive (about the same as at home in New Zealand).
The hostel we are staying at has a pet turtle and a pet monkey. It´t both exciting and sad to see the poor wee thing tied up, although it seems the norm here as another hostel we visited also had one. Sad.
We climbed to the top of the sand dunes to watch the sunset and the sand boarders. It was so nice being up there (and good exercise)! Some of these sand boarders have serious skill, and it looks a lot harder than snow boarding that´s for sure. We will be giving it a go tomorrow morning so will let you know!