Islas Ballestas

Paracas Travel Blog

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Oooh. Boat friends!

I got up at what I thought was quite early in the morning to organise a trip to the Islas Ballestas - a must see if you like seals, birds, bird-shit and even more birds.

It turned out that the majority of tours departed at about 7:00 a.m, and the last boat left at 10.00 a.m, giving me about fifteen minutes for the taxi ride from Pisco to Paracas port.

Given recent high-speed taxi adventures, I didn’t see this as a problem; unfortunately the taxi driver did.

Speedy Gonzales stuck rigidly to the 25 km/h speed limit where it was in effect, and drove like a man who’d paid a king’s ransom for new bearings at his last MOT, slowing to an almost standstill at every speed bump then gently nudging the car over.

Birds...
I got to the port quarter of an hour late, however thanks to the magic of Peruvian timekeeping, the ten ‘o’clock boat didn’t leave until about forty minutes past.

What followed was a nice boat ride around some bird-poo covered islands, a lot of pelicans and seals and a quick skeg at a big cactus-thing scratched into the hill (actually close to 200m high, which doesn’t translate in the photos). Splendid.

The journey back was less pleasant as the driver floored the speedboat, causing constant jets of water to cascade in.

The experience was like a beginner’s lesson in waterboarding - picking the point to breathe in carefully between each fresh slap of salt-water to the face. By the time we hit dry land only a little patch around my nipples was dry where the lifejacket had stopped the water getting through.

...and seals. Job done.
No propinas this time, amigo.

 

I spent the evening drinking Pisco Sours and chatting with the owners of the hotel in a Spanglishy kind of a way. I did learn that the earthquake of three years ago that killed 700 people had failed to damage the strong walls of the hotel; a comforting thought when air-raid sirens went off at four in the morning.

Having burnt out my limited Spanish (and less limited wild gestures) I headed into town for a few beers and found a bar playing drum’n’bass and dubstep, which was surprising for Peru, particularly in a town with no paved roads. However, it was the journey back that was most bizarre.

As I wandered back a policeman approached me and started up a conversation.

After a while he asked if I wanted to go to a nightclub with girls.

Before and after.
Both of these sounded appealing at the time, so I asked where it was.

‘No worry, no worry - I’ll sort it out.’

He flagged down a taxi, had a quick word with him and then informed me that the fare was 10 soles. I guessed this was an inflated fare, with a cut going to the copper but thought fuck it. I had no cash cards on me and only 100 soles so what was the worst that could happen…?

After a 1 soles worth of cab journey we pulled over to a nightclub called ‘Brothers’. Granted, a little worrying given previous experiences, but Mr Taxi confirmed - ‘Chicas!’. He also told me he was going in too so would show me around.

After a 2 sole entry fee we walked into a dingy club the size of a church hall, with a distinct resemblance to a sausage-fest.

Cactus thing. Makes you think.
After a few nervous seconds my eyes landed on a stage in the corner festooned with a couple of poles with some chubby Peruvian girls dancing inexpertly around them.

Oh, so it was that kind of club.

Wrong. Taxi-Dave motioned to me ‘this way, this way’

At the back of the club was something I’m not even sure exists in England, well certainly not as standard fare in towns of similar size to Darlington.

There were two corridors, one at each of the back corners of the club. These were in turn connected by three perpendicular corridors. Each of the corridors had fifteen or so doors on each side, each about two metres apart. Men wandered aimlessly in the aisles - what was this?

A sudden stampede of men as a door opened an a make-up caked woman popped her head out and it dawned on me - I was in a Hyper-brothel.

Taxi-Dave told me if was 20 soles for squeaky squeak (his words). Although five quid is a snip, the idea of sloppy forty-seconds wasn’t hugely appealing, so I declined. Taxi Dave said to give him five minutes and he’d give me a lift back.

So I spent my last ten minutes on the town in Pisco watching a chubby-girl grind on a pole while Taxi-Dave got his five pound nasty on (funded in great part by my taxi fare). Top night out.

 

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Oooh. Boat friends!
Oooh. Boat friends!
Birds...
Birds...
...and seals. Job done.
...and seals. Job done.
Before and after.
Before and after.
Cactus thing. Makes you think.
Cactus thing. Makes you think.
Paracas
photo by: Sylvie1