Paracas

Paracas is a tiny little place about three and a half hours south of Lima. It’s pretty touristy, consisting of some hotels, a row of little shops selling tourist tat, a row of restaurants, and some fishing boats. The restaurants all have pretty much the same offerings – pick your fish (fillet or whole fish) from a long list and they’ll serve it up with half&half rice and chips, a lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato……

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The weather here is much better than in Lima – it’s been sunny most days although there’s a cool breeze. It feels much drier than Lima though; it doesn’t have that nasty cold damp sea mist.

I’ve had 5 days here, a mini-holiday in the middle of my travels! I’ve been keeping myself busy with daily Spanish lessons though……

I took a trip out to the Ballestas Islands, which my guide book describes as a Poor Man’s Galapagos. Hmmmmm…. A blind one-legged pauper’s Galapagos maybe…… We stopped en route to see the candelabra, a shape etched in the rock by hands unknown….. At the islands themselves we saw sealions and a few kinds of birds (Peruvian boobies, 3 kinds of cormorant, one of them being the “guano bird”, inca terns, and some PENGUINS!).

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On another day I went to see the Paracas Natural Reserve. I saw a lot of sand and some vultures…..

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There’s supposed to be a good museum there with mummies from the Paracas culture, but it was shut. My Spanish teacher thinks it got damaged in the 2007 earthquake and they’ve never bothered doing the necessary repairs or reopening it……

During my wanderings around the little town of Paracas, I did come across a tiny local museum, and as I’ve had plenty of time here, I wandered along there one day for a good look.

Here’s a new one…… In Paracas society, having a pointy Star Trek head was supposed to be a sign of high status, so they used to strap bits of wood to the sides and backs of babies’ heads while their skulls were still soft to squash them into the desired shape. Yes, really……. There was a whole cupboard full of these oddly shaped skulls…..

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The other exhibits were much less gruesome – more ceramics, some textiles, and the obligatory quipu.

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