Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine and bird poop

Ica, Peru – Tuesday April23 2019 – Evening

Well I guess hotel food hadn’t gotten the message from Montezuma to get revenge on whitey quite yet.

Day broke a little before 5am. Had a 6am call to go see birds on islands. Again the language barrier came into play. I remember asking a seller in Aswan Egypt, ho many languages he spoke, he rattled off most of the European nations, North America and some Chinese. Here the Spanish way or the highway.

I met my driver at the appointed time and we drove and drove probably close to 40 miles to the ocean, if my Km to Mile conversion is correct. A two lane road, filled with gas trucks, LPG trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles and the occasional dog. I’m sitting in the back seat, and can’t find the seat belt. Not that it’s any big deal, passing on a solid yellow line with a bus growing larger in the windscreen. Then there was the long straight where we had to pass eight vehicles without getting back into our lane and a blind hill fast approaching. I guess we must be very very late, for an important date. We got to the appointed pier and had to wait three fourths an hour for the boat to load. I’m glad we hurried.

The boat as kind of a water bus, without a roof. Fiberglass seats, two to a side. Life jackets required of course. Back home, the commercial fishermen say life jackets, just make it easier to find the body. I hope they serve a different purpose here.

The first stop was a giant – Candelabra? Trident? Upside down M ?. Used to – guide UFOs – help sailors find land – just because somebody’s were bored one day ? Who did it ??? Well by now you have your own ideas. I’m going with someone who was bored out of their tree a couple hundred years ago, got drunk and forgot they did it. If I was that much longer, line Nazca I am betting the wind would have obliterated it by now.

Next stop was the guano islands. For you who missed naughty words in 5th grade, guano is poop. It appears the Pelicans can give a Western Gull their run for their money as far as producing shit. They guano so much that the island is cleaned every 5 to 7 years of a foot to three feet of poop to be used in high nitrogen fertilizer. There was a frigging war fought over this crap, but Spain will fight over anything if I remember my history.

There are a gazillion birds. I made sure to wear my hat whenever I was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to get blown off. Pelicans, Cormorants and Boobies. They say I saw I penguin, but Free Willy escaped my lens. I’ll have to play Where’s Waldo once I get home and see if I can find it.

On the back side of the island were the sea lions, same as a home, I watched them hanging around the Anchovy fisherman’s nets, stealing what they could. There were babies, and a couple juveniles getting snotty with each other. Then it as back to the pier and coffee and croissants.

The drive back to Ica I sat in the front seat, there I knew where the shoulder belt was located, and wasn’t screaming ll the way. I had interpreted for me if he wanted to stop by a semi famous winery on the way home for a couple bucks. It was only 7Km (3.4 to 4 miles) off the main road. He balked at the idea. Fine! Reduced tip for you Carlos.

Back at the hotel, I wasn’t tired, but bored. Had a coffee and then went to the room to bask in the glory of the A/C for a bit. Around two I had the hotel contact a taxi to take me to the winery. He gave me a hotel price and I ave him my price (a whopping $3 less) just on principal. He sighed and took my price. (don’t worry. I tipped his $6 at the end, I just needed a ‘win’). The sign said it was 7Km from the main rood, that mt have been how the Condor flew. First it was sorta two lane back top, then one lane blacktop, then dirt, the makeshift meta bridge, and more dirt road. I thought we were going back to Lima by the backwoods. No wonder the morning driver scoffed at my offer. At long last we arrived at a gate and after checking in drove down a beautiful Tara like estate surrounding to the winery. It was beautiful. A sop to exchange a few Soles for a wrist band and we were off for and English tour. First a movie f what you are going to see along with a self congratulatory PSA abut all the French stuff they did to make wine in Peru. Then a walk around seeing metal buckets and old wooden barrels tipped on their sides. We finally got to the end where we sat at long tables and had 4 glasses, and one by one tried a white, a red, a sparkling and a Pisco (grapppa fr you Europeans). Then exit through the gift shop, please. I have a friend who loves a particular grape in her wine, so I picked up a bottle of it here. If some way it makes it home she owes me a pretty good dinner.

On the ay home I asked the drive to stop so I could buy some water. The hotel sells over priced, half liter bottles, so I asked for two big bottles. Well, I guess two equals huge. I came back with 5 liters of water for a couple cents more that the hotel’s ½ liter bottle.

I’ve been drinking a Pisco Sour on an empty stomach and the sentences are starting to get muddled. Tomorrow into the wild blue yonder to see the Nazca lines.

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