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San Martin (Pisco), Peru

Sunday, 8 March 2015


View 2015-02 South America on greynomadm's travel map.

After witnessing a murky sunrise the ship performed an about turn and found her berth at the most desolate wharf of any we've visited. There is no significant infrastructure and the most obvious sign of civilisation was the presence of five Peruvian warships. This part of Peru is a desert and the shoreline is dominated by enormous sand-dunes.

We met in the Wheelhouse Bar to be escorted onto the coaches for the ship's Shore Excursion to the complex of Tambo Colorado. The coach was comfortable and guide most informative.

We drove for almost 30 minutes to make our way to the nearest sign of a population, the village of Paracas, the local city of Pisco is a further 15 minutes away. Sand-dunes, bare sandy areas and ramshackle 'cottages' were dotted along both sides of the road.

We joined the Trans American highway for a while then turned inland towards the Andes Mountains. As we approached the foothills the landscape change with large fields growing green crops of corn, cotton and wine grapes. Most fields are protected from the frequent dust storms by high walls or windbreaks formed by plantings of eucalyptus trees. The nature of the 'cottages' did not alter though and it was difficult to determine if they were under construction or left as a ruin after the earthquake.

Travelling through what appeared to be a small village the coach comes to a complete stop. There's a lengthy and rapid conversation between the driver and a female person outside his window. Our guide explains that it is a check by the transport authority, he says repeatedly "I have no idea why". Next thing the driver gets out and we see him opening the luggage bins under the coach. More discussion. Now the guide gets involved and by this time there are four or five Princess Tour coaches pulled over. The latest demand from the official is a "list of passengers". Our guy doesn't have one so he borrows one from another coach. Our guide gets back on and shakes his head, repeating "I have no idea why". Eventually we are permitted to proceed.

We arrived at Tambo Colorado, one of the best preserved adobe ruins of Peru. The purpose of this complex cannot be accurately determined but it is believed to be an administrative centre and an army base in the time of the Incas. What is not in doubt is that the site had been occupied by at least four previous cultures.

The scale of the structures is amazing and pays a lasting tribute to the capability of the Incan architects and engineers. Apart from the nearby river course the area is barren and desolate. The extremely low annual rainfall ensures that the adobe remains are not likely to be washed away. We spent almost an hour marvelling at the clever use of the available resources. I was surprised that the Spanish Conquistadors did not lay waste to the place.

On our way back to the ship we stopped for a brief time to see the manual weaving of exquisite fabrics which are crafted into beautiful handbags and purses. The enterprise is designed to provide employment for local women. Their creations were fabulously beautiful but much too expensive for our budget.

On our return to the wharf, Jenny poked around the offerings at the market of stalls that had been set up. There was quite a collection of passengers with most of the men standing aside and watching wives trying to score a bargain. By the time we'd unloaded our gear and refreshed it was too late for the afternoon movie so we will fill in the time reading or taking a nap. It was very hot and dusty out today.

Just as well I have an alarm set for 1700, we'd have slept through diner. Lovely meal with Don and Mary, they didn't do a tour today but spent some time shopping at the market stalls. After diner the entertainment for tonight was a very funny, fast-talking New Yorker. Tom Briscoe fired off an endless string of jokes, most good for a belly laugh, some worth a chuckle and a few only worthy of a groan.

Port day in Calleo (Lima), Peru tomorrow.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 19:38 Archived in Peru

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