Gemma and I have arrived in Nasca after spending a few days in Huacachina, a very picturesque oasis just outside of Ica. Our last day in Lima involved an excursion into the center of Lima. In Peru they don´t really have the concept of a bus stop. Just a vague area where the buses tend to congregate. You stand on the street and wave madly at the bus that you want. The bus will hurtle across 2-3 lanes of traffic including 10 or so other buses to cacophony of car horns. The bus will then stop (and I use stop in its loosest definition) as you jump on board.
In central Lima we did a tour through the San Francisco cathedral to see the catacombs. Followed by a nail biting ride up to the top of San Cristobar (a hill in the center of Lima). The tourist bus passed through some of less affluent areas of Lima and up the hill via a perilously narrow road with a shear drop on one side. This wasn´t helped by a 4 year old boy sitting next to Gemma shouting out: "We´re gonna die", as the bus went up one of the steeper parts. The view from the top of very spectacular, but served to remind us how bad the smog is in Lima. The visibility was went out to several kilometers, but disappeared in a haze before the horizon.
Rather than jump on a bus the following day, our hostel owner/taxi driver/tour guide offered to take us to Huacachina in his mini-bus along with 5 others from Brazil. On our way we stopped at Paracas to take a boat trip out to Isle Bastillas. This is a marine reserve on the coast of Peru, with the island playing host to a plethora of marine life including sea lions, penguins and literally thousands of birds. So many that some areas were completely covered.
Later that evening we arrived in El Haucachinero, the hotel in Huacachina, but more on that later...