Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Road to Mollendo

I was startled awake by a sudden sharp jostle as the bus we were riding in careened around a hairpin turn high in the Andes. We were on our way to Mollendo, on the Pacific coast, but I had doubts about survival, much less our arrival. The driver, a calm looking middle aged man, seemed not to register any sort of stark terror of; A. crashing through a guard rail and falling thousands of feet to a fiery crash, or B. slamming into the giant fuel tanker chugging directly towards us. I found it strangely but painfully ironic that the book I had been reading and which was sitting on my lap was entitled 'When You Are Engulfed In Flames'. As both vehicles leaned on their horns, my pulse began to beat outside of my chest and Katie's eyes looked like dinner plates. At seemingly the last possible moment, each driver conceded the other the 6 inches necessary for survival and we rocketed past, safe until the next blind turn at 80 kilometers per hour in a four ton aluminum can.

Needless to say I was thankful when we reached our final destination, Mollendo. It being winter in the Southern hemisphere, the beaches were deserted and a cool breeze necessitated jackets. The sky was gray, but the ocean looked ever imposing and beautiful. We were kindly granted the use of a friend's beach house, which sat on a 90 acre farm just outside town. It was quite the adventure as we walked to the beach, only to be foiled by irrigation ditches, native Peruvian (who must have been utterly confused by our appearance) sheep land, and the city airstrip, surrounded by barbed wire. We did eventually make our way onto the soft sand, and Katie dipped her feet in the frigid water, only to slammed by a rogue wave that wet most of her backside and popped her flip flop.

This is just a taste of all the adventures we're having, so stay tuned because there's much more to come...