Two from Peru

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

I solemnly swear I won’t rhyme with Peru again for at least two posts.

Sandwich Tern being banded

Second, last night was AMAZING. Unfortunately, this post is about Monday through Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned for the next post which will blow your gloves off! Where did the phrase “blow your socks off” even come from? If my shoes are on, those socks are not budging. Look it up, lemme know. 

United Fail... Again

Monday started off with an expensive trip to the airport for my bag. The hope was to receive it before we needed to leave for the bus station at 11:30 AM. We arrived at the airport blah blah blah no luggage still. #unitedfail - I think the hashtag says enough about that. On to the fun!

Dumb Gringos

Lewis is fluent in Spanish. I can survive and nothing more. However, on Monday, we acted like two dumb gringos, twice. As we were leaving the airport, me in a fumous mood, we got a taxi parked in one of the lots. He told us the price for the ride, and it sounded reasonable. But with two dumb gringos, reasonable suddenly went out the window. He played on our pities and convinced us we had to pay for his parking pass so we could leave the parking lot. It seemed sketchy, but I could only put my focused intensity in one direction at a time, and United was being sent an email with the force of 10,000 suns! I won’t go into detail about a boring drive, but these two gringos paid twice what we should have.

Our second taxi issue came at the end of the day. We arrived in Paracas after a 5-hour bus ride, and we were expecting to be picked up by the group. Unfortunately, the truck would not go into gear, and we were two lost gringos on the side of the road. And likely we looked and smelled like something reminiscent of the stained socks from an individual who spends much of their time lurking around empty rail yards. 

¡Que Piña!

I love this phrase. It translates literally as “what pineapple,” but, it is a local idiom that is far from the literal translation. The first time I heard it, I was thoroughly confused. After conferring with Lewis, he explained its meaning: “What dumb luck.” Well, Monday night was full of que piña. 

What do two gringos do when we can’t get the safe ride we were hoping for? We Uber. Or at least we try. After spending ten minutes looking for an Uber, we realized dark would be on us before a stranger with a decent motorized vehicle would ever find us. I canceled the Uber, and we decide the ‘ol wave your hands like a lunatic at cars truck. Side note: Uber still charged me even though they never sent a car. They will be getting my wrath after I have finished unleashing flames of unhappiness on United #uberfail

We’ve come to the moment the night went wrong. We waved down the first taxi we could. (One thing about Peru, you don’t always know who is a real taxi and who is not.) A younger guy pulls over, and with minimal space in his car (he already had two patrons) he beckoned us in. Lewis stepped forward to give him our destination. The man responded that he understood and muttered something about Pisco. Pisco is the opposite direction from the reserve we are currently camping in, so I said, “No, that’s not right.” Lewis had given the directions correctly, but there was a breakdown of communication apparently. Lewis and I briefly argued over whether we should get in, finally deciding to go. There were fewer and fewer cars on the road every minute. 

We are in the car for 15 minutes when we both finally agree, this guy is ignoring our directions. We call one of our local friends, and they talk to the driver. After a lengthy and contentious conversation with the driver, our friend is quite upset, and I can see the concern on Lewis’s face. We are told to get the plate of the car, and maintain communication with the camp. Ten additional minutes later, I’m fed up and tell Lewis, “Inform the driver we need to stop, get our gear, and find a new taxi.” Lewis attempts this, but the driver refuses to stop.

In my mind, I’m already planning how to stop this vehicle in the most violent way possible. I’m not about to be taken hostage by someone 6 inches shorter, and 100 lbs lighter than me. Not. Gonna. Happen. We continue to convey our displeasure, and the driver finally reverses course after arriving in a different city. 

Wrapping up quickly, we arrive at the campsite over an hour later than we had intended. The campsite was 6 minutes away from our initial bus stop. We paid 3 times what the fare should have been, chewed out the driver, and proceeded on to dinner and shorebird banding. 

Monday Night

I'm tired of typing on my phone, so here are some photos to give you an idea about Monday night. We were up until about 2:30 AM. 

Semipalmated Sandpiper in Paracas
Semipalmated Plover in Paracas
Western Sandpiper in Paracas


I don’t have much to say about Tuesday’s day. We beach bummed most of the day, I tried a new fruit, and Lewis fixed the truck! Lewis is one of the most mechanically inclined people I have ever met. He saved the bacon of the group! Okay, I’m done. You can find out about Tuesday night in tomorrow’s post. It was something beyond special. You can go now. Shoo. 

Or, stay and watch the release of the banded Sandwich Tern from the cover photo!

#wildlife #travel #peru #adventure #science #birds


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