The charismatic country of our Latin American cousins: Peru (Ica)
In my article series about my trip to Peru, where I travelled to at New Year's, I would like to finally include my impressions of Ica, another ancient city that has hosted different civilizations. Whether it be on the road there or about the things we experienced along the way in Ica, on the last day before our return, driving for 10 hours with the car we rented from Lima was really worth it.
As a reminder, I would like to share the links of my articles I wrote about Lima, Cusco and Macchu Picchu:
In the last days of our time in Peru, we wanted to leave Lima and experience a different city. While we were thinking of places to go to if we were to hire a car, we remembered our hotel owner Jesus strongly recommended to go to Ica. After researching about it, we found that we could reach Ica in about 5 hours by car. We had our return flights on Saturday evening. We thought it would be appropriate to go to Ica on Friday.
Our plan was to rent a car early in the morning, go to Ica, and return in the evening. But it took longer than we expected to leave the hotel and rent a car. Keep in mind; Renting a car in Peru is very difficult. The reason may be because the cars get stolen quite often, therefore there is an extra procedure and extra security measures taken. As a result, it took us 1.5 hours to rent the car and leave. Instead of leaving in the early morning hours, we left at 11.30am which naturally set us over our timed plans.
The Peruvian roads are a piece of Cake for an Istanbul driver :)
Of course, you can’t find a better driver than a Turkish one being in Peru. You'll appreciate that it wasn’t difficult to drive in Peru especially for someone who has experiences driving in Istanbul traffic every day. The continuous lane change of cars, pedestrian and vehicles coming out from everywhere, cutting each other off, cars that do not obey the lights etc. did not cause any problems. Because we've got the same kind of issues. Nothing surprised me in Peru, I even felt like I was in my own country. Of course, I would also like to point out that I’m not telling you any of this to boast. I’m just being funny about it when in fact, these people from Latin America, which I call our cousins, have very similar characters to us, which I may add give us nothing to be proud of in terms of my own country. Non-compliance to rules is a phenomenon that is unique to countries that are not fully developed. To be honest I was only adapting to it to survive. Does it work? Of course, it does. I have no difficulty in adapting to a country, but on the one hand, I hope these things will be put into order as soon as possible both in our geography and in Latin America.
Returning to our subject, as long as it takes in Turkey to get out of Istanbul traffic, it also took the same amount of time to get out of Lima. We managed to get out of Lima in about an hour.
Afterwards the road was relatively smooth, and we found ourselves in an amazing geography. There was an ocean on one side and a desert on the other, and we took this visual view along the ocean by watching these beauties that nature has granted us.
Three hours after we left, we took a break for lunch, about 2 hours from Ica. There wasn't much in this cosy place on the roadside in the desert climate, except for the classic hamburger and fried chips style takeaway food, but the eccentricity of the area made the meal enjoyable. Let me put it to you this way, you will understand better: We ate hamburger and fried chips in the desert and there was an ocean behind the hill next to the restaurant.
A photo taken of a charming Peruvian restaurant
A navigation system with Turkish style driving solutions
After feeding ourselves, we set off again in about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, we set ourselves a goal to see the Museo Regional de Ica, which Jesus strongly recommended to us. The museum was closing at 5pm. Shortly after we got back on the road, our route was dropped to one lane due to asphalt works in the area. After waiting for 3 minutes in that car queue, I looked at the time, and I realized that it was impossible to reach the museum before the closing time, and I told my friend that we were going to be late to the museum and with it getting darker outside, we will be late to the Huacachina region and added “ The only way to solve this is by doing it the Turkish way. Don’t worry about the rest, turn the music on”. My friend naturally asked me what I was planning to do. After smiling, I broke the steering wheel to the left and first crossed the lane, then to the side road, or rather to the land area without road. In other words, I followed our route by passing through the land area parallel to the road to our destination, sometimes through the alleyways and sometimes through non-roads. By this stage, Google Maps had gone crazy. I kept the sound of navigation down when all it kept saying was things like “you're on the wrong road, make a u-turn”. I kept moving along in the best way I knew. After 20 minutes of navigating, I survived all the single lane traffic that appeared to still be 1.5 hours away and broke right again at the toll booths. The lane I was in was the one that police were intercepting on. So, how do you think I got out of the road and crossed over a thousand cars in front despite the police?
Of course, again with the methods we know, Turkish style: Greeting the police! :)
The police greeted me back and paved the way for us. That was so fun. Because, as in our geography, they probably thought I was the son of someone or someone important (despite our shattered car).
My friend next to me couldn't believe their eyes. After going through so much adrenaline, we went into a laughing fit. As a result, we were able to enter the museum at 4.30pm although we lost some time by going the bazaar area opposite the museum.
A photo of the city centre
A video of the city centre we accidentally entered
The museum was nice, but to be honest, turned out to be below my expectations. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure for me to trace the civilizations of the region that went back to the past. Here's a selection of the pictures I took inside and outside the museum to make it come alive for you:
A mirage like oasis in the desert
After leaving the museum we quickly went to our next stop, the Huacachina area. This was a very interesting place. Let me just say: We literally entered a desert, but there was an “oasis” right near the desert, just as if it was being told in a fairy-tale. In the oasis, there were lakes and tourist facilities around the lake.
a video of the oasis
This was the only natural oasis on the continents of North and South America. Huaca-china means “young woman crying”, and the oasis was named after this legend. According to legend, the beautiful Inca princess falls in love with the handsome Inca prince. But when the prince dies suddenly, the princess cries a lot and her tears make up this oasis. Sitting next to this oasis, the princess thinks of the prince and eventually turns into a mermaid in an oasis created by her own sorrow, immortalizing their love.
We witnessed a visual feast when you combine the warm and soft tone of a thousand colours created by the sun as we watched over the high sand dunes with the vast eternity of the desert.
After taking a break in both the desert and the oasis and taking the pictures below, the night started to draw in.
I would like to share with you the photos we took in this environment:
A photo taken by the lake formed in oasis
I promised the TIDER volunteers that I'd run for them in the desert. Here is the video I would like to share with you:
My two regrets: Desert surfing and an aerial view of Nazca
There were two things I regret not doing here. The first was desert surfing. When I saw people sliding in the sand on the board, I almost lost my mind. But we didn't have time for this. I did say to myself that “If I ever come here again, I'm definitely going to do desert surfing”.
Another thing I regret after looking at the touristic sightseeing programs was the air travels done to Nazca. So, if I was to go to Ica again, I would rather stay there for at least 1 day instead of going for the day and experience both desert surfing and the Nazca lines, one of the mysterious traces on Earth. I even coincidently came across the poster of these air tours right near the oasis:
The Nazca lines are composed of over 4000 kilometres of lines composing of geometric lines covering an area of more than 1500 square kilometres with the appearance of light-coloured sands from the lower layer, as the iron oxide sands in the upper layer of the desert and are darker than the underlying soil layer. These lines were used as a celestial calendar for the Nazca people to show the position of the sun, moon and stars, as well as to assist agricultural activities such as planting, irrigation and harvesting. Science has yet to provide an explanation of how these lines are formed. If you would like to know more about this supernatural destination, I recommend the TUBITAK link:
On the way back, the weather began to darken. We made the plan like so. After taking a break and having dinner in the city of Pisco on our route, we were going to head for Lima. We even wondered if we could stay in that city for one night, but it would be more logistically correct to return to Lima and complete the preparations for the next morning at our hotel.
On our last night in Peru, we had a feast of Peruvian cuisine at As de Oro’s, the only decent restaurant in the city of Pisco (I came to this conclusion after exploring the city). The meals were great.
A deserted and pitch-black return journey
We set out again around 10pm. My ’co-pilot’ friend sitting next to me took us on a two-lane road instead of a brightly lit highway. Then he fell asleep. On the way back, I drove for about 2.5 hours through the desert on a pitch-black road, coming across only 4 cars. I also did this without the support of the navigation system on my phone. As our charging cables were also broken, we were unable to charge our phones and to add to the drama, the phones were not picking up reception in the area.
It was up to me now and frankly; I didn't try to get on that lit highway because it was more right for me to go straight on our route instead of getting lost in village-town-like places that were not clear in that pitch darkness.
When we approached Lima, my friend woke up after 2 hours of sleep and asked where we were. I then said, smiling, “Don't worry, we’ve almost reached Lima”. Then he asked, "Why is this place so dark?". Mucking around, I said “Thanks to you, we've been going this way for two hours, you put us on this road, there's I can do”. He then teased me by saying, “I wanted to show you that I trust you in every condition even with my eyes closed”.
Finally, we came to the junction of the bright highway and entered this road directly into Lima. We arrived at our hotel around 1.30am. After this very tiring journey, a hot shower was very most welcomed.
The next day I was ready to return home. On my way to the airport, I thought of the wonderful tastes and moments I experienced. I was thankful for all the things I was able to see.
On my way back to Turkey, I was thinking about the night before when I passed through that pitch-black road. I then said to myself, ‘Serhan, you will come out of this darkness like you did last night, by being and holding your head up high!’
I was ready for 2019 with great energy and morale.