Photos and Story by Kirsten Koza
Yesterday while sandboarding at Huacachina in Peru I lost my nerve. I’ve done this before and it always provides thrills, sometimes spills and guaranteed exfoliation but yesterday I couldn’t dump mental images of compound fractures coated in sand.
I blame the dune buggy driver. His rig was decorated with Che Guevara bumper stickers–flaunting communist terrorism as he roared over sand dunes making tourists scream and telling women to spread their legs wide as he gave sandboarding instructions. Possibly he’s just a wannabe guerilla romanticizing Peru’s own communist terrorists, the Sendero Luminso, but I was still recovering from the Yuyanapaq photo exhibit depicting decades of atrocities committed by the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) at the National Museum in Lima.
The result was I didn’t trust the driver’s judgement, or my life in his hands. I think I had a panic attack. Or maybe I couldn’t breathe because I’d inhaled buckets of sand at Paracas (which means rain of sand) the previous day and my lungs were exhaling sandcastles.
Today as I waited to fly over the Nazca Lines I hoped the pilot didn’t have Che Guevara bumper stickers on his Cessna. Except he didn’t need them to terrorize me. We were supposed to be on an early morning flight but typical for flights over the Nazca Lines (and variations on this theme have happened all three times I’ve been here) there were a series of confusions and out and out incompetence, so finally in the afternoon we boarded an eight seater. No lunch plus tea on an empty stomach and I was already feeling queasy on the runway. I spent the entire spiralling death sentence suppressing the act of projectile vomiting over the nice woman in her sixties sitting beside me.
The lines were a washout, not just because of motion sickness, but literally they were washed out in the bright direct sunlight of the afternoon. I’d requested a morning flight because I’d wanted to get photos. Instead, here’s a photo of Leche de Tigre that I drank in Nasca afterwards. Tiger’s Milk is the juice left over from ceviche (raw fish, lime, chilies, cilantro). Tiger’s Milk is supposed to improve male sexual function, make your balls big, put hair on your chest. Peruvians tell me it doesn’t work for a woman. I’ll let you know. Regardless, surprisingly, it made my stomach feel better.