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Sanboarding and Buggy'ing

Written on: Sunday November 25th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Huacachina, Peru

Author: Julie and Kevin


Yesterday, we spent most of the day with our new friends Tom and Lionel that we had met the night before at the impromptu jam session. We were looking for an internet café and ran into them at their hotel pool. They had just arrived the night before and were relaxing and planning their next activity: sandboarding. For 5 soles, a board of plywood, with foot straps and a slippery laminate underside (very similar to a snowboard) could be rented for a few hours. Well, they convinced Kevin to grab a board with them and I offered my services as camera girl and up the dune next to our hotel we went.

There were already about 15 school kids on their boards, taking wipe out after wipe out. I felt like we were 10 years old again, sweating our way up the hill to come back down on our board in 3 seconds to start the hike back up again. This was the first time for the 3 guys so off went Lionel with the approach of a going straight down, next was Tom who tried to give it a few surf moves, then Kevin who rode it like a snowboard. Each technique had its merits but they all ran out of wax on their board before making it to the bottom. So the first lesson learned of the day was to ensure the entire underside was coated or the thrill ride would be a short one. The other lesson was to avoid falling hard on your butt. Even though the sand appeared soft, a good wipe out could hurt pretty bad, with all of them landing hard once or twice. By the end of the afternoon, they were all covered in sand: in theirs ears, eyes, on their lips, and up their nose, let alone their clothes and shoes which were now sandlots.

They managed get in 4 or 5 runs within an hour, with the bulk of the time being taken with the climb back up. Kevin was feeling pretty adventurous and hiked to the top of the highest dune. We watched his run and it looked pretty amazing. He took one fall at the top to avoid running into people, but then rode it all the way down. Next, I hiked down part of the way and recorded him flying past me. It looked so cool, unfortunately I wasn?t too bright and I held the camera on the side which means the video is on the side. By the time the sun set, they were all tired and back down we ran. It was so cool to take flying steps all the way down.

Today we experience the grand-daddy of all Huacachina experiences: the dune buggy ride in the desert. The rumble of a V8 buggy with straight pipe exhaust sounds like a powerboat off of the Baja peninsula. Its rumble makes the hair on our arms stand on end. We climb aboard and strap ourselves in. We are a crew of 12 and are pumped to get started. We pay our 3.5 soles entry fee for the park and head out at top speeds. Our driver is experienced and steers us from left to right giving us the sensations of floating between dunes. We make our way up a steep incline with our eyes moving to the crest of this mountain, we wait for the driver to stop accelerating but we stay at the same fast pace and hit the crest at top speeds. Everyone screams in amazement as the buggy lifts off the ground and falls down the other side of the dune. Coming down the mountain is just as fast if not faster and bottom is approaching so we brace ourselves. When we hit the bottom, the vehicle?s shocks absorbers halt the impact and we comfortably race from one part of the desert to the next. Our driver was sympathetic to his clients needs and makes several stops for us to take pictures. In the back of his rig he has several sandboards and we try many dunes without having to walk back up very much. This is my first time trying boarding and I fall over every 2 second. I can?t stop laughing as I try over and over to ride down without falling. I feel like a kid again. With the sandboards stored away, our last stop is a breathtaking lookout where we take in the sunset. Its fading light makes the dunes around us glow in orange and pink till it disappears beyond the horizon.