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Paracas, the bird shit paradise

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You can call it white gold; you might export it by the ton and you might had even fought wars over it in the past. But bird shit is still bird shit and it still stinks.

But I suppose that is the price you pay for having all those birds around. And there are indeed lot of birds at Islas Ballestas. Pelicans, penguins, different seagulls, and various other birds fill all the islands and the skies. All the islands then having a white coating after all the birds.

Besides the birds, you have thousands of South American sea lions basking in the sun on the beaches and on the rocky islands. Seems like a pretty good life to me, swim around a bit, catch some fish and then just lay in the sun rest of the day.

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There are also a lot of penguins. I only ever saw penguins coming down on the hills on the islands, never climbing up. And that’s the thing, how do those clumsy creatures get up there in the first place. And that goes for the sea lions also. You see them there on the high rocks, lying about, but how do you get there when you can’t fly or don’t even have hands for climbing. Oh well, I suppose there still are mysteries in nature. Managed to catch this awesome clip of penguins coming down the islands and then diving into the water.

You might even see some dolphins apparently if you get lucky. I didn’t get that lucky. But I comfort in the fact that I saw pink dolphins in Peru four years ago.

After getting back from the islands we headed to the nearby Paracas National Reserve. Now, when I think of a nature reserves, I think of lush jungles or forests, but in this case the nature reserve was, what appeared to be, a lifeless desert. Not just a desert full of sand, a desert full of sand and salt, very inhospitable environment indeed.

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We entered the Paracas National Reserve through a road called the salty road, name of course stemming from the fact that it is made of salt. Was curious to see if it tasted salty, but decided against it. It didn’t seem that delicious, when looking at it up and close. The surface of the road being totally black after all the cars that used it.

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There are some great views in Paracas, both in the desert and in the coast, thou the earthquake three years ago had destroyed some of the more impressive rock formations.

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We ended our tour in the small “fishing village” in the Paracas National Reserve. I use quotation marks, as while there are hundreds of boats in the harbor, nobody actually lives there, there are just a few restaurants to cater for the tourists. But with the fish being so fresh, the ceviche was just great.

After finishing our meal, we headed back to Pisco where I was staying. The city is still pretty much recovering from the earthquake over three years ago. Many of the buildings still collapsed, with rubble everywhere. It smells and not just because of the bird shit. Street lighting is poor and most streets feel quite dodgy. Even with goodwill, I can’t call it a nice tourist destination, but still worth the visit for the Isla Ballejastas and Paracas National Reserve.