• Travel Log: Paracas

    This is Part 1 of a long-overdue posts for a trip down to Peru and Bolivia last year. Since I am terrible with names, I will try my best to hyperlink to TripAdvisor page where appropriate, so it may serve as a guide for future travellers who may want to venture down south.

    We took a late afternoon flight out of Toronto Pearson airport and landed in Lima, and took the Cruz Del Sur bus from the city straight to Paracas, where we had a tour guide waiting for us. 

    Led by a local tour guide, whose name I cannot remember (keeping up with travel diary only lasted a day for me), we were taken to landscapes so foreign, that I felt like I ended up on another planet.

    The high winds and the aridity in the area left salt to be hardened over time. (Paracas means "sand rain" in Quechua according to Wikipedia and the tour guide) The roads are made of hard-packed salted, rather than being paved by machines.

    There were a lot of vultures in the area, with the one sitting atop a sign that warns tourists to not throw any garbage into the sea.

    Our tour guide pointed out that Paracas was once a lively town with diverse economy (I'm paraphrasing a bit here with no source to back this up), but was damaged in 2007 earthquake. Now most of the economy is based on tourism.

    For my trip, I brought a general purpose lens, but I only realized on the trip that not only was the front element of the lens scratched, but also that I am terrible at using circular polarizer and probably better off without it. The photos are mostly not touched (because I am lazy), but corrected for exposure, contrast, and framing where I see fit.

    On photos with large depth of field (small aperture, large F-stop), you may notice some loss of contrast somewhere in the middle of the frame, depending on the subject and lighting conditions. I had to drive in the middle of a snow/sleet storm all the way to Hamilton on a toll road, just to pick up this lens, along with another DSLR and my second or third 50mm f/1.4 lens.

    I have now sold most of my gears except for some of the APS-C prime lenses. Having lost much of my interest in photography, I did not think it would be necessary for me to move on to 35mm (full frame) at a significantly greater cost.

    How did these rocks arranged themselves like this? Other tourists? I am sure there was an explanation but it's hard to recall small details over one year after the trip.

    Another side note - I nearly lost ALL my photos including the ones taken with my camera and the ones taken with my phones because:

    1. My Western Digital hard drive had a catastrophic failure. Luckily I had small versions of the photos backed up to my Flickr, and also I don't take much photos any more, so my memory cards were largely unformatted. (I was asked to shoot a proposal at High Park and was promised payment for my time, and payment never came. Maybe the client really didn't like the photos. I had to shoot from a stealthy location with very limited equipment, on extremely short notice, and with little to no location scouting. I probably needed a 300mm or even a 500mm lens, which I would never use.) Thankfully the photos that were lost were from the tail-end of the trip when I got really sick.

    2. My LG G4 died on me not too long after the trip. The phone had known boot loop problems, and now there is a class action suit against LG for this. I was able to get this repaired under warranty (after I had already spent time and resources to get it repaired on my own) and sell the phone, but the boot loop problem corrupted my MicroSD card, resulting in loss of photos, videos (not backed up), music, and other media that I had on my phone. This along with the whole Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle made me lose faith in Korean electronics a bit, and has deterred me from purchasing the new devices.

    I remember thinking that I was in Dorne from A Song of Ice and Fire series (or Game of Thrones) when I took some of these photos. It was too bad that the friends whom I travelled with were not avid watchers as I was.

    The gastronomical highlight of the trip was the food we had on this private tour. We were taken to this restaurant by the beach that was completely empty except for the owner. We were worried that we might be getting ripped off, but the ceviche we had here was of exceptional quality amongst other food that we had tried there.

    Another thing that this restaurant offered was the unobstructed view of the ocean with the wildlife right in front of you. What better way to start your morning than with fresh ceviche surrounded by nature! If I could, I would like to go back to Paracas and spend some more time exploring the area.

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