Mr. Shakespeare, meet Mr. Gutenberg

I have a new favourite drink in South America: Gin & Gin. I had seen it sitting there enticingly on the menu in Sucre, Bolivia and when I saw it again in Cuzco, I had to order it.

"What's in the Gin & Gin?" I asked the waiter, jokingly.

"Vodka and Sprite," he replied without a trace of humour. Well, of course it is.

Cuzco is a little party town located as the major base for the Inca Trail, one of the must do's of a South American trip, and which I must did with two English friends, Nick and Justin. After what is a very hard four-day hike, all travelers congregate in Cuzco for a well-deserved beer or eight. But after two days of allowing our bodies to recover by filling them repeatedly with alchohol, Nick, Justin and I decided to leave Cuzco, heading out on a 20 hour bus ride to the coastal city of Pisco. Cuzco is a great town, but there are simply too many gringos. I realize that I, too, am a gringo, but with everything here is geared for foreigners, it is very easy to forget that you are in Peru. Especially after experiencing the nightlife, after which point it is very easy to forget a lot of things. So off to Pisco it was. Justin and Nick sat together while I was put next to a very odd middle-aged Peruvian man who insisted on talking to me for the entire duration of the journey. Eventually he introduced himself:

"My name is Julio Cesar. It's in the Bible," he informed me.

Things got stranger to the eventual point that I just put on my headphones in order to avoid conversation, leaving them on even after the batteries had long since died.

Pisco is a pleasant little town with absolutely nothing to do. The main attraction of the town is the tour to the nearby Crossbow Islands, a couple of islands that house thousands of gulls, pelicans and boobies, even a penguin, and hundreds upon hundreds of sea lions. The sea lions (or "Sea Wolves" as they are called in Spanish) are fascinating and pretty, playing around the boats constantly. Interestingly, sea lion groups are comprised of one male with 40-50 females, meaning that the male sea lion has to be one of the top animals on the karma rebirth chain.

The next morning, the three of us headed an hour south to the tiny pueblo of Huacca China, which instantly jumped high up my "favourite places" chart for South America. Huacca China is an oasis town located around a small lagoon in the middle of Peruvian desert, surrounded by massive sand dunes that you can spend the day sandboarding down. The weather is always sunny and hot, and the hotel we found had a crystal blue swimming pool, a bar, and was located at the foot of the largest dunes. Cost? $4/night. When the three of walked in, we couldn't stop giggling because it was just simply perfect. And at the end of the day, to get the sand out areas where sand shouldn't be, electric showers were hooked up at the bottom of the dunes. Now, to me, waters and electricity seem a strange mix, but in an effort not to put anyone out, I said nothing; I simply didn't clean.

We swam in the pool all yesterday morning, then spent the afternoon on the sandboards. In typical stupid-male fashion, we opted to do the largest, steepest dunes first. In typical stupid-Noah fashion, I set off before everyone else. I actually started doing quite well and picked up a lot of speed before flying off the board, tumbling down the dune and getting sand in every single orifice unimaginable. And then I watched my board slide down the last 200 feet of the dune without me, leaving me to walk down the hill as I picked out sand from my teeth. Justin went next and also fell out of his board, which again slid down the dune, sans passenger. Luckily, he had fallen out higher than I had, so I sprinted across the dune to stop his board before it had slid all the way to the bottom. I managed to make it over to the path of his board in time and stood in front of it, blocking it, just as it caught a ridge, flipped up in the air and hit me squarely in the chest, sending me staggering and stumbling backwards, further down the dune.

We all came out all right, though, and found our way back to the hotel where we showered, just in the nick of time, it turns out. Within an hour after we had showered, another resident went in to clean himself and did, indeed, get electrocuted by the electric shower. His finger was burnt and he was taken to hospital; OK, so the place is quasi-perfect.

Tonight we are putting on a huge barbecue and doing some more sandsurfing, though I haven't a clue how we will clean ourselves. Actually, in my version of heaven, I don't need to...