Did ‘Pisco Sour’?

Days: 291 (12 April 2015)

Total distance travelled: 56,011.1 kilometres (34,789.5 miles)

It was with some surprise that our bus from Lima to Pisco pulled up along the side of the highway, thankfully near a cluster of buildings, for us to discover as soon as we’d managed to extricate ourselves from the bus, a taxi driver calling my name!

Initially ignoring him as we collected our bags (suspecting that perhaps he’d simply gotten our name from the bus manifest), we eventually did succumb to his calling, where he promptly lead us to a nearby tour office.

It turns out the people from our pre-booked lodging had called ahead to arrange for someone to see us into town!

We three piled into a colectivo taxi, where our new guide even paid her own share of the fare as we made our way into the town proper.

A splash of colour in the Pisco plaza

A splash of colour in the Pisco plaza

A short walk from the plaza had us at our accommodation (it was only now I realised that our guide was not our host, Sarah had realised some time ago), we were shown our room and our guide lingered.

Turns out that she was hoping for a little additional business, if she could get it and given she was right there and had escorted us from the highway, we weren’t too fussed in being obliging.

After all, we did in fact want a trip to the Islas Ballestas the following day.

We also wanted to travel on to the desert town of Huacachina the following day, so it worked out to be much easier for us to simply arrange a shuttle directly from the nearby port town of Paracas (where our island excursion would be departing from anyway), which would save us needing to make our way back into town.

With that sorted, we decided to relax with a little wander of our surrounds, which to begin with took us back to the plaza.

Our efforts to take in the local church were thwarted, however it is very possible that nobody has been taking it in since the earthquakes that devasted Pisco way back in 2007…

A lovely façade hides a shattered interior

A lovely façade hides a shattered interior

This unfortunate discovery, was a thread that continued to run through all of Pisco. It simply doesn’t seem to have bounced back since the shattering events of nearly eight years ago, a situation probably not aided by the fact that all marine traffic now funnels through nearby Paracas, depriving the place of much needed income.

We’d also later discover that Paracas is also where 99% of the gringo traffic stays, so we took some comfort in the fact that we could give a little something to this town which bears such a famous Peruvian name.

Our wanderings took us to the obviously once grand waterfront, which at first glance showed some signs of regeneration.

There looked like some new construction had been attempted, but on closer inspection the place was still an empty husk, the one waterfront bar/restaurant we passed seemingly closed for whatever indeterminate period had initially been settled upon, but in truth those doors looked like they may never open again.

Former grandeur now rots near the waterfront

Former grandeur now rots near the waterfront

Still, the sun was by now not so far away from setting, so its golden rays made for some lovely views of the long, wooden pier that jutted out from the shore.

We couldn’t simply ignore it, so ventured out for an explore, meeting a local on his own personal stroll with whom we chatted for a short time.

It was all fine at first, but before long, the many rotted beams had in places long surrendered to time, so it fast began to resemble an older gentleman with poor dental hygiene.

That is, it presented us with a lot of gaps.

As we traversed this toothless grin, it also became apparent that the pier was not as long as first thought, or more correctly, wasn’t as long as it once was.

Standing at what was now the end of this monument to commerce past, in the distance we could see the heavy machinery that once loaded much larger vessels with the cargo they’d carry to far flung destinations.

The true end of the pier now sat like an island, the domain of an army of gulls, overseen by the odd pelican…

All this walking was enough for us to have worked up a thirst and for me, given where we were, there was little option in my choice of beverage (Sarah did choose her own path).

It must be said, of the few that I have consumed since, this one in the town of the same name (also my first ever) remains the best Pisco Sour I have had.

Monuments to a mercantile marine age (left) & When in Rome… (right)

Monuments to a mercantile marine past (left) & When in Rome… (right)

Pisco felt like a sad, weary place, but we didn’t let it get us down!

 

Notes:

* Our bus from Lima to Pisco cost us $20.00 Soles each.

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