Surfing the Dunes on a SandboardAdventure Travel, Fitness & Workouts, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Peru — By Holly C on August 6, 2006 at 12:04 pm
Lost Girls are in love with Huacachina, a desert oasis town on Peru’s southern coast. What makes it so special? Besides being a backpacker’s haven (we live to mingle), it’s also the sand-boarding capital of the world.
We first heard of the sport from other travelers who raved about the experience, which is akin to snowboarding except you sail down over 100 feet high dunes instead of snow-capped mountains. I thought it’d be pretty tame, since sand makes for a slower ride since it’s less slippery than powder. Plus, I’ve surfed before, which kind of requires the same type of balance.
The Lost Girls weren’t prepared for this ultimate adrenaline rush, thanks to the sheer enormity of the dunes (we’d never seen any much taller than a sandcastle) and the fact that the driver of our dune buggy taking us to the hills was certifiably insane. He told us his name was Victor, but after operating our vehicle at top speeds over steep drop offs, we refer to him as Diablo (or “devil” in Spanish).
Call me lucky, but I got a front row seat of the action since I was the last one in to hop in. There was nothing separating my view from the stomach-dropping torture Diablo sadistically enjoyed inflicting.
The whole ordeal was all highs and lows, literally. It’d be smooth sailing in the dune buggy, but then I’d spy Diablo’s lips curl in a mischievous smile as he’d hit the gas and send us straight down a cliff. We actually got all four tires completely off the ground on multiple occasions. By the time he drove us back up to the top of a new dune so we could surf down, my legs were so shaky I could hardly stand.
I lost all concern for social mores as I screamed my head off, vowed to the gods I’d be a better person if they just let me survive the ordeal and desperately clutched the arms of the two strangers next to me (unfortunately, one of them happened to be the driver).
Apparently, Amanda and Jen welcome near-death experiences because they weren’t crying for their mommy like me and actually admitted they’d (gasp!) do it again. Maybe they’re somehow related to Diablo.
And, just to verify Diablo’s truly sadist nature, he stopped by the hostel bar that night where our tour group was celebrating surviving the experience with a few cocktails, and proceeded to put out a lit cigarette on his tongue before swallowing it whole. After voicing my disbelief and shock, he performed the move all over again.
My first thought: Are cigarettes like gum in that they take seven years to digest? My second: It’s obvious that any psychopath who can walk can get a dune buggy license in Peru.
A warning to the faint of heart-and our mothers: Don’t watch this short video clip of our adventure. Everyone else, feel free to click below (coming soon). Surfs up!
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