Pacific coast road, Peru.

Today we set off early, for a long drive down to Arequipa. We pass back through the sun-baked arid desert plateau that we crossed yesterday.

Nazca to Arequipa.

Travelling along through a more mountainous region we follow a large fissure in the landscape that was created by a past earthquake in the area & along the coast road. Having travelled back to the coast road we now move parallel to the Pacific on winding roads with long drops down to the ocean & beaches below.

As we drive along the coast road we pass many small monuments for people that have died in accidents on the road. The number of these monuments is a stark reminder of the danger of travelling these roads, which are not of the same standard as those in the UK & of the long hours that many of Peru's working drivers have to work, in unsocial hours on rough unlit routes.

We passed many more shanty towns & dotted along the coast we spotted many solitary, semi-permanent buildings, housing workers collecting seaweed or fishing for a living. We stopped in a small fishing village for a rest break & a drink. Here I took some great pictures of the vultures sitting around a rubbish dump next to the ocean. I thought it was both sad and beautiful. Wonderful birds flying over the blue ocean create a memorable image in my mind. If only I could remove the smell & sight of the man-made rubbish dump tumbling into the sea at the same point. It is sad, that these shantytowns when they are first set up, do not have running water, electricity sewers or other services that we take for granted. What is even worse to me is the way that when they do have these services, the streets & surrounding areas of many of these places become dumping grounds for refuse & are allowed to fester attracting vultures & other vermin that the vultures feed off of.

We stop at lunchtime in another small village for lunch. Whilst the food tasted better than it looked, if I could remember where it was we stopped, I wouldn't hurry back. My fish tasted like fish & smelt like fish but it looked exactly the same as the flat chicken steak being eaten by other people at the table. Stories of Peru's fabulous seafood obviously never started in this restaurant.

As evening falls & the bright sky is replaced by a dark night we enter Arequipa. The lights around the coach give the impression of a very large city. The people struggling home in their cars, buses & on foot, supervised by traffic police in the middle of dusty roads, suggest it is a very busy city.