Sandboarding in the Peruvian desert – Tiara style.

Huacachina, Peru, is a desert oasis surrounded by massive sand-dunes. MASSIVE, 70 metre high, steep, enormous sand dunes, and it was here that I was going to have my first sandboarding experience.

Everyone was excited, and it WAS exciting, like the way death is exciting.

How to sandboard with a fractured right toe.

– Wait til last and hope to God that someone else falls off their board and rolls down the sand mountain, cursing, looking ridiculous, before I do.

– Encourage being in shock. This will help prevent your legs from running away from this exciting experience.

– Don’t stand. Lie down on the board and listen to the instructions with intense concentration – elbows in, legs spread, do not let your feet drop… too much info, just imagine its a water slide. A really really high water slide. I like water slides..

– Let out a single, loud, blood curdling scream that carries through the desert, and most likely all the way into the city, as the man pushes me off the edge.

– Feel incredible, (invincible!) as I’m flying down the almost vertical drop with the wind and sand blowing in my face, giving me a naturally surprised facelift.

– Successfully make it to the bottom without becoming a sand donut.

All smiles as the dune buggies pick us up from the bottom. I did it! With permanent eye-liner tattoo, a fractured foot, and a bright blue Priscilla scarf flying from around my neck! I am not a pussy.

Jesus, our crazy dune buggy driver looks over at us devilishly and says 2 words – ‘Level two.’

Everyone cheers.

T, smile frozen on face – ‘LEVEL TWO? ….shiiiiiit!’

Discovering ceviche – I’ve died and gone to Mangoes!

About a 15 minute stroll from Roy and Sue’s apartment is Larcomar, a still in developement coastal area that the Lima council has put a lot of effort transitioning into a picturesque touristy hub. Though incomplete, you can see where its going – long stretches of beautiful beach lined by low cliffs covered in luscious green grass with parks, scenic points, and recreational areas for the kids.

In the shopping and eating arena, Roy and Sue introduce me to Mangoes for lunch.

Sue, excitedly, – ‘We take everyone to Mangoes, it’s the only time we go’

Mangoes is a beachside restaurant with an outside deck that overlooks the ocean. Aesthetically pleasing to put you into a relaxed holiday mood, it was very pretty… But what was even more beautiful was the buffet.

With 8 different varieties of sensationally marinated white fish, raw or lightly cooked in all sorts of Peruvian, if not slightly fused styles. Side dishes of sauces, salads, different types of corns, many species of potato, also including hot and cold scrumptious ‘pollo’ (chicken) and beef options – It was like a dream come true! *DROOL*.

To start with, ceviche – I love quality raw fish, I love lime, I love salad, and I absolutely love how the chef would create this delightful ‘ceviche’ (all ingredients mixed with additional seasoning) as you stand their watching and waiting with the predatory eyes of a hungry hovering vulture.

But it was not all about the ceviche – Rows of full green avocado with prawns topped with a seafood sauce, herbed blue cheese wrapped in chicken fillet, rare roast beef gently folded around a crispy asparagus, stuffed cheese tomato things, layered corn and vegie things, baked banana in a savory gravy, grilled fish in soy and butter! *GASPS*

By the time I shamelessly ate my way through 3 hours and four plates, I had embraced the blissful pace of a hippo in water and ‘floated’ back to our table with my final plate of assorted deserts.

Roy, considering the sheer quantity in disbelief, simply said – ‘ That’s disgusting!’ laughing.

I too found this hilarious – I thought I had been eating politely.