“I guess you could say I’m dreaming of summer.”
A travel writing professor spoke to us about the idea of a “pseudo-place”, the place that exists only for the tourist, that would have no place in reality if it weren’t for the visitors; a place that operates solely on expected visitation.
He named Las Vegas as an example, or Disneyworld – the place itself is based only on the income of tourism. He postulated that even Banff, Alberta is a place that only breathes because of its guests.
Huacachina, Peru could be seen as such a place. A random oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert, probably once served as a place of trade or refuge. Now, it’s a place for the people of Ica to escape for the weekend, and for thrill-seeking tourists to sand board through the dunes and drink copious amounts of alcohol.
Still, it was a quiet reprieve from the busyness of my Peruvian adventure, walking around the lake and avoiding the calls of tour operators to join them on their “very special tour just for you, señorita.” And even amongst the touristic image, we found a family owned restaurant tucked away in the corner, where the young daughters of the owner, a British expat married to a Peruvian, carried out our silverware and delicious dishes, and let us bring in our own bottles of wine. Even in the pseudo-place, there can still be a bit of magic left.