Arequipa Travel Blog› entry 8 of 34 › view all entries
August 21st, 2007 – by: razorriome
Central Arequipa was a nice change of scenery. A combination of tourists money and the fact that most of the buildings were constructed by spanish colonists meant that the town center was very clean and charming. The 500 year old Monastery was the highlight for me. In early colonial life the second daughter of every family was sent to a Monastery when they were about 12. They were never allowed to leave nor talk with anyone from the outside for their entire lives and they were not even aloud to learn how to read.. because they were women. The Monastery I visited was one of the largest and most elegant of any in the world.
Wednesday was our first chance for us to hit up some bars as a group. Calle San Francisco houses many lively pubs and clubs. We ended up at Deja Vu where the local band rocked out to north american hard rock. The half and half drinks flowed easily as the rock turned to techno. The local dudes are relentless in their efforts to hook up with the fair skinned tourists. A few of the girls were willing to entertain and had no problem finding company. There was one muscley peruvian guy who was particularly slimy who ended up swinging his shirt over his head while grinding with a girl from my tour on a table. Personally I stuck with the tourists.
We took an overnight side trip to the second highest canyon in the world, the Cocala. The trip gave us our first taste of real altitude. The highest point was a dizzying 4,900 meters. There was one puker, some tingely limbs, and lots of headaches. Personally I did not notice much other than a little shortage of breath. Everyone had there coca tea and several chewed the coca leaves which has been used to fight the effects of altitude sickness since pre inca times. The canyon itself was a little disappointing to me because I was expecting something that looked like the grand canyon. This was more like two mountains side by side with more gradual slopes with a really deep valley. The main reason that people visit the canyon is to see the heaviest flying birds in the world and this day did not disappoint.
Friday night in Arequipa got a little messy. Eight of us staggered out of Deja Vu at 4:30 and had some sketchy BBQ snacks on our way back to the campsite. The long journey to Cusco the following day required that we had an early breakfast at 5:00. So it was straight from the bar, to breakfast, packing up the tent, and on the bus to Cusco.
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