December 31st, 2007 – by: andycox_is_now_in
After the mountains of Cusco and surrounding area, it was back to the desert and Arequipa. The 10 hour journey pretty uneventful other than watching the surrounding landscape change from mountains to a martian landscape of hilly and arid rock formations and back into sandy desert. We´d taken the cheap bus so went without food and snacked on dried fruit without being able to get any sleep.
On arrival, we headed to The Point, one of a chain of party hostels ready for New Year. Although having to put up with shared dorms, the sight of a pool table, table tennis table, "Barequipa Bar" and DVD room negated any concerns. Put our names down for the last 2 places for a New Years Eve beach party before going out to find a vegetarian restaurant for Dave.
Failed again and ended up in a posh but reasonably priced restaurant called ZigZags. The menu gave out all calorific, fat, cholestrol breakdowns of all meats and specialised in ostrich meat. I ordered a platter of Ostrich, Andean trout and Smoked Salmon whereas Dave just went for the Ostrich. We were warned that the food was cold but didn´t expect it to be raw !! Mine was very nice although not very filling. Dave was put out with his raw ostrich declaring it tasted of melon completing his interesting diet for the day to go with his prunes on the bus. On our return to the hostel, had a couple of beers in Barequipa and met Jenny (Canadian) who kept us playing a version of Rummy until 2am.
Up at 9am New Years Eve for our trip to the beach.
28 of us ready for a beach BBQ and free booze. However after 90 minutes of the 3 hour journey, there was a big pop under the bus and we all piled off for an hour stood in the desert whilst our driver ignored any sense of self preservation or Health and Safety regulations and lay underneath the bus changing the tyre. Mounting the wheel onto 2 bricks, the jack not big enough, twice the bus toppled off the bricks and nearly feel onto its side whilst the driver underneath.
The beach was lovely with massive waves. Most tried the sea but quickly returned complaining it was too cold. Dave took it a step further by getting stung by a jellyfish !! New Years Eve sunbathing on the beach made a very pleasant alternative to England and the BBQ including chicken drumsticks, beef kebabs and a stir fry all great.
Took to a little frisbee before a local family challenged Jenny, John, Dave and I to a game of volleyball. Predicatably we got stuffed but the family were taken with us and insisted on us sharing their beer. Only later did we find out that the rest had been playing vodka drinking games with Jenga. However the bus journey made up for it with free rum being passed around and by the time we were back in the hostel, we had all polished at least half a bottle of rum off each. I went straight to bed but Dave forced me back up to see in the New Year. The video Dave has of me at the chimes is hilarious. Took until 1 for me to get some sense back when we de-camped from the hostel to a club. Stayed off the booze and danced the night away until 4. Great day until Marie turned up at our hostel just after us and Dave had a big fall out with her !!
New Years Day planned as a recovery day, again went to plan. Up at 11, again with no hangover - rum is definitely turning into the drink of choice. Wandered into town and got talked into having an expensive lunch at one of the balcony cafes overlooking the lovely main plaza. Managed to extend our lunch to 3 hours by going to the Ice Palace for the king of all ice creams by the end Dave was singing the theme tune to Rocky to encourage me to make it to the end. Booked our trip to the Colca Canyon on the advice of 6 people we had met on the beach party and retired to the hostel for an evening on pool, table tennis and socialising.