Arequipa - Arrival
Arequipa Travel Blog› entry 5 of 46 › view all entries
February 18th, 2008 – by: Belluomo
Feeling pretty good, and very hungry, I took a taxi outside the center a little way to have lunch in a place that is somewhat like a country grill. There is open land around the eatery and scattered houses. Inside the complex, a number of portly women garbed in white were bustling around in a large kitchen. I couldn't count all the burners and pans arrayed on the counters.
Later that evening I went out looking for something to eat and maybe a beer, but more than anything I was looking for companionship. I figured the English pub is always the place to check out for that and sure enough I wasn't disappointed. A couple guys were finishing a game of pool and when they saw me sitting alone they invited me to a game. Neil, a fiercely proclaimed "Welsh English", and David, just as adamantly "Scottish English" are on a long motorcycle trip starting in Buenos Aires and ending in Alaska. They had their bikes shipped and sold off some stuff to make the trip happen that they had been planning for years. David was the more fit and had already summitted Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the America's. Big and burly Neil provided moral support from the base. They are an odd couple, old friends, and endlessly entertaining. I had a bit of a problem with the accents, especially when they were telling some jokes. I had to have Neil repeat the punch line three times before he gave up and David explained it to me another way. And foreigners think we all speak the same English! The pool was devilishly difficult because of the tight pockets. Every shot had to be exactly precise to sink a shot and that lengthened the game by at least double. By the time David won we both didn't care and just wanted the game over. I was invited over to a nearby table to share in the conversation with a few Irish and some locals. One of the girls, a boisterous lass from northern Ireland, was there with her fiance, a guy from the highlands, originally from the jungle, who is trying to scratch out a living in Peru. They met last year and she came back from Ireland with money raised to buy toys and hot chocolate and panettone for about 500 children in a village near Puno where her boyfriend lives. She had the whole event documented on her camera and was showing the picures and telling the story. They just got engaged and I couldn't think of a more unlikely couple, but I wish them luck. They did an ancient Incan pagan ceremony that entailed gathering together a bunch of everyday objects each of which represent some aspect of marital life, and burning the bundle as an offering to Pachamama, Mother Earth to the Incas. Afterwards a bottle of wine was sprinkled over the area and the Irish girl lamented such a terrible waste of good alcohol. I would have been surprised at any other response! We talked and laughed until I simply had to go. In the Irish and UK spirit, they didn't let me go without a fight, but they did marvel at my resolve and looked at me admiringly saying something like, "amazing how those Americans can leave a good party early"! I found out later that they moved on to another place open later, and probably closed that down in the wee hours of the morning. I hadn't had dinner and was feeling the effects of the three beers I had (child's play in the eyes of my seasoned friends) so I begged off and went back to the hostel.
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