Arequipa

Arequipa Travel Blog

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After a great day and a half in Huacachina I got on the bus and headed further South to Arequipa.  The bus was absolutely brutal, I planned on having a couple beers, a handful of tylenol PM´s and sleeping for the 12 hour trip. Unfortunately for me the buses here arent built for people that are over about 5´6 so it was an incredbily uncomortable ride in which I slept maybe 3 hours. Nevertheless I got to Arequipa the next morning and got a cab to my Spanish school to find out where I was supposed to live for the next few weeks. I met my teachers and they drove me to my family´s house which was a very nice place for Peru.  I got a room up on the roof with my own bathroom and a lot of privacy.  I also got pretty lucky in that there is a fantastic view of the two volcanoes which stand around Arequipa.  I slept for a while then headed downtown to wander around.  That night I ended up going back downtown with another guy who is living at the house, an Aussie named Adrian.  The next day we headed to the soccer stadium to watch Arequipa play a team from Lima. It was a great time, the people there weren´t used to seeing too many gringo´s aroudn there so they were all impressed. The game wasnt bad but it wasnt the best played game I had ever seen.  the most entertaining part was the crowd, bombs going off, the guy behind us calling all the players borracho or cholo.  A few days later I started my spanish class which was great, the husband and wife were very good teachers and I started learning a lot with the one on one teaching.  However once class was over I would get pretty bored, as there wasnt anyone else to hang out with during the day until Adrian finished his volunteering. After a couple boring nights it was my birthday, and it was quite and interesting one.

I started the day going to class where Malena, the wife, had baked me an apple pie which was delicious.  After a two hour conversation with Malena, her husband took over the second half of class.  I should first describe Pepe. He´s a bum.  It appeared as if he hadn´t showered in days, washed his hair in even longer, and possibly never brushed his teeth.  Nevertheless he had seemed like a nice guy for the first two days.  We started class by going on a walk through their nice neighbourhood when Pepe told me that he wanted to start 3 businesses.  I took interest and asked him what they were.  He procedded to inform me that he wanted to open a brothel, his uncle is the mayor of Arequipa so he seems to think that it should help, wants to start laundering money for his imprisoned drug dealing friend, and also find a lawyer for the same friend who had mysteriously come across a $10,000 bank note from the Marcos era Phillipines.  I was quite obviously dumbfounded that he was not only telling me this stuff but kind of pissed off that he took about 20 minutes to explain it to me while I was paying to learn Spanish. We ended up back at their place and he didn´t start teaching me for 5 minutes when he started asking me about what Canadian money looked like as he also knew a guy who could counterfeit anything. THings were going swimmingly by now.  After class ended with this wierdo I went home and got ready to go out for the night. Adrian and some of his volunteer friends went downtown to some bars with me and we had a great time till late in the night, possibly early in the morning. 

The next day I skipped class, and booked a trip to the nearby Colca Canyon, which was apparently the second deepest in the world.  SO on Friday morning, and by morning I mean, 3am the bus came to pick me up from my house.  We drove on a half paved half pot holed highway for 4 hours to the canyon. At 8 we stopped at Cruz del Condor, a lookout point where the Condor´s fly every morning. however the real attraction was the idiocy of humanity on display. It seemed as if all the stupidest and obnoxious people flocked here rather than the Condors which only showed up after 45 minutes and were quite underwhelming. Meanwhile British, French and Italians ran back and forth across the viewpoint at any bird that flew by, even hummingbirds which are not exactly similar to the Condor.  We eventually got out of this hellhole, myself feeling slightly sorry for the human race and continued to a small town at the end of a dusty dirt road.  From here we had a measly meal and headed off into the canyon. My group consisted of two 20 year old British guys, an Australian married couple and my Peruvian guide Salome.  We hiked 3 hours down about 1400m zigzaging down the steep terrain. It was full of great views and well worth the long drive. Once reaching the bottom we headed back up the other side to the villages where we spent the night.  The village we arrived at was very basic, the beds were made of bamboo and there was no floor, just dirt. I didn´t care though, and it didnt seem anyone else did either as we all slept for 13 hours from 7 to 8.  We got up the next day and headed further down the canyon to an oasis at the dead centre.  It was a great spot and we stayed there for 3 hours swimming in the pools and just relaxing before the grueling climb back up. we left at 3ish, probably not the best idea but this way we would be at the top with the sun, as it gets incredibly cold once the sun goes down.  The climb up was basically the same as the Grouse Grind except twice as far, in the sun and at 3000m up. So not really not all that similar but whatever.  I was doing pretty well, or at least I felt I was until the native Peruvian guys from the area started blowing by me with their donkeys in tow to collect the fat, lazy or otherwise useless people incapable of making up before dark.  One guy literally ran by me while I was sucking for air while carrying a boom box. What an asshole.  Eventually I got to the top and was treated to a great treat with 2 condors flying directly overhead while I was catching my breath.  It was a great end to a tough hike,

Today we drove back from Colca to Arequipa and tomorrow I will get up early and catch a bus to Puno, which is on the shores of the greatest named lake on the planet. Lake Titicaca
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Arequipa
photo by: halilee