Lima to Arequipa
07.10.2005 21 °C
From Lima we flew to Arequipa about an hour flight. The airport is something else - the background is three snow capped volcanoes with one of them still active - they are just behind the city. The accommodation was in an old spanish house on a main street close to the main plaza - all the towns have a main plaza that the place revolves around, every night it is packed with heaps of people. The first night we were there they put on a great parade around the plaza especially for us which was nice - they really know how to have a good time.Lots of traditional costume and dancing from different schools. It was, or appeared to be total chaos with groups of people with different music blaring from gheto blasters mounted onto ordinary car roofs, marching around the plaza and then they suddenly marched off in a different direction. The next day we had a bus trip out to the Colca Canyon area where we were to see the condors. The trip started off on a nice tared road through the country side steadily climbing in altitude. we stopped off half way at a little shop for drinks and toilet break and they had heaps of the local people selling all the touristy stuff. That was the end of the tar and the start of the very rough dirt road going over a pass at 4,800m when you got out of the bus it was very hard to walk very far without becoming exhausted - a great view though. The next stop was Chivay, and then on to our accommodation for the night. We had a great view down the coca canyon valley but it was still pretty hazy. The next day was the bus trip from Chivay out to the Colca Canyon where the condors were and again this was really rough, windy, and dusty. When we got to the viewing area there were heaps of tourist buses and people perched along the edge of the canyon. The canyon is round 1mile deep near where we were and the condors fly along the edge in the thermals. There were none when we first got there and then all of a sudden they appeared flying along the edge of the canyon, and you could see them seeming to be looking at the people - they put on a great show and then shot through. Got some good photo´s. After lunch in Chivay we th9ought we would be nice and move back from where we were in the bus and meet other poeple - bad move - we ended up over the back wheels and we had a really rough and hot trip back to Arequipa as there was no airconditioner and we had to keep the windows closed due to the dust. No more mister nice guy!
Next day we did a tour of the city visiting musuems and a really old convent which is a city inside the city. The second girl of the rich spanish families had to go into the convent to be nuns and they nver came out and the family could not have contact with them again. They had to pay dowries? for them to go in and depending on how much they paid determined their status in the convent. This was seen as a good thing as it helped the family get to heaven easier and into a better position. We then did a tour of the country around the city seeing some of the old spanish villa´s. arequipa was pretty nice, and appeared safe. Lots of really nice white stone buildings. We also visited a museum that has the Ice Maiden an Inca mummy that was found on the top of a volcano.From studying her and other mummies found in simmilar locations they discovered that mothers of their day kept the umbilical cord to help curer the child if it got sick later, now we start doing it.
We are now in Cusco at 3,200m and have only been walking around the city area getting aclimatised. It is a really nice city a lot clearer air than the other places we have been again surounded by mountains but no snow only houses that at night creat a fairylight affect. The hostal we are in is really good US$20 per night including breakfast - we have our own lounge and there is a kitchen if needed. Not sure why you would bother when you can get a three course meal for US$5. There are some aussies and pomms staying where we are and there has been a lot of sharing information. Watched a bit of the baseball world series in an irish pub this afternoon with a guy from boston - pretty strange eh!(boston red soxs v chicago).
watch this space take care all,love US