A Travellerspoint blog

day 47

peru! arica to arequipa to chivay to nazca to cuzco

Its been a while!

We ended up leaving later that day for Peru. We stopped to get some ice cream before, you know to have a nice treat before departing. Unforuntately for Star it wasn´t all rainbows and butterflies, maddy closed the taxi door on her hand so her list of injuries grew (she did some sort of yoga thing the night before and both her ankles were in pain/swollen). But the ice cream was really good.

The journey to Arequipa was pretty interesting. We first took a bus across the border to Tacna, which only took about an hour. Passing the border was a lot more chill than going into Chile from Argentina. Except for the fact that I was stuck with the agent who wouldn´t stop talking to me... literally kept me there for at least five minutes after the others just to tell me not to lose the piece of paper. Then Maddy and I couldn´t find the bus and were wondering around for ten minutes. The bus driver finally found us, he was laughing and in good humor but everyone on the bus who was waiting for us was not. Oops. The rest of the way to Tacna we were entertained by a live infomercial. Some guy got on the bus and gave us a hugeee long spiel all the way to Tacna in an effort to get us to buy his products - teeth whitener and a cleansing laxative. Star got the whitener and Mich got the laxative, which is ironic because ever since then her stomach hasnt been able to deal with the food here anyways....

Took another bus from Tacna to Arequipa which we thought was only five hours, but ended up being 10 (probably could have been five hours had we not stopped for half an hour every half an hour). It was pretty miserable not knowing when we would be there. Also, the seats reclined a lot but of course the guy behind me put his bag behind my chair so i literally couldn´t recline it. Peru is 2 hours behind Chile so we arrived at 3am and caught a cab to a hostel in town called Home Sweet Home.

Woke up the next morning for breakfast (best hostel breakfast by far - a crepe, an egg, bread and tea), Maddy and Star went back to bed while Mich and I hit the town to go to the bank, exchange pesos, check the giants score, and do some other random things. Went back to the hostel to wake up the girls so we could go eat at this restaurant the hostel owner recommended. We asked for somewhere really cheap and authentic, and her suggestion wasn´t really either. Super expens compared to the street food and it was a total tourist spot so that was annoying. But the food was good and the plates were big so it served as two meals.

We wandered around the city for the rest of the afternoon, we were going to go to the musuem that was home to Juanita, the ice princess that was sacrificed, but we didn´t want to pay the entrance fee so we just looked around the entrance area and read articles about her that were posted there. We visited a few artisana craft markets and got some cool shwag. I actually just got a bracelet, but the others got some cool stuff. Ended the afternoon by going to the Wild Rover, a hostel chain that Star worked at in Bolivia. Got some drinks (actually Star and I got them for half the bar because we lost a dice game...) and made them put on the giants game which was really exciting. One of the girls behind the bar said she was a giants fan which was cool, until she thought posey was matt cain. A - clearly they are different people and B - cain wasn´t even pitching. if you are going to jump on the bandwagon at least get your facts straight. or just don´t say anything. Not that I´m still bitter or anything.

Arequipa isn´t too much of an exciting place to be a tourist so we made plans to go to a nearby canyon called cañon del colca. Next day we packed up and took a bus to Chivay, which was about 4 hours. Chivay was amazing. It was such a small little town surrounded by such huge mountains. Definitely felt far from reality. When we got there we were swarmed by people offering us their hostels. We ended up going with an older woman named Berta who was soo nice. Her hostel wasn´t though, ten minutes after putting our stuff down the power went out. Went to the plaza to find something to eat - got soup and a chicken dish for 5 soles which is 2 dollars. Wandered around for a little bit to soak up the atmosphere. Peruvians are so distinct its´crazy. Extremely short, very distinct style of dress. The women all wear traditional skirts and hats which must signify class or status.

Oh man, I wrote a lot more but it didnt save and Im really lazy to rewrite it all. To make a long couple days short... we woke up at 7am to catch the bus to Cabanaconde (our alarm didnt go off, luckily Bertas daughter woke us up), where we started the couple hour hike down to La Sangalle (the oasis). Of course right when we got there the sun started to disappear so we didnt spend too much time in the pool but it was really relaxing, it definitely felt like an oasis from reality because we were literally in a valley surrounded by huge mountains and nothing else. Pretty incredible. The hostal didnt have electricity so we basically just ate, sat in bed, and then went to sleep. Plan was to get up around 3 to start the hike up so we would avoid the sun... alarm failed to go off again but somehow we were up and out the door by 5am. Turned out to be a perfect timing because there was enough light out to see where we were going but no hot sun til the last half hour of the hike. We got to the top a lot sooner than we anticipated and it felt great to look down and see how high we climbed. We thought it was at least a couple thousand feet but turned out to be like 1500 haha

Took the bus back to Chivay, did a quick turnaround to grab our stuff, then hopped on a bus back to Arequipa before heading to Nazca. We had a few hours in ARequipa to eat (asked the taxi driver for a cheap close place and he drove us at least 10 minutes to a really touristy expensive restaurant which was annoying, so we took a taxi back to the bus terminal and ate at a chinese place around the corner). Grabbed some beers to make the bus ride more enjoyable, then just waited for departure. I think Ive mentioned the hygenic situation down here... well Star and I got ourselves in quite a sitch. The chinese food went through us pretty much immediately so we paid to use the bathroom in the terminal. After eliminating our dinner Star mentioned that her flusher didnt work.... I laughed and was glad it wasnt my toilet, until I tried flushing mine and realized mine didnt work either. Talk about embarassing, there was a line of people waiting to use our stalls, and one of them spoke english and well lets just say we got out of there asap.

Bus ride to Nazca was pretty uneventful, passed out and woke up around 5 in Nazca. Took a taxi straight to the airport to book a flight over the lines. Luckily the terminal was open but all the agencies were closed it was so early. We plopped our stuff down, cleaned ourselves as best we could (keep in mind we had been on the go since the hike up the mountain), and waited. When the agencies opened up we booked a couple tickets then were given a ride back into town to grab some breakfast.

The lines were incredible. We were in a small plane, 2 pilots, the 4 of us and another guy. It was crazy to see evidence of a culture almost 2 thousand years old. I would write so much more about it but I really dont feel like it right now sorryy

Plan was hop on a bus right after for Cuzco but the only buses were leaving at night so we had like 9 hours to kill. Our base camp was at the tour agency office we booked our flight through, the guy bought us a round of beers for Stars birthday, let us store our stuff behind his desk, and let us hang out in front of the office. We wandered around the streets, ate some food, then stumbled upon a tattoo and piercing place. Seemed only appropriate to go in considering thats usually how we kill time before busrides. There were two guys there who were both really nice, we ended up spending a couple hours there just hanging out. The owner, Oso, gave each of us a birthday present, STar and I rings that he made, and Mich and Maddy each a necklace. I already lost mine :( Spent the last hour or so before the bus ride at the local corner store drinking beer, talking to the owner and her son, and playing with his puppy. It was a really cool vibe, one that doesn{t really exist in the States which is sad. Everyone here is so friendly and easy to talk to (besides the semi language barrier), its not like at home where conversations between strangers are short/superficial/nonexistant.

Pretty long bus ride to Cuzco, left at 9 and got there around 11am (but that included a half hour stop´we had to make to clean up the puke of some guy at the front of the bus, gross - poor maddy was heading back from the bathroom when it happened so she had a front row view). The ride to Cuzco was beautiful though, winding around mountains, literally in the clouds.

Settled into a hostel then wandered around some nearby plazas. We met some local artisanas pretty quickly. Damien invited us back to his place to show us more of his work, we ended up hanging out there for a couple hours before heading back to the hostel to watch the giants game.

Next day we met up with Damien and Chokay (his roomie) and did a short hike up the mountain to some ruins. The ruins were soo cool, I cant even anticipate how amazing machu picchu will be. Once again, crazy to be in a place that clearly existed in a different time period - the most fascintating thing to me was seeing a scuplture of a puma that was half destroyed because of the Spanish. We spent an hour or so practicing juggling and learning some acrobatic stuff from Damien. He had this stretchy material that he threw over a really tall tree branch and showed us some stunts and how to climb up it, it was really cool. Walked a little further to another set of ruins called Sasquywaman or something to that effect. We successfully dodged the tourist fee (were on a roll, managed not to pay the 50 dollar fee to hike in cañon del colca). If you find yourself around some baby eucalyptis leaves you should roll them up and stick them up your nose, looks silly but feels so fresh. Went back to Damiens where they made this delicious dinner for us, then went back to the hostel for the giants game. I don{t think Damien and the others were very interested in it....

After the game we went out to this bar where Damien and his roommate where performing in "the circus". all the acts were really good, I was sitting like a foot away from the stage which was exciting but scary when they were juggling fire............ Had a pretty long night out, ended up just at Damiens drinking and laughing the night away.

Didnt do too much yesterday, just hung out around the hostel and nearby. We are staying at Kokopelli hostel and its been a lot of fun, met a lot of really cool people. Theres a TV room which weve been taking advantage of, great place to chill and... watch movies. Wasnt planning on going out last night, I was literally climbing into bed (im on the top bunk) and I managed to jam my toe. Hurt sooo bad, it started bleeding. Michelle and STar convinced me to go out after I cleaned myself up. Maddy took a little longer to convince but we finaly got her out of bed too. We went with our roommate Fabio to a bar to meet Damien and the others but they werent there so we got a drink, checked out another bar, then went back to the hostel to recollect. Stayed for a while, hanging out in the bar with some others who taught showed us this magic trick that we could not figure out. He stuffed a little hankie into his hand, it was gone, then it reappeared. Finally he showed us the fake thumb he was stuffing it into...... Very clever. Went out to this bar called the Groove which was pretty fun. We ran into Damien and Chokay and Antonio there and danced for a while. Last event of the night was a guy who had to stop kissing a girl to puke, remnants of which splattered onto STars shoes and sweater. Came back to the hostel and ended up watching a movie with some others that were still up. Movie ended at 730 which was purrrrfect because thats when breakfast started (scrambled eggs and bread), so I ate then went to bed for a few hours. Today has been pretty chill too, got some lunch with Maddy and tried to find this blackmarket where supposedly all the crafts are incredibly cheap. We didnt find it but we found these really cute little pups that were being sold. And now Im here, and sooo happy to have caught up wow. GO GIANTS two hours til game time woooooooo

Posted by alexascamp 14:17 Archived in Peru

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Will read and reply to blog soon, but Giants just won 2-0 to take a 3-0 lead in WS! Vogey brilliant 5.2 scoreless, Tim 2.1 out of bullpen again, and Romo saved. Blanco, Crawford and Pence did the damage. First back-to-back WS shutouts since 1966! Since being down 3-1 vs St Louis, they have won 6 straight by a combined 32-4! Fantastic team chemistry. Detroit was heavily favored by national media, so fuck em! Very exciting, Game 4 tomorrow, Cain to hopefully finish the sweep. We miss you here to be part of it! Will reply to blog tomorrow, luwamhmuwamh xx

by phil garratt

perfect blog, well done! I can almost feel the experiences. I am so happy you are getting to see all this, especially how relaxed the rest of the world is compared to America. Conversation is genuine and alive elsewhere, here it's so short as you point out.

Sounds like you are having a great time in Peru, are you finding it your favorite place so far? It's no surprise that food drink and buses are center-stage in your blogs, but it's lovely to read how impactful the ancient civilization is...the lines etc. You are going to come back a different woman! Had a nice chat with Mikey, he just got back from a Cayman Islands/Berlin/Majorca gig! He and Mylissa will go to Florida for Xmas then here for a week over New Year. First Xmas with an empty nest, sob sob. Trying to get Bartlett to come and visit as a replacement. Bay Area still marveling over the Giants, parade tomorrow, I think people can't believe they swept Detroit, only 125 hours from the first pitch to the final out, crazy. The team spirit was fantastic, and every single player contributed at some point. Mum is scary into the Giants now, I guess she was hiding her sports side for 60 years. She is going to the parade. I will record it all so you can see it in Feb!

Lovely weather lately, trying to sell Mum's car this week, she has taken to your car. Working out what to do post-baseball, as football seems not to cut it.

Not much else to report. What is the status of Lauren and the boys coming out, anything firmed up yet? Mum said Diane wants Lauren to do "productive" stuff not just travel, I respect her but she needs to understand that you learn as you travel. Bet you are glad she wasn't your mum!

OK sweetie. Remember how much we love you. Mikey asked after you, and is impressed with your adventurousness. What with his travel to Australia, Thailand etc and your's, it;s almost like you are both trying to get as far away from me as possible!!


by Phil Garratt

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