Published: July 8th 2011June 20th 2011
Back here are the horses.
I knew this was going to be a fabulous trip from the first day I spent here. It began with a horseback ride with a Peruvian cowboy named Anibel. He picked me up at my hostal and we drove to what I pictured would be a "ranch". Nope, just a suburb of Arequipa on a paved street with houses on each side. He told me this was his house and the horses were inside, back behind the garage doors. To which I protested, thinking this was an absolute joke, "Come on Anibel, where are the horses really at."
Anibel then got really serious and started telling me the history of Fujimoro, the former president of Peru, who now sits in prison for a number of corruption charges. During Fuji's reign, many farmers and cowboys lost their land to "development projects" that never materialized. So now, many farmers are forced into plots of land the same size we call our backyards, their land a distant memory.
After this history lesson, we opened up the garage doors, and to my amazement was McDonald's Farm on a little patch of dirt, EIEIO. With ducks, chickens, guinea pigs (for eating, not 8 year
Outside Anibel's house
Yep, where we started riding our horses.
old 4-H projects. ) And at the back of the yard were the horses. Stallions. All of them. I said, “Anibel, I don’t want to die riding horses in Peru, are you sure about these stallions?” He assured me, so after getting them out of the garage, my cowboy hat on my head and a giddy up, we were off. Of course we had to stop at cross streets and wait for passing cars. I certainly did not want my cowgirl driving license revoked for reckless riding!
Eventually we got to the country side and it was fabulous and indescribable. I never knew this, but there are different kinds of horses to ride, and depending on their gait, they either bounce you round, or kind of glide you down the path. These were the Mercedes of horses, and the easiest and most comfortable to ride. Even at a full gallop I didn’t need to hang on to the saddle. Halfway through the ride in a valley by a river we stopped for a spell. Across the valley and up on a cliff was a little village primary school. Did they know we were coming, as all the children were
Known as Cuy here....tastes like chicken.
peering down at us for the entire time we were there. Perhaps they knew Anibel’s rest-stop routine. He said we needed to stretch our knees, and the best way to do this was to Salsa dance. So down the Peruvian valley, by a rushing river, with a little school watching, I learned to Salsa dance. Including back dips, and one protest of “Anibel, I’m married.”
Oh this day was not finished, after riding horses, I then was on to tour a monestary, and then visit Juanita, the ice princess mummy. She was an Incan royal teen sacrificed hundreds of years ago, and recently found when the nearby volcano erupted and melted her grave on the glacier. That's one way to thaw. Day one done. Stallions, Salsa, Nuns, and frozen mummies.
There are more photos below