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Published: July 15th 2008
On our return to Puno from the islands tour yesterday, I arranged with Miho that we would take the bus down to Arequipa together. I'm pleased we did as we arrived late at night and it's much more comfortable with 2.
The bus journey was meant to take around 5 hours but in reality took 7, so we arrived here at around 11.30pm. Miho's Spanish is much better than mine so she took on the organising role. I have begun to realise how it is that I seem to have massively overspent this holiday. There are people like Miho who are managing to spend next to nothing. Firstly she told me off for not negotiating with the taxi driver who took us from our 2 hotels to the bus station at a total equivalent cost of 1GBP.
She then bargained down the bus company, which I had no idea you could even do.
On arriving in Arequipa the taxi driver quoted us 5 soles but Miho wanted to pay 4 and spent a couple of minutes unsuccessfully negotiating with him. She was arguing over 15 pence, or 7.5 pence each. I was cold, tired, and wanted my bed and couldn't care less about 7.5p.
We went to the hostel Miho had found. Oh my god, what a shithole. We shared a room, with a bathroom down the hall (I have spent the whole trip in private room with en suite bathrooms). The toilet in the ladies' bathroom was blocked and had clearly overflowed recently so I used the gents. As I lay in bed dropping off I tried to think of positive things...
1. I was lying down and therefore no longer on the bus
2. I was warm
3. It was quiet
4. I had shared a room with Miho on Amanatani island so I knew she wasn't particularly dangerous
5. er..... exposure to lots of germs strengthens your immune system...
Miho left early this morning for Colca Canyon and I got up early as well to find alternative accommodation. Mindful of my earlier extravagences I have found a dorm room for the next 2 nights in a more central location which looks clean and well looked after. If I can find a flight from Arequipa back to Lima for Thursday, I will reward myself for my frugality with a nice room in Lima for my last night. If I can't get a flight I'm on the night bus...
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