Arequipa - Volcanoes & Condors

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May 16th 2010
Published: October 11th 2010
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When I got to Arequipa, a white city within view of three volcanoes in the middle of the desert, I was really feeling the absence of Conny and Jennie. It was odd to suddenly be on my own again, after 2 weeks of being part of a three. And for the four months prior to that I was always hanging out with someone I'd met previously. Now for the first time, I was on my own, not knowing anybody, and I had to start from the beginning. I was a bit sad, but I told myself to just suck it up and go and join the boys playing cards and drinking beer on the roof and that worked. They were two Aussies and a Portuguese Brit and great company. I played a LOT of shithead with them, drank lots of beer and ate lots of kebabs. They have good kebabs in Arequipa. I think it was a Turkish joint.

I also booked myself on a two-day trip to the Colca Canyon to see the condors. I had wanted to do a hike, but my knee was so painful on the last walk that that idea had to be shelved. I met some lovely people on this trip too. On the first day, we drove towards the canyon and saw countless alpacas (yawn yawn by this point) and Inca terraces (ditto). After lunch we went for a walk with our guide and met along way a young boy dressed in traditional costume who sang us a song to try and sell his wares. He was working instead of going to school that day. The day improved vastly after that when we went to some thermal pools surrounded by mountains at sunset. You're allowed to drink in the pool! Brilliant. Dinner that evening was some traditional Peruvian fare in a local restaurant, accompanied by a folk show. There were musicians and some dancing performed by dancers in fantastic costumes. The embroidery was seriously amazing. That evenng I stayed up late drinking wine with Danny, a tour guide from Costa Rica, which probably wasn't a good idea as we had to get up really early - in the DARK - the next morning. We got to the canyon around 8am and saw tons of condors. That was about it for the rest of the day.

The next day I booked myself on a night bus to Lima and made myself visit the Santa Catalina convent in the afternoon. I'm glad I went because it was really beautiful. It's like a little city within a city.

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