Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trip to Arequipa Day 1

From Oct. 31st

I left on the bus from Cusco to Arequipa at 8:30 pm last night. The beginning of the bus ride was really fun, there were some nice people around me so we talked for a while, and some fun kids that were playing around. But before long everyone passed out. It took me a while to get a to sleep, and I didn{t get that much sleep over the 10 and a half hour ride to Arequipa, but the two hours or so that I got intermittently was enough for now. They warned me before I got on the bus that you need to guard your things because there is a lot of theft, but that makes it pretty hard to sleep. Anyway, my bag and all of that was cradled in between my legs the whole way, but unfortunately sometime just before leaving the bus someone stole my watch, which I had taken off and put in my pockert for safe keeping. Unfortunately it fell on the ground, and by the time I realized it and ran back into the bus, it was too late. Anyway, minor loss since Maximo gives us a 25 soles allowance to buy a watch since they want us to stay on time, so I will do that next week.

Around 6:30 in the morning I woke up to someone saying Bienvendios a la cuidad blanca de Arequpia! Its called the White City because many of the buildings are made from the volcanish ash from nearby by El Misti! I went straight to my hostel, Hostal Sol de Oro, slept for one hour, and then headed out. Just by wandering the city, which I tend to be pretty good at, I found a lot of the things I wanted to see. I found the museum with the forzen Incan Juanita, who was found about 15 years ago on a discovery mission to the top of the volcano. It turns out she had been burried there, and frozen for the last 500 years or so. The museum had an interesting documentary and plenty of artifacts also found along the way. The body is amazingly in tact, all of the organs still present, and after transporting the body to Johns Hopkins in the U.S. they were able to determine the cause of death, a blow to the head, most likely during the sacrifice ceremony. They found over time many more frozen bodies on the same volcano, accompanied by intricate pottery and other sacrifices to the same God. I also went to an Archaeological museum and a museum with furniture from Incan times, which was pretty interesting since so much of it was accompanied by trap doors and secret spaces, etc... After the museums I walked back to the hostel, but got the Arequipa specialty, helado de queso, cheese ice cream on the way back. I wanst expectign much, but it was surprisingly delicious! Then I took a nap for about three hours to catch up on sleep before heading back out to a couple of spots outside the city for viewpoints of both the city of Arequpia and the mountains and nearby volcanoes. The trip was worth it. The views were decent from the top, but I decided to walk down and found some even more amazing spots along the walk. And just by chance I ran into the Arequpia Gastronomic Festival! That never would have happened if I hadnt walked back from the top, so I was very pleased so discover this new part of town and also solve my dinner plans! The plaza where th efestival was held was gorgeous with a fantastic view, beautiful churches, palm trees, and dozens upon dozens of food stands, cooking classes, and more. That made for a great evening. After I had completely stuffed myself, I walked back over a bridge with a great view of the plaza de armas, back into the central part of the city. Who knew that they celebrated Halloweeen in Peru? I figured there would be some parties hosted by tourists and tourist bars, etc... but it turns out, here in the second biggest city in Peru, there were trick or treaters abound, hand in hand wtih their parents collecting candy in plastic pumpkins! Now I am back at the hostel and getting ready to go out to some halloween related nightlife events. I will write more tomorrow before I head back to Cusco!

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