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Tori’s Travel Diary

Monday, 05 Jun 2006

Location: Lima, Peru

MapAfter the usual, tiring overnight bus journey, Kim & I arrived in Arequipa at 5am on Friday morning. Our taxi driver to the hotel considered himself the first point in tourist information for the city, and pointed out each of the three volcanoes surrounding the city at least five times each! Just so that you know - Chachani, Misti and Picchu Picchu are the names, and Misti is the active one... He also wanted to know if we wanted to go directly to the hotel, or take a detour through the Plaza de Armas! It was five in the morning for gods sake, what do you think the answer was... al frente to hotel por favor!!!!
After a rest and breakfast, we set out to explore the city, which for me didn´t last long, as I had another headache. I´m sorry, but it´s becoming quite a theme isn´t it. I had to return to the hotel, and eventually slept for the rest of the afternoon, whilst Kim went off to explore the Santa Catalina Monastery and the Ice Mummy. I was in trouble for sending Kim to the Monastery because she used up way more film in her camera than she´d expected to! What can you do when you´re in that beautiful monastery - if I´d been able to return, I probably would have taken another whole roll of 36 too!!!
We had a sensational dinner that night in a restaurant called El Turko 2. Obviously it was Turkish, and we had Felafel, Hommous, Salad and bread, but no alcohol! The Peruvian federal election was taking place on Sunday, and it is a federal law that licenced establishments are not allowed to sell alcohol for 48 hours before the election, and up until midnight on the day of the election - can you just imagine how that would go down in Australia... The restaurant had great decor, even took a photo, and the part I liked best was that instead of a wall dividing the kitchen from the street, there was a floor to ceiling pane of glass, so that you could actually watch the kitchen staff at work!
Saturday morning we set off on our tour to the Colca Canyon. Most of the first morning was spent in the van, driving from stop to stop to observe Mountains, Volcanoes and wildlife - mainly vicuñas, with a bit of souvenir shopping thrown in along the way - like I said before, there´s never enough shopping! After passing though the town of Chivay, we arrived at our lovely hotel, settled itno our rooms, and then had lunch. Following lunch, the rest of the group went on a short hike, but I stayed behind for fear of a repeat of what happened on the Inca Trail! After the hikers returned to the hotel, we all got changed and headed to the thermal baths in Chivay. That was nice - Kim & I reclined in the outdoor pool, (which was very pleasantly heated to a temperature in the mid 30´s) and, surrounded by mountains, watched as the sun set, and the first stars began to appear. It was quite tranquil, even though we were surrounded by at least 20 other swimmers!!!
Ate dinner at the hotel - there was really no other choice, as the village it was located in was tiny, and there was not a dearth of restaurants or cafe´s to choose from. And besides, it was too bloody cold outside to be going far from the room!
Sunday morning, we had to rise early to make our way to the Colca Canyon and the viewing area for the Condors. We set off in the van by 6am, for the 2 hour drive to the viewing area, making just a couple of stops along the way. We were only at the viewing area - Cruz del Condor for around an hour, which was a very short amount of time after having travelled all that way. We did see some Condors, but only a few - two juveniles, and two adults. One of the juveniles put on quite a show - after circling within the canyon for some time, he did a couple of laps right above all the tourists standing there watching.
At 9.15, it was time for us to begin our return journey - a bumpy 2 hours along the dirt road back to Chivay for an early lunch, and then a further 3 or so hours from there back to Arequipa. A good portion of that journey was also over dirt road, but somehow, both Kim & I managed to sleep for quite a bit of it.
We arrived in Arequipa around 3 in the afternoon, and had a few hours to kill before we needed to be at the bus station. Most of the shops, cafes and restaurants in the city were closed because of the elections, but after a bit of a wander, we managed to find a creperie open, so planted ourselves at a courtyard table, and had a snack to kill a bit of time. Later in the afternoon, in the Plaza there was a bit of a demo march around the streets, supposedly to do with the election, but of course, with the pathetic grasp of the Spanish language that we have between us, we can only suppose!!!!
Our bus to Lima left at 7.30pm, and it was another long and tedious drive ... Managed to sleep a little, but unfortunately was struck down by another headache in the morning, and was beginning to wonder how I was going to manage to pass another whole day in Lima before our flight to BA at just after midnight.
I decided that if I could manage three days on the Inca Trail with a headache, then I could manage a day in Lima with a headache, so Kim & I made our way to Miraflores to shop and sip coffee etc!
Not much else to be said for the day... Visited the markets for a little more shopping, but the prices they were offering weren´t a patch on what we could get in Cusco and the Sacred Valley so we didn´t buy much - the stall holders weren´t really interested in bargaining much, even when we lied and said we´d just go back to Cusco and buy it cheaper! Bit of a disappointment for us really, as we´ve both become quite good at haggling for a price that we´re happy to pay!!!
So, for once I´m right up to date. We´re currently sitting in an internet cafe in Miraflores killing time before we have dinner and then head off to collect our luggage from the bus station, and then head to the airport, for the next epic leg of our journey towards home....