January 17, 2006

Adventures in Arequipa

Okay, the title may be a bit misleading - havent really had any adventures here, per se!
Arrived here very early yesterday morning after an excruciatingly uncomfortable 10hr bus journey from Nazca. Its good enough for me really opting for the cheaper transportation. I could have booked a very nice "semi-cama" for only a few soles more, but I thought I´d brave it out. When I boarded the bus in Nazca, the smell hit me! I was greeted by a sea of grumpy, half-comatose Limean faces (with a few frazzled looking tourists thrown in). Once I located my seat number, I had to wake up the old Peruvian man who looked like he´d just died in the aisle seat. I felt bad initially, but after an hour sitting beside him, I was fantasizing about doing all sorts of horrible things to him!!
The smell was definitely memorable! :) There was no relief for 10 hours as the windows were locked, and to make matters worse, he seemed to be suffering from a dose of incessant flatulence. Ugh. I tried my best to get some sleep and wished I´d taken some sleeping tablets or something to aid the process. I was a shadow of my former self when I emerged from the bus squinting in the sunlight hours later. I managed to negotiate a taxi fare and get to my hostal in one piece, whereupon I collapsed into bed and slept like a baby until 5 in the evening.
The hostal I´m staying in here is my favourite so far. It´s an old colonial building and is run by a family who are very helpful and pleasant to talk to. My bed is SOOOOO comfortable adn I have my own bathroom. BLISS! There is a rooftop where we have breakfast in the morning and I have even been able to wash my clothes and hang them on the roof to dry. Have met a lot of travellers there, adn even bumped into a Dutch couple who I was staying with in Nazca!
Last night, myself and one of the girls who runs the hostal watched The Shining and The Matrix with spanish subtitles, and it was great because I learned a lot of new words!! I´ve also made friends with the cat called Misha who is a beautiful black creature with liquid yellow eyes who could gives lessons in the art of relaxation.
Today, i did a tour of the Santa Catalina Monastery which is a very impresisve piece of architecture here in Arequipa. Spent a few hours with an English guide, and then just wandered around in ythere taking pictures. Very serene place.
Tomorrow I leave early in the morning to do a 2 day tour of the COlca Canyon - we will be at 3500m and Ive been told it will be very cold there! Now Im glad I didnt throw away my chords and jumper in Nazca!! Met three really nice peeople from Australia who are staying in the hostal and I think they will be on the tour with me, which will be cool.
ANyway, thats all for now. Will check in again when I get to Cuzco.

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