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There is life outside Cusco!

It was a shock for me too.


There was a mixture of excitement and aprehension at the thought of leaving Cusco. On the one hand I had been there long enough and was eager to get out of my routine and back on the road to see some new things. On the other, as I am sure you all know, I am a lazy cow and being in one place is easy! I didn't have to worry about organising myself to get buses, tours, visit places and all that stuff. And I always had friends around to do hang out with, and I found the idea of being on my own again a bit scary. But I finally managed to go. And as it turned out another guy from the hostel was leaving for Arequipa so we were together on the bus. And once in Arequipa there were people there I knew from Cusco. So no chance to be on my own.
Arequipa is is quite a nice city, with lots of beautiful white buildings made of rock from the surrounding volcanos. I was here mainly to see an Inkan mummy and go to Colca Canyon to see some Condors. Got the mummy out of the way on day one. I was staying at The Point hostel in Arequipa too, so after a bit of a sleep in the morning I went to the museum. It was tiny and you had to have a guide to take you round. First we watched a video about the guys who found the mummies (made by National Geographic, which I think is cheating). Seems there were a number of bodies found as the Inkan's had left them as sacrifices to the gods. Because of the altitude of the volcanos some of the offerings were mummified due to being frozen in ice. The one in the museum was the best of the bunch. She didn't look to hot any more it has to be said. But was very interesting to see her and a number of other arifacts that were found with the bodies.
After all that serious museum type stuff (I think my first of South America), it was time for some food followed by some ice cream sundaes! Then we headed back to the hostel to go go-carting before dinner. The track was only round the corner and cost aproximately $3 for 5 races. Bargain!! The carts varied slightly in their drivability. My first race I had a good car, but later I had one which refused to go round a corner without spinning, no matter how slowly I went. It was pretty frustrating, but still fun. In fact we went again the next day! All in all the next day was a pretty lazy one in fact, spent eating (nice sandwiches and more ice cream), shopping (one skirt) and kicking Dan's ass at pool. In the evening I went out for a bit but didn't make it to the 'rave' as I had to be up for my trip to the Colca Canyon. Although I don't think I missed much what with the rave being in some cheesy club!
Colca Canyon was interesting. I have to say I was a little disappointed. So soon after the Inka Trail I opted out of the trek option and just went on a 2 day tour. But I had been told there was some walking around the canyon. But this wasn't the case, and we just spent 2 days jumping on and off the bus.
My group consisted almost entirely of native Spanish speakers and I was the only person who's Spanish was so poor I had to have the guide talk to me in English. There were 2 families on board, and the rest were mostly older couples. We drove to a little town in the valley where we were stopping for the night and had lunch. In the afternoon there was a trip to some hot springs but it was pretty cold and windy so I passed. That evening we went for dinner at some place with some traditional dancing. Again more jumping round in circles and it included my old favourite 'the more I hit you the more I love you'!! However this time they were trying to get audience members to join in the dancing too. Luckily I was saved by my chocolate pudding, which arrived just as a guy was trying to get me to dance. No contest really. Chocolate pudding is always going to win! The guy tried again, but I was just leaving. Shame!
The following day we went to the Canyon again and to look for condors. This is basically the reason everyone comes to the canyon. And at one point it looked like we were going to be disappointed. But after standing around for over an hour a couple of condors suddenly came swooping by. It was almost like they planned it! Keep all the gringos waiting till the last minute then give them a show. After the condors it was back to Arequipa, with a few stops for picture here and there. We stopped in a number of little towns who all seemed to have the same church. At one point I thought we might just be going round in circles and back to the same town.
Back in Arequipa I was supposed to leave that evening, but turned out I didn't actually have a bus booked as I thought due to technical difficulties. So I stayed another night, kicked Dan's ass at pool some more and went to the local climbing wall. This was more effort than it was worth as it was very small and we had to go back to the place several times as the owner wasn't there, despite us calling to say we were coming. But at least we had time for yet more ice creams and sandwiches before I left for Nazca.

Posted by MilyP 12:11 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking

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