Arequipa > Ica > Lima

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Apr 03, 2011

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Sunday 23rd January I finaly said goodbuy to Cusco. I had been in the city for about 2 and a half weeks and had immediately loved the place. I had visited many of the surrounding areas and learnt much of the Inca history along modern day Peru. I felt richer for my visit.
Taking a Cruis Del Sur bus, which was highly efficient and enforcing of any law, I made my way to Arequipa. On the bus I had a cold dinner, which im sure is designed to slow your digestion down due to the bus toilets inability to handle that sort of thing!!The overnight bus meant a return to nights sleeping on the bus. This is not fun, as although the seats are leather and reclined approx 160 degrees, it's still uncomfortable with myself waking up many times in the night to turn over.
After the 12 hour bus ride we arrived in Arequipa at 8am and checked into our new hostel which had rain pouring in the leaking roofed communal areas. As they were mopping up the floors and the pool table, we decided to check out the city. Arequipa seemed like an ordinary spanish city, with many colonial buildings and the standard Plaza de Armas, with that done we booked our tour for the nearby Colca Canyon for the following day and bus ticket for Ica when we returned.
At 3am the following morning we were up to vists the Colca Canyon, yes it was another early start and we were half ready to face another 12 hours on a bus. This time it was a tour bus with no leg room. Despite this and despite my struggle i fell asleep again on the bus with my head rattling against the window - I know this as this is how i woke up again many times. During my many hazy moments I awoke to different scenery around me, after leaving the city I know that we passed through desert areas and climbed hills, climbed mountains infact as we reached the highest points there was huge mist and snow.  At about 6/7 am I awoke propperly and saw that we were descending down into a nearby town. Here we had to pay enterence at a toll booth for about 35 Soles and were greated by a little girl and her llama. She was very sweet and friendly and allowed people to take pictures of her with the llama. After this and breakfast we carried on and met more children in their traditional dress, this time they were far more cheeky and seemed to be having fun in their group. Taking pictures with them, they coudln't manage to look at the camera or stop talking. Later we stopped again and I had my picture taken with an eagle or some bird like that, where it was trained to purch on certain parts of your body. Finally we went to the Canyon itself which was a sight of beauty. There were many peruvian women selling things at the top, they all looked very content.
Returning to Arequipa, the mist made visibility impossible but that didn't affect the bus drivers speed or fear of overtaking other vehicles. We were really glad when we returned to the city.
A few hours later we were on another bus, this time to Ica and this time it was a bus company called Flores. I have to admit – although cheaper than the other companies, this was the worst bus i had been on in SA (bar local buses), the food was good however, although another night of waking up and turning over.
Arriving in Ica we checked into our hostel which lied about having internet, common room, DVDs, and also (although not advertised) had no hot water. With this in mind, it was another time to check out the city. The temperature of this city was far warmer (being in a desert) and we soon realised that we needed to drink more water. There were hardly any tourists in the city, with most tourists going to the nearby huacachina. We were told that there were a lot of muggings in the city and to be careful at night. With that in mind we went to the Plaza de Armas and checked out the area. Although it was a dusty down with the style of the city changing to the look of downtown as soon as you leave the Plaza de Armas, I really liked the place. That night we went to, what we found to be, the only bar in town – the Karyoke bar. We were the only ones in there and the music in the background was terrible. This was tolarable until the locals came in and started the Karyoke – after about 4 songs we couldn't take anymore and left.
The reason we went to Ica was becaure Maartin found a cheap version of the Gallapogos nearby, however at the travel agents i discovered that I had already seen most of the animals and thought i would save money and give it a miss.
After Maartin returned from the Island we got a local bus to Lima, This bus would be 6 hours and would make our total for the past 4 days 40 hours on a bus – this was quite a lot of bus!!!
This last bus ride however was really really nice. We left Ica at 3pm on a local bus and watched as we went past very poor districts into the desert. The bus stopped at many towns in the desert and I started to think about these people who were living in very small houses often with no electricity, driving past them they seemed to be happy enough with children playing and people working in the area. I was thinking that although to us this is poverty and possibly even described 3rd world conditions with no utilities, this was what our country was like 50-100 years ago, yet as we knew no better we did not describe this as poverty. It seems the more we add to the utility side of things – e.g. Electricity, Phone, Internet the more we are progressing the word Poverty. It seems that we were perfectly happy living without these before their invention and we are distancing ourselves from our natural surroundings. The modern day 1st world people will buy things for their comfort and keep up with the utility basic requirements which incicates that poverty is a word of consumerism, and possibly more than that. That the word Povery may even drive consumerism to a certain extent. It is quite strange what enteres your head as you drive in the desert – your mind left to wander as if you were given a blank piece of paper.
As I neared Lima, the Sun was about to set, and we coudn't have been in a better place for this. The bus had just approached the Pacific ocean, and we were following the sea as it met the land. On the horizon there was a cloud of blue floating which allowed me to look directly at the Sun as it glowed deep like a night light. Above and below the red and blue that was seen was its reflecting rays, with a passionate orange floating above and a bright white bouncing off the sea. This in combination with the huge sand dunes that we passed made this a magnificent site, one that captivated me for a long time, even after it had set. This was a great welcome to Lima.
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