Delhi Belly? What about Jelly Belly?

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Posada Del Parque

Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, January 17, 2011

The alarm went off at 05:00 and we felt knackered (again) but ready to go on another part of the adventure. We headed downstairs and the porter disappeared to try and find us a taxi out on the street (hotels are great aren't they!), after 15 minutes we started to get concerned he had just disappeared but a few minutes later turned up with some old bloke, he didn’t have a taxi (not even a fake one) it was just a private car as there was not much else on the road at that time, it was cheap enough though and we thought if anything goes wrong, even Erica could knock him out cold with a one inch punch.

We arrived at the airport at about 05:40 in plenty of time for the flight. We had no idea what to expect for such a cheap price but the Star Peru counters were heaving, there were four counters and someone at a desk at the front trying to organise things and check people had flights booked. It was nothing short of a scrum and after 20 minutes we got to the front and got told to go to the back of the queue as there was no desk open. This was about 1 hour before the flight departed. There was shouting and a bit of a scuffle nearly broke out, we bypassed the woman at 06:15 (with 45 minutes to go) and just joined one of the queues by pushing past her. At 06:35 the woman was crying and had pretty much given up, Erica was raging and ready to start shouting at her. At 06:45 we pushed to the front shouting "Arequipa", we got waved to a desk who put stickers on the bags, gave us boarding cards and shouted “go go go, do not stop running”, (wish we had met her in China when GO GO GO was all the rage). We sprinted up the stairs shouting and pushing people out of the way, ran straight to the front of the queue at the place they stop you to pay the airport tax, we didn’t pay the tax and just ran straight through we pushed in at security and ran to the gate like our lives depended on it. We were ushered onto a bus where we waited for about another 3 minutes while the other passengers who had been stuck in the chaos finally made it through. We jumped on the small plane, and the plane left straight away. I had 2 on our bag not being on the plane, no chance not in that time.

Predictably Erica slept the whole journey bar when I woke her up for a cheese and ham sandwich and a brew (included in the price!). When we landed it already felt like it had been such a long day and it was only about 10am. The airport was tiny and stood in the shadow of a huge volcano. A taxi to town was less than 3, we hadn’t however printed out the hostel reservation (but then again we never really have anything printed out, it’s too expensive), so pointing at the book we recalled where we were staying and the taxi driver took us straight there. We have come to Arequipa, partly because it is apparently one of the most beautiful cities in South America (Peru’s second city) but mostly to go trekking in the Colca Canyon. The Colca Canyon is bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in Nevada (another of our past exploits) and we were really looking forward to a two day trek.

A really nice friendly man asked if we had a reservation at the hostel, we said yes and without checking we were given the choice of two double rooms, wifi passwords and told to see him in the travel agency to talk about trekking for first thing tomorrow. We wandered up a flight of stairs and got chatting to the guy. We went through the options and to be honest had cocked up a little, we didn’t realise either that we were back at altitude (having come from sea level that morning) or that the canyon is at times higher than the Inca trail. The guy told us it would be dangerous for us to do the two day trek, and wouldn’t even recommend the three day trek insisting we must have a day to acclimatise. As we didn’t have the time we plonked for the option of sitting on a bus and being driven about visiting all the best look outs, towns and villages. The guy started to fill out the voucher but it was in the name of Ian Smith, we questioned that and it turned out his only reservation and the one we had filled was for Ian Smith. We gave him our details then went off to check the internet, we were a little surprised (but I suppose we shouldn’t have been) when we realised we were in completely the wrong hostel and sat in someone else room. We were in hysterics!

After e-mailing the proper hostel they were fine with us staying where we were so we wandered around the city for a few hours. The Plaza del Armas is beautiful and all made of white stone as is the cathedral. After a good walk round it was time to stick to the rules of arriving at Altitude (3250m in case you’re wondering), that is eat light and don’t drink. We found a heaving locals joint and found it was 2 for a set menu of three courses so we jumped in the queue and eventually found a seat. We had no idea what we were ordering and ended up both having a dish we had no idea what it was and a steak. The soup came and it was huge, it had a full cut of meat, a piece of corn, about 4 potatoes, nuts, lentils and just about everything else you can probably buy in Peru. By the time we finished the soup we were stuffed.

Next we were served a bowl of jelly, which was odd, but we decided to leave that and see if the steak arrived. It didn’t but a piece of barbequed chicken with beetroot, carrots and rice did, it was really good and I asked for the sauce some of the other tables had, don’t think it was supposed to come with ours but confused she brought it over and watched me pour it on. It was really spicy but very good. All washed down with a Litre of Inca Cola, we could barely move. Erica despite my protests that jelly is made with water that hasn’t been boiled decided to eat the jelly anyway, I helped out by offering a list of diseases she was probably contracting by taking a risk eating jelly when we were already ready to explode - she had no problems though so I ate my words.

We headed back to try and carry on booking more bits and bobs from our plan before the prices go up again, after a problem with credit cards, and an hour on the phone to horrific tele-banking systems we still were not getting any closer so decided to make sure we did the other thing we shouldn’t do, we decided to go for a drink and decide once and for all if we are getting married as soon as we get home, or if we will let Erica set a timescale when we get home. It sounds fairly straight forward but over the course of 6 pisco sours (on a 3 for 1 happy hour) and a bowl of chips and cheese, Erica decided what she wanted was the plan I did about 6 months ago having agreed venues and spoken to vicars etc. To make matters worse the lack of any kind of recovery in the UK construction sector is making us want to draw on all Stevie Z’s contacts in China to earn some decent money or head back to Australia where the word recession is still unknown and decent coin can be earned. All in all the future is all very unknown at the moment but we need to earn some decent money and soon. Let’s open a betting book on wedding dates now then!  We got back to the hostel at about 11pm – Ian Smith wasn’t in our room so that was good and we drifted off to sleep – well I did Erica spent hours on the internet looking at god knows what.
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