A lesson or two in Peru

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
Trip End May 18, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Cuzco,
Monday, February 4, 2013

Having just left the "Land of the free" we weren't expecting too much from our first stop in South America. We had heard that Lima was a bit of a dive and that we shouldn't expect a South American Miami. Well as it turns out, Lima isn't even close to that description - it's much worse. The city is what most would call disgustingly filthy. There is a blanket of smog over the entire place and the streets are really dirty. What also didn't help was the fact that we arrived at the crack of dawn and our taxi driver spoke a strain of English that we were both unfamiliar with. I'd even go as far as to say that he didn't speak English at all. In fact he didn't. He spoke entirely in Spanish. Even the traveling linguist, Sonia Tourist, was confused. Needless to say, we managed to get ourselves to our hostel using some Portuguese, my made up language and some hand gestures.

On arrival at 7am at the hostel we were told that we could only check in at 2pm - smiles weren't being thrown around for free at this point. Anyway, we eventually got into our "room"at 3pm. I say "room" but that term would suggest some form of space, however this "room" had less space than Danes fridge has for nonalcoholic beverages. We had to usher ants out to free up space. Sonnybill even had to trim her "golden" locks. Hell, I even had to stop flexing whilst in the room in case I suffocated Sonny by mistake - it wasn't ideal. So lets just say that it wasn't spacious. It also didn't help that the linguist has backpacks for her backpacks. Basically her backpacks are backpacking through SA. They might even be blogging for all we know. Should we move on? I think that's best from a relationship perspective. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, our stay in Lima was short. We did go to the beach which was quite cool - basically it has pebbles instead of sand. There were also millions of surfers and the swell was radical. But that's all really. The next day we booked a bus ticket and we were off to Arequipa.

Firstly I must say that Sonnet wasn't too sold on the whole Arequipa idea, but I sold it so well that she agreed. Looking back, I can't really recall what my selling points were. I mean who would be sold by things such as; 7th world, nothing to do, 16 hour bus ride, language force fields (barriers aren't strong enough to describe these language complications), creeps and perverts. But somehow I convinced her and we were off.

My selling points were spot on, but fortunately it wasn't all bad. We visited an outrageous cathedral. Fact: in Arequipa in the space of roughly 1 square kilometer there are roughly 17 churches. I didn't waste much time researching that little factoid. Being as outgoing as we are and being such adventurous people and stuff (essentially modern day pioneers) we booked a whitewater rafting trip. There is a beautiful river that flows through Arequipa called the Rio Chili, and it really flows. And by 'really flows' I mean it REALLY FLOWS. This was definitely a highlight of our trip to date. We had a super guide called Sergio who made us feel really comfortable and was very professional. We also had one of our crew members flung out of the boat by a rapid which was a real treat. Fortunately for Sonny her pants were wet from the water, else there would have been big problems. I haven't seen someone laugh like that since the day we all witnessed a young Donna Claire run head first straight into an opening garage door - although at first we all panicked, then later we laughed, and to be honest I still laugh about that. Questions like; "What the hell was she thinking?" and "Surely she has eyes?" came to mind. Anyway, this non swimmer made Sonny's day, if not week. Attached is a small clip of the incident for your enjoyment.

After much debate, we decided to move on. Our next stop was Cusco, which had been recommended to us by many and it was also the starting point for our Inca Trek.

As you probably don't know, Cusco is a high altitude city, sitting at 3400m above sea level. To give you some perspective, JHB is 1700m above sea level, and Cape Town is at 0m above sea level. Basically what I am saying is, Cusco is high. We decided that it would be best to acclimatise for a few days prior to embarking on our trek. This would also give us some time to book our trek and some time to relax. Sonny was also feeling quite ill so we thought it best to take it easy for a few days.

Again, as is the norm with South American arrivals, our first impression wasn't great. Our taxi driver dropped us at the top of a dingy alley and said in Guesspanol that our hostel was down the alley. We were skeptical to say the least. It also didn't fill us with comfort when the first person we saw in the alley was a hippy who was drunk beyond comprehension. This should give you an idea of how drunk he was. Step 1: Go out and get as drunk as you have ever been. Step 2: Once extremely drunk, drink 1 000 000 beers. This guy made Johnny Walt look like Mother Theresa. Anyway, as it turns out, our hostel actually was down there. In fact it was in an alley off that alley. Basically the directions were, "Go down Death Alley and turn right into Alley of Certain Death and in the corner you will find your hostel." To our surprise this hostel was a little gem. The owner treated us like her children and the rooms were actually areas of room. I got so excited that I walked into the room (walking into our previous rooms wasn't an option - you had to climb in over the bed and the backpacking backpacks) and smashed my chest into the top of the door. See attached photo if that made no sense. Peruvians are tiny humans, even Moose Torres would look like a giant in that place and she's a speck of a human.

Back to our Cusco experience. The city is beautiful and the people are amazing. There is also plenty to do. We took a hike up the mountain to see the Crristo Blanco (white Jesus) that overlooks the city. We did a city tour which was guided by a human that used English words, all of which we understood individually, but when she put them into a sentence it made about as much sense as supporting Arsenal. Click on this link, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwHpBwAxDIs) it will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about.

Pre and post our Inca Trek, we spent our days walking the markets, buying clothes made out of the skin of long necked sheep's (aka Alpaca's), turning down million of salesmen, talking to each other, hugging miniature Peruvians with pet Alpaca's and we went clubbing on our last night at a place called Mama Africa.

In conclusion then; Lima makes you sad, Arequipa should be called Arenevergothere, and Cusco is mucho linda.

Next up is our Inca Trek. I just need some time to rest (after writing this novel) before I write that post match report. Until then, adios amigos.
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Gunners Fan on

Awesome entry David Villa (apart from that absurd Gunners comment). Really enjoyed that rafting video, Travelpod not so keen on full HD from the GoPro? Hope you're having an awesome time. Well that's a given. I actually almost hope that you're not having a good time - the jealousy is amplified to unbearable levels when opening Excel at 10AM on a Monday morning.

Jannie on

Nice blog Amigo - you sound as though the trip is getting better and better - enjoy every moment - sad to hear about the credit card fraud -seems as though Investec will refund you in full. lots of love to both of you.

Heather on

Loved it!!! Keep them coming. This is better than Mchael McIntyre!!
Lots of love to you both xxx

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