Cute furry animals!

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Feb 21, 2005

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

We all draggeg ourselves on a bus this morning for the drive the Colca canyon. A river runs down throught centre of Arequipa and as a result there are some green spaces. Outside of the city there are shantytwons. The closer you get the the city the more developed they are. the ones thet are the furthest out are ususally in the process of being built. People start the shantytowns by building fences made out of stacked rocks and gradually building the houses as they have the money (as a result there are many half finished houses) The Peruvian government will give the land to people for free and once ther homes are built the government will hook up electricity, water and evtually internet and cable. This process can take up to 3-5 years. It was a long drive through the desert however this desert had a lot more cacti and wildlife then the deserts I had seen earliet. The Andes mountains were visble off in the distance. On the way to the Colca Canyon we drove thoough a reserve for these animals that are realtives to llamas and alpacas but again I have forgotten what their names are (I will fix up there entries once I get home I swear). They are wild animals whereas alpacas and llamas are domenticated. THey were almost extinct a few years ago because they were being hunted for their wool which is very soft and costs about $380 US per kilo. Now there are lots of them but it is still illegal to hunt them. Once a year the locals in the area herd the animals by holding hands and coming towards them in straight line. Once they are closer they form a circle the hold the animals in while someone shears them. Afterwards, all of the animals are released. We stopped halfway there to get soem Coco tea to prevent altitude sickness. There was a small restaurant and lots of women sitting outside selling local handicrafts that were mostly made out of alpaca wool (llama wool is too coarse to wear is in used mainly for rope) We stopped again at 4900m above sea level at the highest palce along the highway. It is the place where people go to make wishes to the mountain Gods. People would make wishes by piling rocks on top of each other and placing some hair or an offering underneath. You could really feel the altitude here. It was difficulty to breath and some people got headaches. We ended off in a small village outside of Chivay (the main city of the Colca region) There is alot of agriculture in the Colca region. There were lots of sheep, cows(which were about half the size of the ones in Canada), llamas and dockeys. There were also alot of grain and vegetable fields. All the the farming is done by hand. There were no tractors. The houses here were made from stones that had cement in between and many of them had straw roofs. It was still quites high where we were
(about 4000m) We went on a short hike to see some old tombs on the side of one of the mountains. After the hike we went to hot springs for about an hour and then we returned to the hotel. For supper the hotel made a buffet of traditional foods (alpaca, beef, trout, squash and cheese, baked spinanch, cheese and eggs and some other things I couldnīt recognise. Many of the people there dress in tradional clothing which for the women is very colourful. They wear brightly coloured embroidered dresses. Many of the villagers ther would ask you to take their picture for a tip. Especially the children. Tourism is one of the main industries in the Colca Canyon next to agriculture.
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