Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
26Trip End May 05, 2012
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My boss was kind enough to let me leave early, so I went home and we finished packing before leaving the dog and cat there and heading to Cusco. We almost missed our bus because of traffic. We literally ran out of the taxi and down through the terminal to pay the terminal fee and give the bus company our ID numbers. Luckily they waited a few minutes for late passengers, so we arrived just in time.
In the morning we got to the terminal and found that all the buses to Chivay were sold out for the day, meaning weīd have to go on Friday instead of Thursday. We ended up buying tickets (19 soles) for 8 am on Friday morning to Cabanaconde, the closest city in the canyon
So we went to Inka Roots again (the same place we stayed in October) and then walked around a bit. We decided to go see a movie, so we bought tickets for the Hunger Games and waited around until it was time.
After the movie we went back to the hostal for dinner and ended up with a treat! Our street was packed with people eating special dishes and drinking tea, and the plaza was jam packed with people trying to get into the church for mass. So we sat on the roof and watched before heading to bed.
We almost missed our bus again. Well actually, we did miss it. We woke up and were out the door at 7:30 and took a combi that left nearby. Because of the traffic, we arrived at the terminal at 8:10. The bus had already left! So we hired a taxi to catch up to the bus. He was great, speeding and passing -- really trying to help us.
Lucky for us, the bus pulled over and let us get on. Once in Chivay, Ronald ran out of the bus to buy our return ticket to Arequipa
Arriving in Cabanaconde, we were quickly approached by a man working in a nearby hostal, Pachamama. It looked really nice, but since we had such little time, he advised us to head down to the Oasis that day and come back up in the morning. We left our bag there and took only what we thought weīd need on the hike. He said it wasnīt very hard, so we set off in high spirits.
I was quickly disappointed when I realized the entire trail was downhill with loose rocks and sand as the base. I was wearing chacos because I didnīt know it was going to be so rocky or so downhill! By the time we reached the oasis at the bottom, it was 2.5/3 hours later and my knees were killing me and Iīd also managed to get myself a few blisters.
The first lodge was full so we walked down to the larger one and got a room for 25 soles. They had a nice pool so we hopped in for a bit, but it was too cold for me since the sun was almost down. So we got out and changed, then went to dinner
We decided to rent a horse to go up the mountain in the morning, so we arranged that for 60 soles, and we had to leave at 6 am. We spent a little bit of time after dinner chatting on the hammocks, but hit the hay early to be able to wake up!
So this morning we got up and found the horses. They were actually mules, but it didnīt matter. They hadnīt brought enough, so a few people were pretty angry. We left late, so when we finally got to the top where we leave the mules, it was 8:15, so weīd missed the first bus back to Chivay. We almost got run over by a renegade mule, too. Ronald basically fell into a cactus and I was pushed into it as well. We spent quite a while fighting the thorns.
We hadnīt brought enough money down with us to pay for the mules ahead of time, but the owner of the hostal said it wasnīt a problem. Well, apparently he hadnīt discussed this with the mule man, but we told him our money was in town. He got dragged off by a mule and we shouted our names at him and the hostal so he could meet us there so we could pay him.
There was a bus leaving a 9:30 we needed to be on, so we waited for the guy and even asked where the mules were kept, but he never showed and no one knew anything about the mules. We left town feeling bad about what had happened, as 120 soles is quite a bit and they were working for that money. So I kept watch out the window for the guy, but didnīt see him.
When we passed the observing place for the condors, an offical boarded our bus and came up to us saying there were two Chileans who didnīt pay for their mules. I thanked her and tried to explain what had happened, but she didnīt seem to care and finished by scolding us, saying that they are working out of necessity. My first thought was, well, arenīt we all? I mean, except for maybe the super wealthy, who works for fun? Whatever, we paid and felt the weight lifted off our chests.
We got to the bus terminal in Chivay and walked to the main plaza where we could catch a colectivo to the hot springs. I did buy a hat first, however. I hope itīll be good for the beach!
The colectivo leaves from the main plaza next to the municipality, and costs 80 centimos
Now weīre back in Chivay for our 1 am bus back to Arequipa to catch our 7 am plane leaving from Arequipa to Lima. Unfortunately, I just checked us in and they changed our flight from 7 to 10:40, meaning weīll miss our connection from Lima to Iquitos leaving at 11 am. As I write this Ronald is on the phone with StarPeru as TACA only said that it had changed and they can give us our money back. Hopefully StarPeru will let us change the flight to a later one so we wonīt have to buy a whole nother ticket!