Fancy Mr Fish?

Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Arriving in Arequipa at The Point Hostel, I was met by the gayest Peruvian I think i'll ever meet: Teo. Immediately, he started trying to convince me to go to a party called ´Mr Fish´ that afternoon. Of course I couldn´t refuse, so agreed to meet him in the lobby after i'd visited some cultured shit. 

Known as ´The city within the City´, the Santa Catalina Monastery was beautiful, maybe not woth the 25 soles entry mind you. The walls were bright blues and reds, set off by the amazingly detailed colonial paintings. This was where I caught my first glimpse of El Misti and the other surrounding volcanoes that enclosed the city... snow capped peaks, shinning in the intense sun. It seemed like I kept seeing scenes that were only meant to exist in movies!

After the Monastery, still feeling pretty  game for absorbing as much culture as possible, I went to see Junita the Ice Mummy - an Incan sacrafice of a seven year old girl, found preserved in the ice of the Andes. It was all a bit eerie being lead up to seeing the actual mummy herself: mseeing her blood-stained poncho; offerings found around her tomb; and being told she had to walk from Cuzco to Arequipa - a ten hour bus journey that left me exhausted. When we finally saw her in her tiny glass cabinet it was amazing how well preserved she was, still with teeth and hair, you could see where her skul had been hit by the fatal blow. It was all a bit sad: having been chosen since birth for this ´honourable´ fate, she was now only there for tourists to stare at.

Back at the hostel it was time for Mr Fish... Stuart had once again shown up so we went together along with a handful of other hostel guests, not knowing what to expect it was a huge shock to the system walking through the doors to see what it was all about. To give you a taster have a gander at the video link.

Being ushered to the VIP section by Teo because, and I quote, he "doesn´t dance with the common people" we grabbed a couple of beers and tried to adjust to the situation. Outside there was a terrace area with  bar that was overlooked by El Misti, again it was all a bit surreal. By the end of the afternoon we had all loosened up and when it cam time to go back to the hostel we didn´t want to leave, luckily I had plently more Mr fish parties to come... 

The next day we decided it'd be a good idea to go and see a bullfight. Hungover and in desperate need of ny bed I was not impressed when the ´bullfight´turned out to be nothing more than a couple of bulls wandering around a ring, occassionaly scuffing horns... but I suppose it was better than watching two bulls being torn apart by each other. In the end the highlight of the ´fight´ was when an old man came out into the middle of the ring and lifted his kid, standing, above his head with one hand... 

Somehow, I managed to get myself a job in the bar of the hostel... not really sure how it came about as I was pretty drunk when Chris (the hostel manager) offered it to me. For the next six weeks I ´worked´ for five days a week doing four hour shifts, getting a free bed, four soles a day lunch money and 40% off everything else... Pretty sweet, no? 

After a week, getting to know everyone I got myself the nickname ´Hanita´, which means ´little Hannah´. It was here I met Katie, a girl from Brighton that I´ve ended up travelling all through Bolivia with, and we both agreed that our bar manager, Pepe, was a bit creepy... with a strange fixation on touching our bellys - not the most comforting thing when you're hungover either. 

There was so many amazing people I met in Arequipa: Jin, a girl from Germany that was studying education in Arequipa while working at the point. One of the most stressful things I did in Arequipa was buy Jin cheese, it sounds weird, but she knows what she likes and cheese is not something South Americans do well. Malo, a girl from Belguim studying photography and quechua while working at the bar. Always in a good mood, we cooked together for everyone quite often while I mimed her French songs and she hummed along to the english music I played. Titi, which means ´monkey´ in spanish because she was always bouncing about... this girl was amazing at every game she played, hating to loose, which made it all the sweeter when I finally bet her at pool after five weeks of trying! Chris, the hostel manager, who refused to speak to me in english even though he spoke fluently... apparently this was to encourage me to do well in my Spanish lessons and it did actually help. Pepe, who although was a bit creepy at times, also taught me how to play pool, cards and how to make some pretty cool cocktails... looking out for me if there was ever a guy that might have went to far. Vicky, a crazy receptionist... boy mad. Bruno and Lyla, an Argentinian couple, travelling only on the money they made from busking on the street. Soren and Johan, two Danish guys that were hilarious and told us of the joys of Judas beer from Bolivia. There were the two Asaf´s... one a secret ladies man, the other I owe a great deal of gratitude to for teaching me to play Yaniv - my new favourite card game. Noah, a German bar tender that I invented  a hybrid game of Yaniv, shit head, pontoon and asshole with one night after a lot of pisco... amazingly we both instantly knew the rules!

One of the reasons I satyed in Arequipa so long was to take some Spanish lessons to help me with the rest of my journey. One of my teachers was great: she gave me homework, which we all know I loved, shared chocolate bars with me during our lessons and never got angry when I got something wrong. My other teacher however, well I can only assume he was high for every ´lesson´ he gave me... the painstaking two hours I spent with him pretty much consisted of me sitting about waiting until he though of some words to teach me, and somehow the conversation always ended up being about food, munchies much? Not that he had taught me the volcabulary to have a decent conversation anyway, but hey, I'm now a master at drawing the ingredients of haggis...
Excited when we got the news that the boys, and our bosses, were going to visit Bruno and Lyla in Cuzco for the weekend, me and Katie were ready to crack into the vino tinto. Having been out to several clubs with Noah and Jin on teh Friday night, consuming plently of cocktails, I was extremely happy to agree to go to the bus terminal the next morning to do promotions for the hostel.  I decided the only way I'd get through it was not to go to bed... picture me waving flyers drunkenly in tourists faces as they got off a ten hour bus journey, don´t think I was too popular that morning. Anyway, upon returning to the hostel I found Katie already up with some red wine, and not wanting to face a hangover I joined her and Noah for a day long sesh, taking it in turns to go to the super to buy more supplies. Apparently seeing the bartenders drinking wine on the couches is not a good image for the hostel... 


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