Las Salinas

Trip Start May 18, 2007
Trip End Jul 28, 2007

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ian, Charlie, Jacqueline, Megan and I met Sunday morning at 7am, at the Casa, and headed up with our guide and driver, to Las Salinas, a "salt lake" located between El Misti and Picchu Picchu, two of the three volcanoes that surround Arequipa. We drove for several excruciatingly bumpy hours in a Toyota 4X4, and after a short hike "just to see the scenery", reached the shores of the salt lake.

To be precise, the white substance covering the seemingly endless expanse stretching in front of us was not really salt, but the main contents of boric acid ("bora" in Spanish). The sight of this glistening, bright-white surface uniformly flat for miles, and bound only by the flanks of Picchu Picchu on one side, and hills on the other side, had us speechless. We decided quickly to take "funny perspective pictures" - which sadly did not turn out quite as perfectly as we had hoped! But I have to say, I really like the pictures of Charlie doing his Capoeira move, and then of Jacqueline and Charlie doing cartwheels.

We got back into the 4X4, and ended up at a place where shepherds keep llamas. We walked in the field, and were suddenly surrounded by llamas! We stopped there for lunch, enjoying the warm sun, high altitude (4200m), and the wildness of the landscape all around. Moonscape may be more appropriate, as it looks quite arid, with harsh peaks jutting out of the ground and the white lake going on forever. In the distance, another volcano (San Pedro de something-or-other, I believe), was spewing smoke in the sky... It has recently started to show some activity again, but so far, does not threaten any communities.

Our drive back into Arequipa in the afternoon was again painfully bumpy (we are talking 25km an hour on a badly rutted dirt road covered with rocks and stones of various sizes) and smelly, as both Ian and Charlie, sitting in the back seat, decided to "vent" their frustrations and competed with nearby volcanoes by expelling what smelled like sulfuric gases strong enough to asphyxiate us all! Our guide, sitting in the front passenger seat, had his head out the window for most of the trip...  I hate to admit it, but it was funny!

By the time we arrived back in Arequipa, we were tired, sore and hungry. We went in search of pizza, but it being Sunday, very little was open. We ended up at the local Irish pub (there is always an Irish pub, whatever city you find yourself in), and ordered pizza. Of course, since we were ordering pizza at an Irish pub in Peru, it did not turn out exactly the way we wished, but - good enough.

Another great adventure day spent seeing new things, being amazed by new landscapes, and laughing away...
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