Team Arequipa 2009

Trip Start Mar 05, 2009
Trip End Aug 05, 2009

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I think I´ve spent the last week or so laughing more than I have for a long time, Arequipa and then Puno/Lake Titicaca were amusing to say the least.

In my last blog I mentioned the dody stomach, well that stayed with me a couple of days so I was bedridden in Arequipa and managed to gain the nickname in the dorm of The Scottish Bedbug as I was rarely seen out of my bunkbed.  However, Wednesday arrived and I was right as rain so me and another guy from the dorm who had also been struck down with dodgy stomach-itis headed for the convent for some nun based fun.  It´s like a walled town within Arequipa and despite both of us wondering how fun a convent could be, we were actually pleasantly surprised.  And I managed to bruise my leg when we decided that me clambering up a wall (with some help from him, always helps to hang around with a guy who´s 6 foot 4) would be a good way to get an interesting angle on the convent. 

As it was Semana Santa there were lots of interesting religious things going on in the city.  Therefore a group of us decided that we would go out and get drunk with the locals to celebrate this most religious of weeks.  So, four of us meandered off a few streets and came across some sort of street party where people were selling hot, home made brew which was fairly potent.  Now, considering me and another girl had just polished off a lot of vodka, this hot brew was interesting and we have the photos to prove it.  The police were even coming to the street and taking peoples bottles of the stuff (which were 4 soles, so thats about 1 pound 20) and pouring it down the drains. I was not best pleased when a policeman started pouring someones bottle very close to my shoes.

I made a spur of the moment decision to go with the others to Lake Titicaca to spend a few days visiting the islands.  Id planned to stay in Arequipa but decided I could do this and still have time to return to Arequipa and finish my Spanish lessons (oh yeah, Im getting Spanish lessons!).  So at the weekend off we went in a crappy bus to Puno, which is basically a bit of a crap town.  On Sunday we joined our boat tour to take us to the Uros reed islands and then we went to Amantani, another island, where we were all to spend the night with host families.  Now, the two day Lake Titicaca trip wasnt all that amazing, however, I did spend a lot of time laughing thanks to the two guys I was with, Owen and Mark.  If those boys were girls they´d have to be blonde, they were sometimes very dim but very funny.  Everyone on the islands is tiny and both guys were over 6" and we appeared to be living in a hobbit house where even I had to duck to get in the door.  Then, we were given tiny portions of food and I had both guys watching my every mouthful to see if I´d finish my food as well as them trying the "oh look, whats that over there game?" to get me distracted).  To top off our night on the island, the host family then made us dress up as local people and paraded us to the main Plaza to be laughed at by the rest of the locals.  Now, boys can get away with wearing ponchos because loads of people wear them, locals or not.  However, I was dressed up like a proper Peruvian woman with a multi-tiered skirt, dress thing and a long scarf.  I gained about 3 stones just by wearing that thing and also the host lady tied it so tight I could barely breathe.  And then we had to walk fast to the main plaza and the island´s at over 4000 feet....I was struggling a tiny bit!  The guys got a good laugh out of me that night as I was clearly the most ridiculous looking out of everyone.  I did get one of them back later on that night though by throwing a passionfruit off his head.

I have a number of hilarious things I can write about being on Lake Titicaca but I think you´ll get the gist of my time from what I´ve written above.  The whole trip to the islands was weird as I often felt like I was exploiting the people which is never how tourism should be and also everything´s so expensive as they have to transport it from the mainland.  However what made it good for me was definitely the company as there was rarely a moment when I wasnt laughing at something or someone.  Ive come back to Arequipa without them as theyre off to Cusco and I feel slightly like Im missing an arm as I´d gotten used to hanging out with them but I have Cusco next week with Lisa to look forward to and Im sure there are plenty more laughs to come over the next month and a bit I have left in South America.
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