Adios Peru, Buenos dias Bolivia
Trip Start Mar 05, 2009
20Trip End Aug 05, 2009
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So, I returned to Arequipa after my jaunt to Lake Titicaca and finished my Spanish lessons. During my last week I got the opportunity to drink some frog juice, made from freshly cooked frogs. It was disgusting. But apparently it's good for the memory....really the only memory I've gained from it is knowing I wont ever be trying it again. I had a very strange last night in Arequipa which involved me and a gay guy I got to know going to a gay club where within minutes of entering I was asked my sexual orientation. Despite not being 'one of them', they accepted me as a part of the gay nightlife of Arequipa and I woke up slightly the worse for wear in the morning with a necklace that a random Peruvian lesbian had given me. I think she was trying to build some bridges between our nations. It was a bizarre night and I was definitely wary of the club when I discovered none of the toilets had doors....I eventually found one that had a door hanging off and managed to lodge my foot underneath the door to hold it closed.
The next day, hangover in tow, I went to meet a girl I originally met in Lima called Desiree as we were going on a 2 day Colca Canyon tour. It was a brilliant weekend, we saw some condors, saw lots of llamas and alpacas and had a lovely two days in one of the deepest canyons in the world. Oh and we got to go to some natural hot springs which were lovely. I returned from Colca Canyon and basically got straight on a bus to Cusco as I was heading there to meet the Lovely Lisa who was doing the epic journey from England to Peru so we could do the Inka Trail together. I could say a lot about Cusco but I think all that needs to be said is that I had an unbelievable time with Lisa....our first night together, despite Lisa suffering from altitude, we ended up in a bar (what a surprise) and managed to drink a couple of Argentinian guys under the table. We also went on the Sacred Valley tour which takes you to lots of famous Inka sites which are located about 2 hours from Cusco....lots of good photo opportunities and really interesting stories about walls. I could honestly call myself an expert on Inka wall formation after both the Sacred Valley tour and the Inka Trail....it's all about the walls here! Then it was back to Cusco to get our Inka Trail briefing!
We had quite a large group of 18 (which fell to 16 I think after one couple had to turn back after the first day) but it was BRILLIANT! The banter was excellent, there were so many laughs, the guides were great and we were fed like kings and queens. And nothing beats waking up in the morning, looking out the tent door and seeing mountains and then a little porter guy comes and gives you some hot coca tea. Total luxury. And I also was the first person of our group to get to the highest point of the entire trail called Dead Woman's Pass on Day 2...it was very tough (the altitude at the highest point is 4,200m) but it was more a case I needed to get to the top as I knew the quicker it finished the better I'd feel. But it did feel pretty good to be the first of the group, I must admit. Haha. The night before we went to Machu Picchu we stayed in a campsite that had showers and a bar and everyone was very happy! Lisa and I, of course, ended up being the last girls of our group to go to bed and I was wearing my Madonna tshirt and they started playing her greatest hits after I arrived at the bar. So here I am, in complete Inka country, drinking a beer and listening to Madonna. Very strange but I got a little bit of dance so I was happy! So after 3 days of walking we woke up on the 4th morning at 4am to get ready to head to Machu Picchu....and it was raining and foggy. We'd had amazing weather the previous 3 days and then I had to get the waterproofs on! But after thinking about how lucky we had it, I cant complain that on the last day we had some rain and fog AND it cleared up at about 10am and we had the most amazing views of Machu Picchu. It's quite surreal being in Machu Picchu as you know what it looks like from the photos but it is just unbelievable in real life. It's high up above the valley and it's just beautiful. The Inkas were definitely intelligent people.
So after the Inka Trail it was back to Cusco where basically Lisa and I drank too many Pisco Sours or something else and I had the worst hangover of my travels so far but I managed to survive the trip to Huacachina. Huacachina is an oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert and its really just a place to chill out and sunbathe. We went on a sandboarding and sandbuggying trip over the massive dunes that surround Huacachina and Lisa and I managed to give ourselves enough of a scare falling quite hard on the sand on our third dune that we were put off sandboarding for life I think. Good experience though!
And then I had to leave Lisa (boohoo!) and I needed to head eastwards and she needed to go west. It was brilliant to experience something as amazing as the Inka Trail with someone I knew from home though. I think it would have been excellent if Id done it on my own but it was really special having someone to 'share the memories with', cheesey I know, but true! I've got less than a month less in South America and I'm already scared of going back to the English speaking world, I want to stay here longer and go more places! Oh well, I've already thought of the next trip anyway and it involves heading back to Latin America and doing all the countries I've not had the time to do on this holiday.
This blog has missed out so much of the past three weeks or so but Im sure the photos will explain more than I can ever blab on about here! Enjoy!