Alpacas and Alcohol at Altitude

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, September 24, 2007

Just to clarify I havent actually seen an alpaca. But I have seen some really horrible jumpers - they may well be top quality warm wool but they´re certainly not tasteful! I´ve also eaten alpaca  - a little like cross between pork and lamb, not the best steak ever but not bad :o)

As to the alcohol part, I´ll get to that! But apologies in advance if I say stupid stuff, may be still a tad drunk :oS

The bus journey to Arequipa was 14 hours overnight, but on the comfiest bus ever! Big squishy armchair like seats that recline right back, loads of legroom, foor rests and a waitress serving dinner and drinks! Ace :o) Was sitting next to an irish lad from County Kiladare (kept wanting to call him Sean, as obviously all irish lads are called Sean, but actually his name was Brian). Hes been travelling alone for the last 3 months so we had a good chat about all the places im gonna go, then went to sleep ridiculously early again and slept like a log :o)

Was all going great until i was woken at 6.30 by the waitress making an anouncement over the tannoy. from my v.limted spanish i managed to grasp that we were stuck there for one hour and it was something to do with the police, but hardly crystal clear! We were just stopped by the side of the road in a very small town with loads of other buses adn trucks also there. Anyway, it all became clear about 45 mins later when a car shot past at huge speed - turned out they had closed the road for a rally to take place! So at 7.30am i was standing on a random peruvian roadside watching all these realy loud, slightly dodgy looking rally cars zoom past. A touch bizarre! But it was quite fun for the first half hour or so. Unfortunately it took aggess for them all to go past so delayed us for about 3 hours.

On the plus side, this meant i actually got to see some peruvian countryside. Its so desolate, and barren! Most of it looks like a moonscape, just endless desert of volcanic rock, no trees or lfe just cliffs and mountains and rock... Its really strange. And then every so often theres a river and along it a strip of green where they´ve managed to irrigate the surrounding land and are trying to grow stuff. It looks pretty thankless though.

So eventually arrived in arequipa, and its beautiful, such a nice city :o) its known as the white city cos its built out of volcanic rock that glistens in the sun, and its surrounded by volcanoes. I checked into the hostel which is cool and then went for lunch. The main plaza is really pretty, theres a big cathedral on one side and then old colonial buildings with balconies overhanging on the other sides. In the middle theres a big fountain and palm trees, and loads of people chilling out in the sun :o) i went for lunch in a restaurant on one of the balconies and got the most enormous plate of food! Chicken wrapped around ham and cheese, plus red pepper stuffed with cheese and a kind of bolognaise, plus potatoes covered in egg and cheese. I made a rather pathetic dent in it - im at 2000m and the altitude takes ur appetite away totally.
 It was really nice though. The waitress was really lovely and just as i was leaving she invited me to go up on to the roof of the restaurant to take photos of the view. I didnt have my camera with me but went up anyway and it was beautiful. The cathedral is really pretty with the plaza in front, and then over its roof the biggest volcano could be seen in the distance. Stunning. I was admiring this when the waitress came up wth her camera and said she would take photos for me and email them to me! So we took loads of photos, then she got the other waiter to come up and take a photo of the two of us, and we spent about 15 mins up on the roof chatting :o) she was really sweet, and so hopefully ill get some great photos soon. She was also tiny! At first glance i thought she was about 10 but she was actually just really small, def a way below 5ft!

Went for a wande after that and looked around the city. Then came back to the hostel and chatted to Raoul for a while (peruvian who works here). The hostel was pretty quiet up until then but about 5.30 a whole crowd of people showed up, and suddenly my dorm was full! I got chatting to a couple of english lads from Leeds and a girl they´d just met from Holland and we went out for dinner, and this boys and girls is where the alcohol came into play.

Now admittedly as it was my first day at altitude I prob should have stayed away. Oops. Actually, before mummy starts worrying i should say i didnt get blind drunk and do anything dangerous or stupid. Just to reassure! We went out for dinner (the alpaca) and over dinner had a couple of Pisco Sours, the local cocktail (spirit like rum/tequilla, plus lime, soda, sugar and egg white) - really good! after dinner i very nearly went to bed cos i was soo tired (still jetlagged) bt was persuaded to have a vodka redbull first. Well that worked wonders! So we had a few more drinks, and the bar turned into a club, and we spent the night dancing with loads of Peruvians! It was great fun! Ben one of the leeds lads had rather too much and struggled to get home but other than that it was grand :o)

So all in all, Arequipa is beautiful and really fun! Hoping to go either mountain bikng down the volcano, or river rafting, or horse riding in the next few days :o) plus taking spanish lessons here. Also alex might be coming here in a day or two so that would be cool :o)

Peru is ace, you should try it :oP muchos love xxx
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