A nice surprise in Arequipa

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
La Posada del Virrey

Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, June 17, 2011

Instead of staying a night in Arica as originally planned, we took the suggestion from Marysol in Putre and got a collectivo straight across the border when we arrived back to Arica. This is quite an interesting way to cross the border as it is basically a taxi which drives people from Arica in Chile to Tacna in Peru.  You pay for a seat and once all 5 are full off you go.  Included in the price the driver even completes your immigration forms for you.  It was the cheapest thing we did in Chile!  When we arrived in Tacna we decided to head straight on to Arequipa.  Having looked around we found the best deal on a bus and went for food in the dodgy bus station café.  After dinner I contacted Dad to let him know where we were headed because he was already in Peru and then we hopped on the bus.  It was very dingy compared to the lovely buses we had taken in Chile, but it was ok.  Except for the unscheduled stop when, just as we were dropping off to sleep, we were kicked off the bus and the whole bus was searched! The Peruvians seemed a little surprised about it as well so I think it was odd enough – maybe they were looking for a fugitive or drug smuggler or something?? Anyway, at one point they found a bag on the bus even though we were told to take everything with us.  The lady was then searched in front of everyone including her bag in the hold as well.  After about 45 minutes, still none the wiser as to what had happened we got back on the bus.  Unfortunately we were then wide awake!  

We arrived in Arequipa very early when it was still dark. Arequipa is apparently safe enough except for when it comes to taxis.  There are a number of people who pose as taxi drivers and kidnap tourists for days, taking money out of their account on a daily basis.  A little worried about this (!) we teamed up with 2 other tourists and took the bus company taxi, which was a little overpriced.  Better safe than sorry! We got to a hostel, took a nap and were ready to go at about 11 am!  At breakfast we checked Kevin's phone for the first time in a week and we had a couple of messages from Dad.  It turned out that his flight had been cancelled in London so there had been some faffing around getting to Peru in the first place. When they finally arrived in Lima one of the suitcases was missing! We knew none of this so I think Dad was a little surprised to get a 'hi how are you’ text from me the night before! Anyway as it turned out him and Caroline were flying to Arequipa that day.  We hadn’t intended on seeing each other until Cusco but of course we arranged to meet up in Arequipa instead!   

Before we met up with them Kevin and I decided to go back to our India days and take the real local bus to the bus station so we could book our onward tickets to Colca Canyon.  What an experience! First Kevin got on the bus and I didn’t, and then when the lady called to the driver he slowed down just enough for me to jump in, nearly knocking myself out on a lamp post on the way and falling on top of Kevin as I got in! We then went completely around the houses getting to the bus station.  We had a central Arequipa map and I watched in dismay as we kept driving off the map, back on the map and then anytime we looked to be going the right way finally veering off somewhere else! We made it eventually although it might have been quicker walking!

It was great meeting up with Dad and Caroline.  We went for a beer, wandered around and talked about their holiday so far.  Luckily they had received their suitcase so dad wouldn’t have to do the Inca Trail in his sandals! In the evening we went to a lovely restaurant called Zigzag for fancy Peruvian food.  A lot of Alpaca was consumed – tastes like the best steak ever – plus large chocolate desserts…of course!!
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