River Rafting, Dentist and the Flu.

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

3 months 5 days on the road........

It's ironic that in our last post I wrote that we had been reasonably healthy only to have Monique the very next day come down with the flu (fever, stuffy nose etc.).  Each new day brought a new sick family member until we all had our turn. It did temporarily slow us down but we still managed to venture out each day and discover some new part of the Arequipa City.

One of our first stops was the Museo Santury which exhibits 'Juanita, the ice princess' - the frozen body of an Inca maiden sacrificed on the summit of Nevado Ampato (Volcano) over 500 years ago.  First you're shown a national geographic video on the actual finding, and then you see some burial artefacts, culminating in a respectful viewing of a frozen mummy preserved in a carefully monitored glass-walled exhibition freezer. Sabrina, Monique and I found the whole topic very interesting; Raymond who came down with a fever was a lot less enthusiastic (thanks for hanging in there babe).

Plaza de Armas, the main square in Arequipa, is a very scenic place. The cathedral flanks one side, with locals and tourists alike lounging on park benches.  The kids love to hang out there to feed the pigeons.

The best ever city tour is here in Arequipa; a wonderful open double decker bus that navigates narrow roads, as well as cows and sheep.  We had a blast sitting on the top with the wind blowing through our hair (ha, speak for yourself - R), 80's music blasting through the sound system, locals waving to us and beautiful vistas around every corner.  The tour took us to lookout spots in different areas of this 2 million people city.  We liked our guide (Alvaro) so much we took him out for Pizza with us afterwards.  Alvaro is a young university student full of insights into Arequipa and now a new friend.

Saturday, Raymond took the girls (Sabrina & Sophia) river rafting on the Rio Chili.  The guide (Jose) with 27 years experience was not comfortable taking James & Monique as there is one class 4 rapid that could possibly throw them out of the raft.  Hearing that the younger two had no interest in going anyway (after watching their promotional video) I decided to take them to a little amusement park with go carts and games.  We later met up with the guide (Jose) who told us all about Cusco (he had only moved from their 2 weeks ago).  Raymond then invited him to join us at a culinary festival at the Plaza Yanahuara where we tried the Peruvian specialty cuy.  Yes, you are right if you guessed cuy means 'guinea pig' in English and it's quite good deep fried (well said for someone who 'chickened' out - R).  The kids were adventurous trying this and Raymond ate as if there's no tomorrow.  Sabrina and Monique did eat the kidney and liver that Raymond sampled first.

Sabrina had a possible abscessed tooth so we took her to a dentist where he removed the baby tooth.  The x-ray cost $1.60 and the tooth extraction was $5.  You may be wondering what the dental office looked like but I assure you it was quite modern and very clean.  The dentists (a woman specializing in children and the other was an orthodontist) checked out all our teeth and discovered a couple of cavities and preliminary orthodontic work.  Raymond has been putting off getting all his amalgam fillings replaced because of the cost back home.  As we were in one spot for a while we decided to trust these dentists and get all our dental work done here. James and Sophia were fitted and received retainers that we knew were necessary.  We were very impressed with the quality of work and service as well as the cost.  

Peru is a very friendly country with friendly customs.  For example, two of our dentists are women and it is customary to kiss on the cheek when you greet and leave a female.  It seemed strange to begin with but when you see everyone doing it ..............well it was a little easier.  Besides, usually when I leave the dentist I feel I have been taken advantage of.  All the above made going to the dentist fun!!  (Raymond)

I (Janice) just finished a full week of group Spanish classes which I have fully enjoyed.  There are two German girls in my class and the teacher is fluent in both German and English. I am getting a two for one as I am hearing so much German I am hoping I'll learn that as well.
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