Colca Canyon

Trip Start Nov 20, 2006
Trip End Jun 27, 2007

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It was a 5 hour very dusty drive to Colca Canyon. The road wound up through the volcanoes and the scenery was very dry and barren. We drove through a pass at 4,800m and stopped for a short walk. This is the highest we had been on the trip and we all felt light headed and short of breath. The scenery was much prettier as we descended down towards the canyon and our hotel for the night was lovely although freezing cold. Before dinner we headed off to the natural hot springs where the water is heated by the volcanic activity to a lovely hot 45 degrees. We were all a bit dubious as it was pitch black by the time we arrived and the air outside was freezing. I've never seen 10 people change into their swimming stuff and jump into the pool so quickly. Once in the water it was gorgeous - like a big hot bath and we all laid back looking at the stars. We also had a few local cocktails in the pool that must have been made with some local home brew liquor. They were really strong and absolutely disgusting! We were all like wrinkled prunes by the time our guide dragged us out of the pool and we got our clothes back on even quicker than we'd got them off.

Our guide took us to a 'cultural dance show' that night - just Matts cup of tea, he wedged himself into a seat by the wall so there was no chance that he would be dragged up to dance. It was the most bizarre dance show. It all started innocently enough and then out came the whips! The bloke and girl took it in turns whipping each other and then the bloke kept disappearing under the girls skirts. It was at this point that one of our group, Rob, got dragged up to dance. He entered into it whole heartedly, I think secretly enjoying being hit by an extremely pretty Peruvian girl. Once we'd all managed to stop laughing our guide explained that the dance is acting out someone who has malaria and the various ways they tried to get rid of it from the body - um, not sure I follow that one!

Back at the hotel we sat in front of the fire and watched a DVD - 'The Guardian' with Kevin Costner - an ok film but it went on for far too long. While we've been on the tour we haven't had a single guide who hasn't managed to get lucky with one of our group, in fact there's often been a bit of competition between the girls as to who gets the guy. Matt and me have been taking bets all the way along and tonight Matt won - after only an hour we spotted the guide in the back row with one of the girls before they snuck off for an 'early night'!

At 5:30am the next day we set off along the edge of the Canyon to Condors Cross. This is the best spot in the canyon to watch the condors flying. It may be the best place but it's also the busiest. The condors were about but by the time Matt and me worked our way to the front of the crowd they had gone. A bit of patience though and a short wait and they were soon back. It was amazing watching them glide on the thermals around the canyon. They look so graceful and yet have a 3m wing span. It was then back on the bus for a 5hour journey back to Arequipa. We had about 4 hours to kill hanging around the hotel before getting the overnight bus to Nazca.........
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