A Taxi Ride and Dinner

Trip Start May 27, 2007
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Following this refreshing pause, we circle the plaza and enter the elaborate Compañia de Jesus church. Built by the Jesuits in the XVIIth. century, the carved façade in white sillar stone is most impressive. Its pulpit in carved wood and its old sacristy, known as the Sistine Chapel of Arequipa, is the work of anonymous indigenous artists, who created the masterpieces in their own colour, their own motives and their own spirit. We continue wandering the cobbled streets down to the Chili River that runs through the city. Crossing the ancient stone bridge, we note that unlike other Latin American rivers; this one doesn't seem to be used as a garbage dump. There are signs all over the place threatening death and dismemberment to anyone even thinking about tossing their rubbish into this relatively pristine waterway.

By now we are needing sustenance, and have been recommended the restaurant "Tradiciones Arequipeñas" on Av. Dolores.
We hail a taxi, which are plentiful. All the taxis in Arequipa seem to be tiny yellow Daewoo Ticos. To be caught in Peru 's chaotic traffic is often like being caught in a stampede of elephants. The most common taxi - the Daewoo Tico -- is the scurrying mouse underfoot, and this tiny, four-door Korean import often gets squashed. Lima 's tabloids frequently carry gory photos of catastrophic Tico accidents. They also represent a vital source of income for tens of thousands of struggling Peruvians who pay the equivalent of about US$ 9 to rent the cars for 12-hour shifts, and then drive like maniacs to recoup their expenses and turn a modest profit.
Fortunately Arequipa is much more sedate than Lima , so although it is a squash for four people, we take a Tico to the restaurant without mishap or fear of being crushed in the Sunday evening hush! Our 15 minute taxi ride cost us the princely sum of S/. 5.00 (US$ 1.50).  
We arrive at 7.00 PM , and with the exception of one other family, find ourselves quite alone in this vast agglomeration of chalet style open restaurant and gardens. We order the most famous dish of Arequipa cuisine, "Chupe de Camarones". This is hearty chowder, with our plate piled high with fresh-water crawfish. It is a meal in itself and dinner for four, with all the trimmings, came to just US$38.00. Coupled with copious Arequipeña beers, we considered this a great end to a busy and interesting day.
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