Lots Going On!!
Trip Start Aug 27, 2008
10Trip End Oct 23, 2008
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We have been going to El Centro, the historic center of Arequipa, almost daily. The buildings in the historic center are made of Sillar, which is a white color volcanic rock that can be easily formed into blocks
Some of the buildings in El Centro date back to the 1500's but most of them have been rebuilt after earthquakes. One of the most impressive things to us is the decoration on some of the buildings. It consists of carved rock in a style called "churrigueresque" and, besides being very beautiful, is interesting because it mixes traditional Catholic symbols with classic Inca symbols.
Also, in El Centro are a lot of restaurants, tourists shops, and tour operators. Our favorite place is the market place for locals where most things can be bought. There are rows of meat, dried food in bulk, cheap kitchen utinsels, olives, a row dedicated to fresh fruit juices, and lots of piles of fruits and vegetables piled up attractively at least 10 feet high
The food here varies. At the school all of our meals are provided. The food at the school has been fairly bland and often blended together in one mass and served over rice. We eat out every other day or so and have really enjoyed the meals we eat out. There is a vegetarian restaurant in El Centro that we have eaten at several times that prepares traditional Peruvian meals, but vegetarian style. We can have a Menu (full 3 course meal) at this vegetarian restaurant, including softdrinks, for less than $5 for the two of us. We also have enjoyed the ceviche which is fish or seafood pickled in lime juice with some spices added. It reminds us of a spicy "silt" (pickled herring) that we came to enjoy when we were in Sweden many years ago. Tonight we are going to eat out at a fancy restaurant on a terrace overlooking the plaza and Cathedral in El Centro to celebrate Dean's birthday.
Even though it has been several years since we have lived overseas, many of the attitudes that go along with being overseas have returned to us quickly. The "airport malaise" that frequent overseas travelers have that allows them to enjoy waiting in airports for hours, came back naturally. Every country has different things that require precautions. The tap water in some countries is better than in the U.S
Crime varies in much of the world. While crime in places we have lived in the middle east (Turkey and Northern Cyprus) is mostly limited to minor bribes to get things done more quickly, in much of the world petty crime is a concern. In Europe, Italy and Amsterdam have a reputation for having a lot of petty theft (breaking into cars, breaking into hotel rooms, and pickpocketing). In most of the world outside the U.S., violent crime is fairly rare but petty crime is common. We once had a laptop stolen from our car in southern France. The worst crime that affected someone we knew happened in Italy when one of the faculty members for our university was carrying a purse with a sturdy strap over the opposite shoulder, like the tourist books recommend. A big guy grabbed her purse and ran, dragging her for a number of feet and causing some serious injuries. After these experiences we have learned to be ready for any petty crime that might happen.
Before coming to Peru, Kris minimized what was in her billfold like purse
When we were living in Northern Cyprus, Kris used to play bridge once or twice a week with a group of expats from many different countries that were experienced world travelers. This group consisted of people originally from Germany, Britain, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries that were mostly teachers, university faculty members, or business people. These people had worked all over the world and were more experienced travelers than we were. When we left Northern Cyprus they gave Kris a plaque that said "Life is a Game, Bridge is Serious." This attitude summarizes the thought processes of many world travelers. Basically, don't get too serious about life, but concentrate on doing whatever specific things you are doing as good as you can.
Please keep in touch and keep the e-mails and comments coming. So far, we have a strange feeling of being home while we are traveling away from the U.S., but we really value the e-mails and comments we get from all of you.
Our thoughts are going out to those of you with interests and family in the Texas Gulf coast area as Hurricane Ike approaches.