Peru Poo

Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel El Cabildo

Flag of Peru  , Arequipa,
Friday, September 25, 2009

Virginia woke up with a bad case of "Delhi Belly" or to be more geographically correct "Peru Poo".So she was left in bed recuperating and off the remaining 4 of us went with our guide Betty to see the city sights of Arequipa.First stop was their pride and joy - the Santa Catalina de Siena Convent, built in the 16th century by the Spanish to house the Dominican nuns. The kids were convinced it was another Alcatraz on first viewing as,although prettier than a prison,it had many similarities: the nuns being housed in cells;strict rules for the inhabitants and penalties for breaking them;no contact whatsoever with the general public although monthly visits were allowed by family members through slits in the walls but no touching; a "life sentence" being bestowed on all who entered and no chance of "release".You can see why the kids were confused!

Next stop was an old factory which had been turned into a genuinely interesting modern museum which acted as a backdrop for a shop selling all sorts of modern Peruvian "knitwear" . We were shown the local animals from which the various garments were sourced - various breeds of llamas and alpacas basically. The kids loved them and were extremely keen on giving them all a gentle stroke and pet - all went well until one of them took a dislike to Fynn by spitting at him with a full on faceful - nice!!A swift exit from the pen was followed by a demo of the full production process from shearing the animals to the end weaving and design of the garments themselves. All very well done, so well that Virginia was back here the next day to buy a very elegant baby alpaca scarf for a knockdown price.

We were then showed round the rest of the city's other main sights,the most impressive of which was the grand main square, the Plaza de Armas.This is a beautiful colonial centrepiece for the city with a fountain in the middle,Spanish arches all around and a huge main cathedral at one end.

However, the kids' vote of the tour went to a place above the city which gave us a view of the impressive surrounding volcanoes and river but more importantly to them also housed a cage of guinea pigs! Cute they were, and poor old Betty had to think of a way of explaining to the kids that they mostly would end up on dinner plates as the local speciality. Ian was asked whether we would like to try them at a restaurant later that night - the kids never gave us the option!!

So all in all a good morning was had by all and back we were taken to the hotel to see Virginia who looked much better eating a bread roll for lunch - guinea pig was the last thing on her mind.

The afternoon was spent at Betty's club where she kindly let us use the club's facilities including a great play area and outside pool, before heading back to the hotel for a night in front of the tv watching films.

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