Cuy... I love you

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of Peru  , Arequipa,
Monday, October 8, 2012

We left ica today to embark on our first of many long overnight bus journeys. Huacachina had been awesome and we were sad to leave. We had heard many horror stories about muggings etc on buses and was obviously very nervous. We boarded the bus and I (Sarah) got into my wary position that I believed would keep our stuff safe through the night - bag on my tummy seat belt over the top of me and the bag and a blanket covering me. No one would know I had valuables under there! Me and tai had the unfortunate spot next to the toilet which the following morning we would realise quite how unfortunate it was. Matt didn't have his preferred seat buddy of a skinny girl but instead found himself next to a pretty big guy whose snoring couldn't even be blocked out by my ear plugs and Tai's "noise cancelling" headphones!!
Despite this we fell asleep pretty much straight away and awoke at around 4am. We appeared to be parked alongside a beach, we assumed the driver was just taking a nap so managed a couple more hours of sleep until sunrise when we realised we were still on the beach. We tried to find out what was happening and it appeared the road was blocked due to some kind of race but we were told we would b in Arequipa by 10am - only an hour after we were due to arrive. The morning drifted on and we thought at around 8 when we still hadn't moved it would be a good idea to check google maps to see where we were- much to our shock we were still 4.5 hours away and we'd managed to find out we we're going to leave till 10am. Dumpster beach where we were parked was pretty self explanatory- it looked as though all the rubbish from the surrounding areas was just dumped on this stretch of beach. There were lots of other buses, trucks etc parked up waiting for the race to pass. It started going past at around 9am and seemed to be a rally race... We still weren't quite sure what was happening or if we were even still dreaming!
Unfortunately it was happening and we didn't end up in arequipa till around 3.30pm some 19.5 hours after we left ica. Tired and in desperate need of a shower we headed for our hostel, we obviously looked delerious and the people at the hostel took advantage of us and booked us into the worst room in the place- basically just a mezzanine with no windows or even a door. It was only till the next morning we realised what a bad decision this had been- at that point it seemed like heaven. An amazing hot shower later and we set off in search of some much needed dinner. The main sq in Arequipa was really pretty with a fountain in the middle and a huge church along one side. We found a restaurant and unfortunately witnessed some more advantage taking of a dead looking dog by the towns male dogs. The scene was so horrific a local took off his belt and started whipping the male dogs!
We have come to the conclusion that dogs over here are really really weird!
The altitude was starting to get to us and we all started feeling a bit sick so we headed bk to the hostel for a chilled night and watched some films in the movie room.
The next day the girls arrived -early!! We were so jealous of there journey. We showed them to our fail of a room and headed up to the roof top terrace for breakfast. The altitude was getting to us all as we were all out of breath when we reached the top of the stairs. From the terrace we had amazing views of the misti volcano 17km away and were all unsure of how we would be able to climb it in a few days when just walking up the stairs proved difficult at the moment!
We headed to the town and aimlessly wandered until we found the local market- much like the market in Lima, there was beautiful displays of fresh fruit, gross meat and fish just on the counters but here there was a kind of peruvian food court too. The food was so cheap and I got a a vegetable empanada for 1 soles! It was such a great find! The rest of the afternoon we spent going in search of cuy (guinea pig) unfortunately we could only find it for sale for 35 soles which is about a tenner - which is expensive here. I was feeling worse and worse as the day progressed and we headed back to the hostel to watch the sunset on the terrace. The girls at the hostel informed us of a good cuy restaurant about 20 minute taxi ride away. The others made up a song on the terrace about cuy but I was feeling really awful so went to lie down.
I decided I couldn't go 20 minutes away and the others said we'd just go to a local place and pay a little more. We found a restaurant and decided we could only afford 1 cuy and 1 pizza between the 5 of us - the Boys faces dropped at the prospect of this. I felt so bad and said they should all go off to the cheap place. We decided to try somewhere else around the corner, and they offered cuy with a glass of wine for cheaper than the cheap place. The boys' faces lit up as they realised they could order a cuy each, me and the girls still weren't so sure so opted to share one. It came out looking like road kill with the head, teeth etc all still in place. It actually looked scared!! There wasn't much meat on it and I couldn't face having to gnaw the bones but they boys had a great time and even ate the testicals! (they were kidneys- tai)
We decided to come back to the hostel for some drinks. My eyes were still streaming and I thought I'd head to bed fairly early. Then the drinks started flowing and after many drinking games, farewell drinks (it was Matts last night with us) and drunk viber calls we eventually went to bed at around 2.30am!
We all woke up the following day feeling a little hazy, made the most of our free breakfast whilst looking out over misti volcano wondering how we would climb it in a couple of days! We decided we needed to see a bit more of Arequipa and headed to the main square and went to have a look inside the huge cathedral which spans one side of the square. We got a guide and she showed us around the inside - apparently the church had burnt down on 3 separate occasions and been rebuilt and had also been severely damaged from the effects of an earthquake. Our guide told us that there are earthquakes almost daily in Arequipa , sometimes you feel them and sometimes you don't, luckily there hasn't been any strong ones since we have been here. The best part of the tour was getting access to the roof where we could view all of arequipa - it was amazing we had awesome views of all the mountains and volcanos surrounding the city as well as fantastic views of the city itself. The lady who was doing the tour recommended a restaurant near by which did really good ceviche (a local dish of raw fish which is marinaded in lime juice) and so we decided to head there for lunch, Matt who was still feeling a bit worse for wear decided he couldn't stomach the raw fish and he probably made the right decision it was horrible and definitely not good for us after the night before. He then headed to the market for more food! That evening we just chilled at the hostel packing and getting ready for our early start of 2am the following morning for our hike into the colca canyon. We said our goodbyes to Matt as he was heading to cusco tonight and headed to bed for an early night.
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Mum on

OMG I feel queazy just reading about it!

Marion on

Ugh - would have thought that would be enough to turn you vegetarian again Tai...!

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