Air in Arequipa

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
El Pasado de Castillo

Flag of Peru  , Arequipa,
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So we finally decided to cut our losses and leave Cusco without visiting Machu Picchu. In retrospect it was a good decision as we have just heard on the radio that Machu Picchu and the Inka Trail will be closed for the next 60 days to repair the damage caused by the flooding. We are also very grateful for our safe return down from the Lares valley as we have also just heard that an Argentinian and his guide were killed by a landslide a couple valleys away from us.

So, in an attempt to escape the rain and equally important, the altitude, we decided to skip Lake Titicaca and make our way to the dryer and more oxygen-rich city of Arequipa. We decided to treat ourselves and puchased a firstclass bus ticket for the ten hour overnight trip (still only $40). However, despite the almost fully-reclinable plush leather seats the ride was far from pleasant. The road from Cusco to Arequipa resembled a very bumpy dirt path more than a highway connecting two of Peru's largest cities. For almost the entire ride we were rocking and rolling, sometimes to the point where it felt like the bus was going to tip. We each managed to sleep a couple of hours and spent the remaining time moving our bodies from side to side to balance the bus. We should be considered heros as I'm almost certain our actions prevented a roll-over.

We arrived in Arequipa at 6:30 and were lucky to check-in right away to our inn (a really cool place in an old Peruvian mansion run by a Dutch guy and his Peruvian wife). They even gave us breakfast, which was soooo nice after such a long bus ride.

After some rest we headed out to see the city. Our firt impression was its incredible natural beauty. The city rests in a bowl surrounded by what looks like a volcano and snow-capped mountains that rise to over 6000 m. With respect to the city itself, it feels a lot more modern and European than both Lima and Cuscu. We spent most of the day walking the streets of the city centre but didn't have the desire to go into any of the tourist attractions. What stood out the most about Arequipa the was how friendly everyone was.

Despite our enjoyment of the city we are now shopping around for another adventure into the Andes. Its amazing how quickly you forget how bad you felt in the high altitude once you get back down to an oxygen-rich environment. Or maybe we like the pain!!?? Anyway, we'll let you know about our decision in our next entry. The only thing that is certain is that our intended route through South America is changing fast.
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Arlene on

You are heros for preventing a massive bus roll-over! This is eerily reminiscent of our near catastrophe with a golf cart at Tory's wedding... I almost broke my toe but probably saved five lives. It's really amazing how selfless we can be when we are called on to act.

Bless you both.

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