December 27, 2009
Upon arriving in Arequipa at 5AM, Elaine and I decide to share a taxi (after much debate “Is this sketch?” “Hmm I think this one es bien”) with the policeman we previously met at the Ica bus station. We request to get dropped off at the Plaza de Armas, but the policeman, Lucho, worries for our safety in a place where robberies are common in the wee hours of the morning. He invites us to spend a few hours at his casa, until we figure out our next move.
After much debate (“Is this sketch? “Hmm I think this one es bien”), Elaine and I decide this is our safest option and en route to his casa we go! Lucho knocks on his door at 5AM, and his very cute and very confused wife welcomes us with open arms. She sets up a room for Elaine and I to rest, makes us breakfast and chats with us (well chats with Elaine as I blankly stare and smile, once again wishing I had paid more attention in Spanish class).
We end up spending the entire day with the family, who show us around town, graciously cook us amazing meals and even set up my very first bucket bath! Btw, bucket baths are great ways to conserve water (Elaine swears she will continue doing this upon her return to Austin) while showering and are almost as much fun as those oh-so chaotic bathtimes from childhood. YAY nostalgic showers down memory lane 🙂
After an amazing day with the familia, Elaine and I decide to take them out to dinner, excited for our first meal out in Arequipa! Where do we go? Pizza hut! Not quite what we were expecting, but looooove it!
After spending the night with the familia, we decide to head out on Christmas Eve to Chivay, a pretty little mountain village three hours away from the city. Naturally, this was a bumpy three hour bus ride and I had to pee. Fun times. Elaine and I arrive in the afternoon, get settled and spend Christmas Eve at the local market, buying gifts and teaching Elaine how to bargain (“Be fierce Elaine, you can dooo it!!”).
For Christmas Day, I show Elaine the Jew way: Go hiking, because we will have the trails all to ourself (perfect for peeing without fear of someone happening upon us)! We spend the day hiking 10 miles along Colca de Canyon, to the different villages in the area. Luckily for us, we brought bread and bananas (which sadly usually comprises approximately one meal per day for Elaine and I, and hence both of our weight loss on this trip), as all restaurants were closed for Christmas! Directly after our streneous hike, Elaine and I hit the hot springs for an hour of relaxation and fun. Too bad we left our towels back in Arequipa…
After arriving back at our hostel, Elaine and I head to bed at about 9pm (ya, we´re that cool), covering ourselves with 6 blankets and wearing literally everything we brought with us! I thought we came to Peru during their summer….porque hace frio?!?
The next morning, Elaine and I buy a 9:30AM ticket for the bus that never came. What did come was the 12:30PM bus, in which everyone from the 9:30bus and all those on the real 12:30 bus try to rush on in one mad push. Once again with my UT references, this reminded me of the E-bus stop at 2:30AM, after the bars close. At least this time, no one was puking.
We end up catching a bus four hours later at 1PM and once again eating bananas and bread for lunch. Want to lose weight? Go on the South-America-buses-are-not-puncuntual-and-therefore-make-you-eat-bananas-and-bread-in-lieu-of-a-real-meal Diet. Works like a charm 😉
Por fin, we arrive at our familia´s house and as soon as we walk in they feed us a proper meal of Chupe de Camarones, a shrimp chowder. Me encanta mi familia Peruana!!