Lima, Peru

The bus ride from Cusco was 27 hours, mostly comfortable, but uneventful.  We reached the Pacific Ocean again, my first time since my transfer in Antofagasta ages ago!  Seeing the Pacific always brings me a flood of feelings – a few thousand more kilometres up the coast, and it’s home.  Only having two weeks left in the trip…that makes home seem a lot closer.

Silvia and Óscar have been planning to head up through South and Central America to Mexico, and I seriously thought about joining them to Colombia, at least.  I’ve had such a pleasant few days with them (and Marlies and Flo) that I really wanted to just keep going with them!  (Marlies and Flo ended their trip in Lima.)  Knowing that Lima would be my final two days with them, after almost six weeks- half my trip!- of intermittent contact, made me quite depressed.  So I spent the bus doing some Colombia research, resolving to change my flights and work some magic… Continue reading

Sacred Valley, Peru

After a terrible (but cheap) bus from Arequipa to Cusco, I fell sick.  Ack!  The full cama was a lie – we didn’t even have semi.  While Silvia, Óscar, and Flo ran off to plan out our passage to Machu Picchu, I hung out for the afternoon with Marlies (who also stayed behind at the hostel to sleep more).  With a stomach bug, walking wasn’t very fun, nor was eating – I did run into Matt and Tess (Salta, Tupiza) though!  Turns out they had just recovered from some food poisoning of their own…

Everything in Peru so far has been money money money.  We skipped most of the churches and museums in Arequipa because they were asking for so much, but this problem was even more apparent in Cusco.  (Wanna enter a cathedral?  25 soles…$10!)  Covered in tourists of all types, and not just the backpacker – plenty of flag-waving Japanese groups, old Americans dragging heaps of stuff…these people are willing and able to pay for everything, which kinda makes things difficult for the budget-conscious. Continue reading

Arequipa, Peru

Other than a change of currency that I’m still not used to, and turning back the clock one hour (take that, Daylight Saving Time), the border crossing from Bolivia to Peru was uneventful and easy.  Arriving in Puno (a bit of an ugly city, but known for its connection to the Islas Flotantes, an extremely commercialised and touristic but interesting detour that I opted to skip) for a 15 minute connection to my bus to Arequipa, though…hectic.  After getting on the bus, people started openly complaining, which was a new and awkward experience for me – more than a few Peruvians were banging on the windows and stamping on the floor, yelling “HORA!  VAMOS!” – and we were only 15 minutes late!  Not a particularly great first impression of a country.  They repeated their complaining everytime we picked up a hitchhiker.

Arriving in Arequipa late at night without a hostel, I teamed up with the only other backpacker on the bus – Joachim from Austria.  Following our guidebooks, we settled in quickly and went to grab some dinner…Pizza Hut.  Heh. Continue reading