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Andy and Sophie Peru 2008

Colca Canyon and Arequipa cont.

PERU | Tuesday, 22 July 2008 | Views [640]

After our least favourite bus journey so far (they say three hours, they dont say you turn a corner every thirty seconds), we arrived in another dusty little town - Chivay (pr. chiv-iiiiiiii!), apparently the capital of the region, and at the head of the Colca Canyon. The surrounding scenary was stunning with huge mountains stretching up around the town in every direction; the town itself was not so picturesque! We boarded our first mototaxi (think rickshaw with minimum engine power) and made our way to Hospedaje Rumi Wasi, and after banging on the gate for awhile as there was apparently no door, a kind man let us in and showed us to our room. Although colder than outside, Lonely Planet wasnt lying when they told us the rooms were impecably clean! We were slightly disappointed that the grazing alpacas in the courtyard we had been promised were absent though!

Sophie wasnt feeling very well, so we decided to have a chilled day, went to an Irish pub for lunch and made our way in another mototaxi 3 km out of town to the natural hot springs. Although we were expecting a couple of holes in the grounds, this actually consisted of a full on resort with five swimming pools of naturally bath-hot water, surrounded by a cafe, bar, massage hut (although the man did look INCREDIBLY sketchy), all sat right on the edge of the beautiful river with mini waterfalls and rapids. We spent the whole afternoon there enjoying the hot water and bar, before making our way home. Problem, we hadnt quite thought the return journey through. With no taxis at the pools, only a vast array of tour buses, we had no choice but to start walking the road back into town, hoping that maybe a taxi would stop for us on the way. Due to the altitude we couldnt walk too quickly, but it was quickly getting dark and we werent too keen to be stranded in the countryside as night fell. On route we stopped briefly to take some photos of the canyon, before continuing until Andy psychically knew to check that the sunglasses case we had put our money in was still in the bag. It wasnt. About half way home, we turned around to walk back to the pools, avoiding the speedy buses as they went past. Now in the dark, we found the spot we had stopped at to take photos and by complete chance Sophie looked down to find the case at her feet. So we commenced the third trip along the dusty road, now in complete darkness, and tried in vain to flag down a few tourist buses. Taking pity on us, one bus did stop and drove us back into the town, by which time the temperature had dropped below zero.

Exhausted from the day and with Sophie still not feeling well, we had a quick dinner and early night. The following morning, Sophs was still feeling dizzy and faint so we decided to go back to Arequipa instead of heading further into the canyon to Cabanaconde, thus avoiding a five hour bus journey. Full of hope, we turned up at the bus station and tried to find a bus, and thankfully only had to wait a couple of hours. Sophie was feeling slightly better from drinking Gatorade and nibbling on bananas (all of which she had so far managed to keep down) we amused some local kids by playing cards. We thought they just wanted to play with us - really they wanted cigarettes (apparently everyone here beleives all Europeans smoke!). Our bus arrived and we were soon back in Arequipa. Our taxi dropped us off a street or so away from the hostel, so we walked back. On route, however, Sophies memory clearly seemed to remember being sick on this street a few days previously, and again she decided to empty her stomach contents. Don´t say we don´t learn, though; this time we were fully equiped with the notorious "sickbag".

The following day (Sunday), with Sophie having been throwing up, feeling dizzy and nauseous and having severe diarrhoea for almost a week, we found the only English speaking doctor working in the city on a sunday, who kindly took us to his clinic, where we spend the next few hours. We left with a prescription for a cocktail of drugs, along with a hefty bill!

On monday, Andy got up early to go rafting on Rio Chili with a group of other tourists, bombing their way down class 4 rapids. Sophie was feeling much better immeadiately and in the afternoon we left Arequipa to head over to Puno, a city on the side of Lake Titicaca. More from there.......


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