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PERU | Tuesday, 30 September 2008 | Views [1416]

After a long and very winding night bus, sustained only by the wonders of peanuts and rum and coke we arrived in Arequipa, a gorgeous colonial town in Southern Peru. It's nicknamed the white city as the majority of the building are made of a lovely white stone called sillar.

I have to admit we were pretty wasted getting off the bus ... Claire managed some sleep but the constant twists in the road as we ascended 2000m was a bit much for me so I wasn't in full flight.

We got a taxi (nothing special about this one I'm afraid) to the Plaza de armas  (all towns in peru seem to have a central square called this) and then strolled up to our selected hostel which only had an expensive room with a bonus free broken toilet so we passed on it and looked for another. There are tons of hostels so we quickly found another and had a well deserved shower and change of clothes after being offered a 75 sol room with 5 beds, then a 65 sol room with 3 beds until we got a 40 sol room with 2 which was just right. The power of bargaining!

Having had such an activity based week, including the aerial tour of the Nasca lines which we weren't expecting to do, we thought it was high time we had a day off from all this having fun business. A wander around the town with its beautful cathedral which faces the quare, kind of the wrong way round (sideways rather than "frontways"), a welcome pizza for lunch, a long siesta and then a very early night after a nice argentenian meal. Not more to it than that but god did we need it.

Awoke refreshed for a bit more of an involved stroll, starting with the central market which is an amazing place. Every type of fruit you could imagine plus a load more that you cant piled high to the ceiling, butchers selling hoof, head, bollock and all. Most interesting, or bizarre were the natural health shops which sold of all things Llama foetuses, the purpose of which escapes me, i think it mught be fertility, and my personal favourite, frog juice (jugo de ranas). I had to enquire how and why.

SO there is a tank of live frogs from which, when a juice is ordered, a few are taken out and cleaned. The they are stuck in a blender whole and live and the lucky customer is furnished with a glass of the liquidised stuff. Im not sure whether it comes with a straw or not. Apparantley its very good for the stress and all sorts of ailments of the brain. So all you city types stressing about the credit crunch - it could be worse, you could be prescribed frog juice instead of Diazepan or valium!

Had a lovely takeout lunch of empandas, sort of latino pasties and then continued to wander. We werent too lucky, the musuem was closed (to straighten the pictures - I love it!) and we were a bit too late to visit the convent-city. So we went to the tour outfit that had been recommended to us to arrange our trek in colca canyon, and it was closed too.

Hey ho its too nice a place to get stressed about, plus I know where to go to get a cure so it's fine!

Fingers crossed Pablotours will be open again this evening and if it is we will be in the canyon for a few days trakking but will send an update later.

Tags: colonial, frog juice, llama, market, museum

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