Monday, December 28, 2009

Colca Canyon Trekking

Very early Monday morning, 4am to be exact, we loaded a bus and headed to Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world. It is over 10,000 feet deep at the deepest part. We arrived in the little town of Cabanaconde and started hiking around 10am. After a long 4 hour hike down, down, down, 4,000 feet down into the canyon we arrived at a nice little hostel in San Juan. de Chucho. It was a quiet little pueblo where not much has changed in the last 200 years. Small terraced fields are worked by hand, irrigation water delivered in shallow channels, and cooking is done on a wood oven. Electricity arrived about 10 years ago, but is only used for lights (and a TV in the kitchen) J The next day we hiked down the canyon through 2 other small pueblos, and into the town of Sangalle, better known as the “Oasis”. It is a little island of palm trees and hostels fed by a natural warm spring coming out of the canyon wall. Our little hostel had a swimming pool and a nice lawn to relax on. There is no electricity yet, so dinner was by candle light. After a good nights rest, we got up at 4:30 am, so we could be on the trail by 0500 before the sun reached our part of the canyon. This time it was up, up, up, 4,000 feet up. We made it in just over 3 hours. After breakfast, we took a bus to Chivay and enjoyed a dip in the 104 degree hot springs to sooth the sore muscles. Ahhhhh, so nice.

Rock Climbing

Dan, Syndey, and I went rock climbing one afternoon. After about a 10 minute taxi ride and a short 5 minute walk, we arrived at a nice rock face just above the Chile River. The climbing guide set 3 ropes and courses for us. Dan impressed the climbing guide by making it up all 3 routes. They even took one rope down and let Dan lead climb to put it back up. This was new for Dan. Sydney and I didn’t quite make it up to the top, but we had a lot of fun truing. Our hands and shoulders were a little sore the next day.

Life is a Beach!!

Mom and Dad Linnell, Daniel and his girlfriend Sydney, and Dawn all arrived in Arequipa on Monday, December 14th. We took a bus tour around the city on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, we took off for the beach in Mejia. The people that run the language school let us use their beach house, which is just a couple of blocks off the beach. We took walks a couple of times a day, read books, caught up on sleep, played Frisbee, and chased sand crabs. The weather was hot and the water was cold. Everyone got a little sun burn. Came home Saturday afternoon to get ready for the next adventure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peruvian Wedding

The Alvarado family, our host family while we were in language school, invited us to the city of Tacna for their son’s wedding the weekend of December 5th. Again, we had the option of bus or plane. We wanted to try the bus since it was only a 6 hour trip each way. We actually enjoyed the ride, with movies, bingo, snacks, and lots of time to read. Denise got to yell BINGO, and won a free bus ride for a future trip. In Tacna, the family reserved space for us in Hotel Holiday Suites. We spent the day Saturday walking around the Tupoc market where you can find clothing and household items. Bargaining didn’t seem to be acceptable, but everything was pretty inexpensive, even by Peruvian standards. We happened to find a few Christmas gifts.

Saturday night we walked to the church for the wedding. Very traditional, catholic wedding...started an hour late. Andres and Karla were lovely. They had a madrino and padrino stand up with them as their sponsors. Then on to the reception. The wedding guests boarded a two story bus for the ride around town and on to the restaurant outside of the city, La Italiana. We arrived about 9:30 pm and had a few housdoerves, a few toasts, and finally a full dinner about midnight. After dinner, the dancing started and the real fun began. Denise and I and another north american couple decided to call it quits about 2am, and we hear the party lasted until 4am. Sunday morning was a little quiet and slow to rise. We sadly said goodbye and headed back to Arequipa after a fun filled weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving

Ahh, a few days off, so we decided to go to Lima and Spend Thanksgiving with Dawn. The choice was bus or plane. A 15 hour ride each way on the bus or 1 ½ hour flight up and back. We choose to fly. The first stop was a grocery – the cupboards were bare! Dawn asked for chicken enchiladas and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Though a little burnt on the bottom (gas ovens are difficult here – just one setting is usually available – full blast) they were delicious. Dawn invited Itamar, the accountant in the office and one of her English students. Also Itamar’s son, Ismael, came to lunch with us. We ate our way through the rest of the visit, stuffed chicken, spaghetti, and a visit to a restaurant for sushi. One outing was to a local park for the magic fountain displays. In the eveing the lazer lights are just beautiful, a must for a visitor to the area. Dawn also had laser eye surgery on Friday and is now recovering nicely. We were also able to visit Dawn’s church which is an hour bus trip across Lima. It was a beautiful service with an amazingly talented group of musicians leading the worship. All too soon, we returned to Arequipa with a 6am flight (who booked that flight so early, anyways?!?) on Monday morning after Thanksgiving.