It’s almost as if the snow-capped mountain is keeping watch over the city. You can see it from just about anywhere you are in Arequipa.
We arrived here yesterday exhausted after our Cial bus experience. One of the many travel agents at the bus station saw us as easy prey. She kindly invited us in to her shop and asked us if we have booked accommodation in Arequipa yet.
When we told her we have not yet booked anything she told us that all the places in the city are booked out due to a mining conference and our only option is to book at some fancy hotel. The hotel costs $150 (American dollars) per person per night. She said she knows it is a bit expensive but unfortunately this is our only option. We showed her the names of places which are recommended in our travel book. She phoned (or perhaps pretended to phone) three other places and they all told her in Spanish that they are fully booked.
It was busy in Arequipa and there was a mining conference but we did manage to find a reasonable place to stay for $25 for the room, including breakfast for both of us.
One of the main attractions near Arequipa is the Colca Canyon. We were planning to go there to stay at Chivay or Cabanaconde on our way to Cuzco but we found out yesterday that the busses don’t travel to Cuzco that way. We would have to travel the 6 hours there and then travel back to Arequipa to catch a bus to Cuzco. So we have decided to rather go directly to Cuzco and spend some more time there. We have booked our bus tickets from Arequipa to Cuzco for tonight. This time we booked with Cruz del Sur again. Ain’t nobody got time for dirty and stinky busses.
I don’t have too much to report back on our 2 days in Arequipa. There are a lot of restaurants and big malls here. The old churches and buildings built by the Spanish in the sixteen hundreds are beautiful but many are very dilapidated. The mountain with it’s white, crystal icing is my favourite part of walking in the city.
Oh, I almost forgot the most exciting parts. When we were in South Africa speaking about llamas in America, I said I want to hug a llama and Marc said he wants to eat a llama. Yesterday we ate alpaca (which is almost like llama) stir-fry. Today we went to a place which had llamas and alpacas and I hugged a llama. The llama was not too keen on being hugged. I do feel bad eating alpaca. They are too cute. I’m hoping it was not real alpaca because it tasted like beef.