The last entry was not from La Paz as I think it states... actually from Lima, appologies!
Sorry again for the enormous delay. As I sit here, In rurrenbaque (an Amazon jungle town) with only 2 weeks left of the trip, I realise how much stuff we´ve managed to cram into the last 3 months. This week alone I´ve swum with pink river dolphins, seen aligators, been anaconda hunting, pirana fishing and even ziplining. It´s odd to think that this time last year (and probably this time next year urgh) my mind was full of exams and school and revision. Now, it couldnñt be futher away. I last wrote high from the euphoria of completely the last trek. Unfortunately for me, that was 5 weeks ago and so there´s a lot of catching up to do....
Arequipa was actually a really cool city, and when we weren´t being soaked (and therefore the most unnatracive we´ve been all trip) thanks to loval boys going crazy in carnival season, the plaza d¨armas was fairly picturesque. We headed to a monastry/nunnery which was pretty beautiful really, though a little worrying. Our japanese guide told us about hierarchy in the monastry - very UNchristian things - and girls admitted through fear of marriage to old men.
That night Matilda, Wilson and me went off to a happening local club called Zoom and it all got a bit messy. The alitude affected my heavy wieght title big time and I suffered the next day on our way to.....
- Colca Canyon
I didn´t leace the bus once during the 20 or so stops on the guide and so am fairly uneducated when it come to its history. The buffet lunch too proved to be a bit much and I wasn´t really responsive at all until late afternoon when we made our way to hot springs.Turns out the steamy water, sprite and foot massages (thanks Darren) are the perfect hangover cure. The hot springs are outdoor and BOILING. Pretty lovely.
That night we went out for a special tourist dinner and we re thrust into audience participation. Most of us were pulled up to dance and Darren was given the pleasure of cross dressing. A little too convincingly.
The next day we made our way back to Arequipa and stopped off at some Inca graves and saw the canyon properly. Some tourists, our group included, were overly excited by the prospect of condors. They were just big birds as far as I could tell.
- Lake Titicaca
If you imagine Lake Titicaca to look like your average lake, you are very much mistaken. I was certain that it was actually the sea. It is perhaps 60km wide (I cant remember exact distance) and almost as long. We took your typical boat across to the first island. It was, still is probably, made completely of reeds and incredibly picturesque. The women are all dressed in beautiful, bright outfits and they sell homemade crafts and what not. We then hopped back on the boat to the island on which we were to stay. We were split into houses and hurried off by our island mothers where we were fed local cuisine. Shortly after met up with everyone once again to climb to the top of a special pre inca ceremonial site. You have to walk around the walls 3 times and then make a wish. Matilda wished for George Clooney. Chinks wished for world peace.
That night there was another special dance for the tourists (they like their dancing here). We dressed up like locals and ran around alot. Fairy surreal.
- Cusco & Spanish School
Cusco is called the party capital of Peru and for good reason. We arrived on Amandas birthday after a guided tour through Inca land. After Engish pub food (real macoy) we explored the nightlife. Turns out that clubs really want white girls in their bars and so we managed to score free salsa lessons and free drinks. Cusco looked good.
Monday marked the beginning of Spanish school and my birthday. BY this time we were staying with our families and ours was amazing. They had worked out it was my birthday and so had bought me a personalised chocolate cake. I was so happy! Spanish school was also pretty good. We were in groups this time, not one on one like in Quito, so it was little less intense. Dinner was great too. We headed back to the real macoy, ate roast dinner and did a pub quiz. Matilda and Chinks had created tirraras, party girl cups, streamers, balloons and had bought the foulest Pisco they could find. The start of a messy, messy night!
The rest of the week was great too. We saw plenty of Inca ruins and did a real city tour. Staying with the fams was fun too - we ate with them and tried to chat in spanish. They were so cool. No curfew made them very, very popular!
At the weekend we headed to the Sacred valley and saw loads more incresible Inca feats.
- Trek Numero Dos!
I approached the second trek with a lot more confidence than the previous one. Sure, we were carrying more stuff and cooking ourselves, but we were walking less miles and had the promise of Machu Pichu at the end. Day 1 and the first half of day 2 were really fun. even the difficult uphill to the highest point felt good. But then the heavens opened and the downhill wasn´t quite as satisfying. Everything was wet. Me, my clothes, our tent, the ground was muddy. In the end it was a relief to make it to Aguas Calientes. We´d made it through flooding, landslides and wading through rivers with collapsed birdges so the site of a hostal however basic was well recieved. The next day we were up at 4.30 to get to Machu Pichu. It was so surreal to finally be there after all the hype. Having recently purchased cheesy group tsirts, we posed at every point. Some of us decided to climb Wyna Pichu, the hill behind Machu Pichu for a better view. It was a gruelling, sweaty climb but the site was worth it. Cue more cheesy pictures. This time red and sweaty and tired!
That afternoon we sought out the real Aguas Calientes and soaked aching limbs for hours in the hot springs.
And so now I am back in La Paz, having just returned from the jungle. Waiting to see if Pitchy will get in touch and come visit me. So far in La Paz we have explored the markets and cinema. The witches market is complete with potions for everything, love, curses, health, llama foetuses decorate the stalls. Pretty cool. We visited a coca museum which was so interesting! Have also managed to purchase various hideous hoodies, jumpers, trousers and gifts. You know you´re loved if one comes your way :)
See you all very soon, take care :D