Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Arequipa adventures with Liz and Chris

Viernes, 3 Octubre

After spending 10 hours in a bus overnight... I got to Arequipa at about 6am and went straight to the Liz and Chris' host family house. After a quick freshning up and breakky... we were out the door at 7:30.

We went straight to the GVI (the organisation that the Hughes' are volunteering with) head quarters and picked up the stuff needed for the day. From there it was on to the Colossium where all the Arequipenan schools were participating in the local dance competition. Victor Maldonaldo school was on at about 10am and until then we all sat around saving a space for the kids. The dance put on by the kids was fantastic... they did very well and even had a touch of humor to dance. Things started to wind down at about 1 in the afternoon and we left and headed to the Plaza de Armas....

We wandered around for a bit... found the best Churros in Arequipa... shopped in some of the secret markets... and went back for churros two more times. After we'd had our fill of the churros... we went to Alpaca mundo (world). It was a factory where they process Alpaca/ Llama wool and make garments. They had a few Alpacas and Llamas in a pen at the back... and Chris and myself promptly went in to feed them. Liz of course ran straight back out of the pen as soon at they came towards her when they saw she had food.

In the evening, Liz's host mum Martha had organised a dinner for us. Before dinner, both of Marthas grand daughters Geraldine and Melanie brought out their violins and played a couple of pieces for us. Both the girls are reaallllyy cute. Melanie absolutely adores Chris and calls him her Caballito (little pony). Some of the other volunteers who work with Liz were also invited and Martha put on quite a spread.

More photos from day 1 in Arequipa here...

Sabado, 4 Octubre
The plan for the day was to cycle down a 5000 meter Chachani mountain on mountain bikes.
All the aspiring mountain bikers... and the lazy ones (Liz and myself) were picked up from the HQ early in the morning and were driven up to the top of the mountain and geared up with elbow pads, knee pads and helmets. The start of the ride was ok... it wasn't that great.. but I managed to keep up with the group (sorta) and not fall of the bike. It was pretty scary coming down the mountain because it was a really bumpy ride (I'm still sore) and there was plenty of rocks on the way down that you could not help but go over. After about an hour an a half of riding downhill, we came across a few sandy patches which were quite hard to cycle through. Knowing that the van was not far behind us, I looked ahead at the 3km uphill stretch and decided to give up. I decided I had enough of physical exercise in the past few weeks and so I stood by the side of the track and then joined Liz ... who was already in the van. We rode the van behind the rest of mountain bikers down for about an hour and a half before we reached asphalt and decided it was safe enough to get back on the bikes again. I have to say though... for this 40 min or so stretch... all you really need to know is how to brake and balance on a bike. No other skills needed. There was no pedalling involved as it was all downhill..... and I enjoyed this bit of the ride.

In the evening, it was dinner with some of the GVI volunteers at this really really yummy Mexican joint just off the Plaza de Armas. After dinner... it was on to drinks and karaoke. Chris and Debra were really hanging on to go for karaoke and after a drink at another local place we finally made it to Daddy-Os. Chris of course doesn't need any encouragement... and picked out "Its my life- Bon Jovi" from a vast list of mostly Spanish songs. He worked the floor and got a table of young Peruvians to join in the chorus. This won him a round of Pisco drinks... which I then proceeded to down with Debra. We hung around for a little while longer, danced to Groupo 5 .. who apparently are really big out here and then headed home for a nights rest.

Check out Chris' recap of the day here....
And then click here for the rest of the photos from the day.....

Domingo, 5 Octubre
Woke up at 7:30 to everything shaking around me. I probably shouldn't say this because Mum will worry... but I will anyway... it was an earthquake tremor. Me being me... in my sleep.. I thought.. oh.. earthquake tremor.. someone will wake me up if necessary and I just went straight back to sleep. It only lasted about 30 seconds... and don't worry Mum... it is actually pretty common in Arequipa and we're completely fine. Liz and Chris even slept right through it.

After a little bit of a sleep in, we decided to go into town to have crepes for breakfast. We managed to make it in at about 10 am and I had the best banana and nutella crepe ever at ZigZags. I went on to check out the Santa Catalina Monastery next. The Santa Catalina Monastery was begun in 1579/ 1580, forty years after the city was founded. The monastery was enlarged over the centuries until it became a city within the city, about 20000 sq./m. and covering a good sized city block. At one time, 450 nuns and their lay servants resided within the community, closed off from the city by high walls. I wandered around and took lots of photos for 2 hours and then headed back to the GVI HQ where I was meeting the rest of the gang for white water rafting.

We were driven about 20 minutes away to Rio Chile where we were geared up and given a quick 15 minute lesson on the dos and do nots for rafting. It was soooooooooooo much fun. There was 9 of us.. so we were off in two rafts. The rapids that we went through ranged from grade 1 to grade 4. The scenery was fantasic and the guide we had with us was amazing too. We even had a stop for a quick drink of water and some chocolate. We started off at the lower grade rapids and finished with grade 4. We even went down a 4 mt waterfall .... and we had no casulaties.

After rafting and changing into dry clothes.. I still had about 3 hours to kill before heading back to Cusco. So we all ended up going to the Gluten festival.... and boy was it a gluten festival. Some of the other vols were game enough to try the barbequed corazon (heart).. but Liz and me stuck to food we could identify. We even had more crepes to finish off the day.. this time chocolate icecream and frambuesas (raspberries)... yumm!

Rest of the photos from Santa Catalina Monastery and Rafting here...


Cruz said...

..........OCTOBER 10 LYN.........
Down the memory lane .. October 10.
October 10 in India
October 10 in Muscat.Recall 10 on 10.10
October 10 in Australia
October 10 in Boston
October 10 Sailing together.. Atlantic Ocean on your 21st Birthday. B52 official drink that day.
October 10 in Peru.........We missed you today. Over the years your birthday in different continents /different styles. Love you....Happy Birthday Lyn

leonora said...

Hi Lyn went through yr blog. it was interesting. you sure are having a great time. happy birthday.leonora

Royce said...

Hey Lyn, it was nice talking to you after a along time. Absolutely love what you doing. It takes wonderful things to make a cousin like you, generous and kind to name a few. Once again wishing u a very happy birthday and may all your dreams come true.

Ralph said...

Hi Lyn,
Happy birthday it was nice talking to you.Hope you are enjoying your birthday in Peruvian style.Its nice to see what you are doing for those youg children.Bye for now .We will pray that you enjoy the remaning part of your vacation.