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Arequipa, Peru.

Off we went Thursday morning on a short 1-car train across the border to Tacna, Peru.  We met an elder English/Australian couple along with a Swiss student on the train.  It was roughly 1.5 hrs of a ride before we got into Peru and cleared Customs there.  From there we shared a cab for $6 with the Swiss student to the bus terminal in Tacna.

The first thing we noticed there was how rough it looked.  Upon conferring with our Lonely Planet guidebook, we were instilled with fear over their warnings of petty theft.  So we quickly bought our tickets to Arequipa (for 35 Peruvian sols – roughly $12-14 CAD) – a 6 hr busride.  We then ate lunch  (Diablo Chicken for me) for $3 CAD at a little stand of to the side of the terminal.  From here we dropped our bags down, and hovered over them while awaiting our bus.  Two hours later when our bus arrived, we loved the fact we were at the top of the bus at the very front with a window overlooking the road… The bad part was the shattered glass of that windshield in front of us. When I went to sleep with my feet up I had to mind the fact I couldn’t put much pressure on the window for fear of it shattering all over us!  It was a view of two extremes: the dry rocky cliff side’s of the Western Andean mountains, and the dry dessert.

I slept most of the way, but was awake for 2 hours or so where I read Cradle of Gold to get me ready for the Incan experience.

We arrived in Arequipa just when it got dark.  Lonely Planet again scared the crap right out of us with it’s warnings on cabs, pretty much saying “Arequipa is sadly known for it’s frequent kidnappings of foreigners via fake taxi’s.  Thieves take unsuspecting travelers to the outskirts of town where they use force to deplete bank accounts via ATM’s”…

Well okay that sounds just dandy!… Dear Lonely Planet, how do we avoid such a mishap?

“To avoid such a thing, stick with well known taxi’s such as Texitel”…

Awesome…. so let me start off by saying EVERY TAXI has a company sign on it… NONE of these taxi’s stand out as any different from each other…

Secondly…. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TEXITEL on any taxi’s…

So I made a fast decision when 5 shady looking cat’s were hovering around us…. We jumped into a taxi labeled “Taxitel”.

Close enough… And yes, this was the safe one Lonely Planet was talking about… But dear Lonely Planet: I’m okay with misspelling of such things as Hostel Names, City Names, Restaurant Names…. But when it comes to one’s personal safety: GET THE FRICKEN THING RIGHT!!!

So off we went to get dropped off at Plaza da Armas (center of town) where we hiked for a short while to find a hostel.  We dropped our stuff out and went out to eat at a wonderful place called “Istanbul”… It had an amazing ambiance and was only $14 for an excellent meal, a cappuccino, and some beer.

After this we did a quick walk to take some night pics at Plaza da Armas.

Then we hit the hay early, and slept a good 10 hours.

Today we pretty much chilled out.  Walked around town, checking out the sights and scoping out Incan souvenirs.  We had pasta for lunch right behind the town church on a balcony.  After this we went for an hour long search for a Churro stand we saw on our way out this morning… I had dreams in my head all through lunch of this nice warm churro and the sugar rush that was bound to come with it.  Much to my dismay after we finally found it, IT WAS THE WORST CHURRO I HAD EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE!!! Limited sugar, hard, stale… it could barely lay claim to the label of a true “Churro.”

After this my afternoon was put off.  But we cheered up again when we got  back to our hostel by booking ourselves into a 2 day climb up to the peak of a volcano here called Misti. We leave for this climb 08:00 Sunday morning.  After completing the transaction we chatted up the cute receptionist (with Benito’s scattered Spanish…which she loved) about the clubs to hit up tonight… And it looks like we’re off to Deja Vu!

It’s time for me to have a Siesta! Adios!

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