So far so good for this white girl in Peru. I had a bit of good luck to start my trip. I sat next to a great Peruvian woman from San Antonio, Sabrina, and her son on the plane ride into Lima. After our flight landed at 10:30pm, I ended up going with Sabrina and Jason and their cousins to another one of Sabrina´s cousins´60th birthday party. It was awesome. They sang, they danced, they sat around in a circle and told jokes, and they served awesome food. It was a good thing to see the Peruvian culture first-hand from the get-go. Very nice people; it was refreshing to see such a large group of family members gathered together, having fun, being close. I was super tired when I finally got to my hostel after 3am.
Manuel´s bday - Lima
Thanks to my new friend Nadia who took pictures
I spent Saturday exploring Lima and preparing for my 16 hour bus ride. Lima is okay, not the place I was looking forward to seeing most, and so I´m not bummed that I didn´t adore it. It´s a whole lotta city and not a whole lotta charm. Good and cheap food, though!
I checked out of my room in enough time to take a cab to the bus station to get my bus. I fell asleep as soon as I could in my seat, and when I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning, I looked out my window, and about two hundred feet away from me I saw huge waves breaking and folding up onto the beach. What a great surprise to wake up to! I spent the next three hours looking at the window at the water, on a road that quickly reminded me of Route 1 near Carmel, but with higher cliffs, closer drop-offs, worse drivers, and some breathtaking valleys. Those three hours of viewing that alone were worth the bus ticket. By the time I arrived Arequipa, mid-day Sunday, I was glad that I made it alive and glad that I got to see that part of Peru that I wouldn´t have if I hadn´t taken a bus.
Yes, this was taken from my bus window.
spraying his crops
Arequipa is exactly what I envisioned a beautiful, tranquil, old town in South America to be. Most of the buildings are spanish colonial, and the monastery I toured yesterday was built in the 1500´s. On top of that, in Arequipa´s backdrop stands three volcanoes, all of which are over 20,000 feet. It´s Peru´s second largest city, so there are a lot of restaurants, people, and nightlife. Some of which caters to tourists, although there aren´t that many tourists here now, but not enough where it doesn´t keep it´s natural feel. This is a place I would live, and I want to stay longer! My hotel is the former home of an archbishop, and it´s lovely.
Arequipa hotel entrance
View from center of town