I said goodbye to my host family last night. They said they were really happy to have me there. I hope I didn’t give them too much trouble. I wish I could spend more time with them to practise Spanish but my Spanish was not good enough to converse. I still needed to think before I could say anything. They also said if I came to Arequipa again, I should visit them. I said that would be next week. Haha! 😜 I gave them some presents – the chocolates from La Iberica and a postcard from home. They were very happy and my host mother hugged me very tightly. They also called a taxi for me to pick me up from their house to the hostel though it was only two blocks away. They said it would be dangerous for me to walk at 3am on a Saturday night, well, Sunday morning, because there were many drunkards. It was a very rush goodbye because the principal of the school only told me on Saturday morning that I had to leave that night for the trip. My host family was expecting me to spend two more days with them after my Colca Canyon trip but somehow the plan was changed and I don’t remember why. I just remembered I didn’t request for the change.
I woke up at 2:20am. I had stomach upset. (Again!) Tomorrow should be better. When I was wearing my socks, I thought I heard the bell ring so I immediately got my backpack but it was so dark that I couldn’t even find the key holes to unlock the doors. I managed to do it in the end but it took me too long. It was before 3:05am when I was at the main gate of the house. I think I either missed the taxi or the taxi was late. I saw some taxis in front of the gate so I asked the drivers. But none were for me. It was 3:15am. The tour bus would be there soon. So I took the courage, opened the gate again (there was a homeless man sleeping right beside our main gate) and ran to the hostel.
Actually, the street that the house was located was like a pub street. It had a few bars and discos so it was always very noisy at night. I couldn’t sleep well on my first night even with the windows closed. It was very very dusty as well. Even with the windows closed, the dust could still come in. I was quite surprised how polluted Arequipa was. I put my computer on my desk beside the window and it got all the dust at the end of the day. Arequipa looked very clean. There was no rubbish in any of the streets I went to. The most surprising thing was there was no sign of rubbish bins either. That was why I thought it was a clean city and people living there were very disciplined. I still wonder where all that dust comes from.
Anyway, I saw the tour bus waiting for me outside the hostel and I quickly put my bag in the storage room at the hostel, ‘es todo?’ I answered, ‘si’ and then left with the bus.
The tour bus collected some other passengers. There was a family. Three more people. The bus stopped at a lookout and gave us some time to see the condors. I didn’t see any but the view was spectacular!
It was very sunny. You can see the blue sky with only a bit of clouds in my photo.
The bus stopped at a point. The driver told me to wait for my guide there. But where was my guide? No one knew. There was a tour guide sitting there waiting for some people but he wasn’t my guide and he didn’t know anything about my guide. The bus driver was very helpful. He called the tour company. At least, he didn’t just drive away. I went back on the bus cos it was very sunny and hot.
Finally, the guide appeared. He was on another bus. Then a big group of travellers appeared also. There were seven of us. An old French couple, a young couple from the US and Panama, and a pair of Canadian and Italian guys. I believed they met on the road.
I greeted the Italian guy in Italian, ‘come stai?’ He was a bit surprised, ‘you have learnt Italian? Where did you learn it?’ I answered, ‘Google translate.’
The walk (downhill) took me more than 3 hours to finish. My knees hurt so much. That night, we stayed at a very basic farm house. I didn’t know if there were any shower facilities. There was a dog at the farm house. It looked so dirty that I didn’t want to touch it. It just roamed around there and I didn’t know if it was owned by the farm house.
When we were having lunch, the dog came to our table to look for food. I tried to avoid it but it stood beside me. It had been everywhere and it was a bit wet too. Suddenly, it started shaking its body furiously. All the water (and fleas maybe) splashed on me. I covered my plate with my hand and screamed and leaned towards the Canadian traveller who was sitting beside me. He was shocked by my reaction. He didn’t see the dog. I pointed at the dog and explained. The Italian guy sitting on my left then said to the dog, ‘oh, I only paid you a dollar to get some meat from this girl but you did more than that.’ LOL!
It started to rain in the afternoon after we finished our lunch. There was nothing to do here. I’d say it was a place that was in the middle of nowhere. I had a chat with the old French couple. They seemed to be very understanding and they were not arrogant at all (I worked at a French company before I went on this trip). I forgot which part of France they were from though. I had a feeling that they were very accomplished but they didn’t brag about their achievements.
One thing good about staying in a farm house like this was there was no noise pollution. The noise came from nature, like the birds. When the dogs didn’t bark and when the birds didn’t sing, it was very tranquil. It was so nice. I could have a nice sleep.
16 December 2012
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