Day 53: Alcohol Free Day

Fri. 5th October 2012

Arequipa It was very difficult getting to sleep as our overnight bus felt like it was making its way up and down rough and windy roads. Eye masks and ear plugs may have kept the Eddy Murphy film at bay but did not stop us from being bounced about in our reclining seat on the upper deck. The curtains of the bus were shut and as it was dark, we had no way of knowing what terrain we were passing through.

The roads appeared to improve at about 1am and some of us managed to sleep until the music and lights were switched on at 7am, half an hour before we arrived at Arequipa bus station. By now the sun had risen and we could see the terrain was still desert like but also revealed snow covered mountains in the distance.

Main Plaza, ArequipaThis was soon replaced with houses as we entered the outskirts of Arequipa and the rush hour traffic. It is impossible to work out who has priority on the road as it seems everyone squeezes their vehicle into any available space (or make a space for themselves if one does not exist!) and beeps their horn to announce their presence.

A short (but not quick) trip on a second bus takes us into the centre and our hotel. Shiry, our guide, can see 16 tired faces so takes us to the local creperie for our sugar and caffeine intake for breakfast. The oranges for our juices are squeezed by hand so we did not envy the waiter that job. He made about 1o juices before giving up and making the rest of us pineapple juice, from freshly chopped fruit, in a blender.

Llama in the ParkThe rest of the day we have been instructed by Shiry to rest, no alcohol or caffeine and drink 3 litres of water to acclimatise to the altitude, as Arequipa is at 2,300 m above sea level and we will be going higher tomorrow.

We decide to have a leisurely stroll around town visiting the Main Plaza, Sunset over ArequipaRio Chilli river and  Selva Alegre Park. The first two are picturesque but the park was full of untended flower beds which I am sure were quite impressive a year or two ago. There were even three llamas grazing there.

The sunset from our hotel room was quite pretty with the Dome of the Santa Catalina Monastery standing out in the skyline.

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