love, south american style

we’re here in arequipa after the longest day ever. we got up at 3:30 am on the morning of the 20th to got see the sunrise over machu picchu. we got back to cusco that evening at 9:00pm, hopped on a bus to puno at 10pm, in puno caught a connecting bus to arequipa at 5:00 am, and would have arrived at arequipa around 10:30 am except that we were witness to yet another bus accident on the carretera, if you can believe it. two buses collided, one nearly went over the edge of a cliff, and the other was a bus from the same company we were currently riding in. none of this is helping my nerves any.

anyway, we arrived at 2:oopm, then settled in to our hostel, had dinner and met up with emma and dave (who we first met on the uyuni trip and have been travelling in parallel with for the past 3 weeks) for goodbye drinks. they’re continuing on through peru, while we leave for costa rica tomorrow. and so, until we meet again somewhere, sometime… hasta la vista. we’ve promised to catch up for drinks back in jolly ol’ england if we’re ever in the same neighbourhood.

we’d originally hoped to be able to squeeze in a one day tour of the colca canyon (the deepest canyon in the world), but as it left at 1:00 am, there was just no way that was going to happen. so instead we’re relaxing today – and after the exertion of the inca trail and the non-stop travel, we definitely needed it. i’m also taking the time to reflect on our south american experience – there is so much i will miss here. here’s the top ten things i love about chile/bolivia/peru.

1. eating, like, 18 times a day. breakfast is just a roll and coffee, then elevenses is empanadas or saltenas or a similar snack. then there’s a big lunch, followed by a couple hours siesta (in some countries). thene another snack around 5 or 6pm. then a big dinner at 9pm. how they all keep from getting fat, i don’t know. personally i am in need of a diet right about now…

2. inca kola, “el sabor de perú“. it tastes like liquid bubblegum.

3. innovation and opportunism. at the scene of the bus crash yesterday, a resourceful guy started selling ice creams. or, just take a look at the gas tank on this bike. yes, it’s an empty cola bottle. people never say they can’t do something. they just find a way to get it done.

4. empanadas, salteñas, and all manner of pastry goodness. it’s a little meal in a pocket and it’s delicious!

5. people’s willingness to help. everyone was just so kind, even when we were being completely unintelligible.

6. the traditions which still continue, even in this day and age. traditional dress, traditional language, traditional ways. none of it is put on for the benefit of tourists… it’s the way they really live.

7. music. it’s *everywhere*. it’s the undercurrent of daily life.

8. español.

9. the chaos and improvisation that makes even small things an interesting adventure.

10. alfajores – little caramel filled, powdered sugared, stacked cookie sandwiches. actually, anything with the lovely dulce de leche…. yum.

One Response to “love, south american style”

  1. daddio
    September 25th, 2006 11:02

    sounds like it will have to be our next trip

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