Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Puno/Arequipa (Día 1)

Okay, so I hope you're excited to hear about my week long trip.  I'm not sure how many days it's going to take to write everything.  It's possible that I'll be back in the states before I finish, but I hope not.  I'm hoping to get them all written within the next few days.  To start off, I'll tell you that the week away from Lima was amazing!

Anyway, last Thursday (which was so long ago) Tonisha and I got up at 5:30 to get ready to leave for the airport.  We both got very little sleep, but once we were up and moving we felt okay.  Plus, I got to catch up on sleep on the plane.  Anyway, we left my house and went to Vivanda to pick up big liters of water for the weekend.  I'm so proud o us too because we decided not to take a ridiculously expensive taxi and we decided to micro instead and we found a micro that took us part way there then got on another one to take us the rest of the way.  I'd say we're pretty accustom to Peru, when we can take two micros to the airport without getting lost. :)  So rather than pay s/.30+ each we each paid s/.2.50 - it was an awesome way to save money.

When we got to the airport, the lady at the counter told us to hurry.  We didn't end up being late at all, but when someone at an airport tells me to hurry, I am going to.  So we went through security and then headed to the gate to get on our bus to get on the plane.  The plane was full, but somehow I managed to be in the very first seat in the front.  I pretty much fell asleep before the plane even took off and we made a long stop in Arequipa where I slept as well.  From Arequipa to Juliaca was about a half hour flight and when we landed in Juliaca, I didn't want to get off the plane because the altitude is 12,549 feet and I wasn't looking forward to not being able to breath.  Well even though Juliaca is a lot higher than Cusco, I actually felt 10x worse in Cusco.  The altitude didn't have as great of effect on me which is awesome.  When we left the airport, we then of course had a taxi driver and a combi driver fighting over us for who would take us to Puno.  The combi won again because of the cheaper price.  That drive was about 45-50 minutes and I slept the whole time for that, too. :)

Once we got to Puno, we took a taxi to the Plazz de Armas, because that's always a good place to start in a city and we walked around in search for a hostel.  We ended up styaing at teh Hospedaje Rosario, which was the first one we came to.  It probably wasn't the best choice, but I kept saying it had character to make me feel better, which in reality, it did have character.  It smelled of paint thinner and the springs/mattresses were probably 50 years old. :)

Our shanty hostel room. :)
After we dropped our bags off at what would be our home for the night, we all went to eat lunch.  I guess I hould tell you that "we" is Tonisha, Mark, Sheila, and I.  We took our first trip together to Ica/Nazca about 15 weeks ago and we took our last trip together. :)  Anyway, for lunch we went to what appeared to be a local place, which are the best.  Prices are cheap and the food is good and plentiful.  For s/.6 ($2.23) we each got a salad, a huge (and I mean HUGE) bowl of delicious soup and an entree.  My entree was spaghetti, but I barely ate any of it because the amazing soup filled me up.  We then went back tho the hostel for a 2 hour nap.  The nap was COLD!  We had a window open to get rid of the paint thinner smell, but it was so cold and when we left the hostel again at around 5 p.m.  We all understood why it is that when you say "I'm going to Puno," they respond with "Puno is cold."  It was, in fact, cold!  And the wind didn't help.  It was then that I realized that I wasn't too excited to go home to the cold and Puno helped me realize that. 

Anyway, we walked to the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas and went in and sat down for awhile then we went to a statue that is on a hilltop that is a statue of Manco Cápac, the first Incan.  It was a pretty view, but it was cold up on the hill. :)  We then went to dinner at a pizza place that was pretty good.  They had Andean music playing, which was nice and one of the songs was "What Child is This."  This then put us on a mission to find a Andean pan pipe Christmas CD, which we did find on our last day in Arequipa. :)  After eating, we went shopping at the markets.  It wasn't an all that successful trip because the prices were high, but I still got a few things, and everybody else bought stuff so that they could bundle up at night.  After shopping, we all went back to our creepy hostel (it really was creepy at night) and we bundled up and were in bed by 10:30 p.m.
La Plaza de Armas and Cathedral in Puno
On the hill freezing with Lake Titicaca in the background
Manco Cápac statue in Puno
Stay on the lookout for Day 2!!

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