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Arequipa

Written on: Monday September 8th, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

I will always remember Arequipa for discovering this interesting fact - a mule is the offspring of a horse and a donkey, and they are almost always infertile!  Some of you may have already known this, but I had to travel to Peru to find out.  While I´m sharing some interesting discoveries, I can also reveal the following:

  • bamboo should only be cut at around 4am because it sucks up water during the heat of the day which makes it rot (thanks Colombia)
  • instant coffee is made from the beans that have been hollowed out by bugs (Colombia again)
  • Sigmund Freud was a big cocaine user and died of nasal cancer (thanks Peru)
  • Sitting behind the back wheel of the bus gives you twice the bumps and swings and vomiting (thanks to the Continent)
Anyway – back to Arequipa – its a a nice old colonial town surrounded by mountains, nicknamed the White City because of all the volcanic stonework buildings.  This is the first place we have seen chains on the chairs in cafés to lock your bag up so we know we´re in tourist territory.  An old nuns convent takes up a large chunk of town, it´s completely walled in and was only opened to the public in 1970.   There are some amazing carved stone churches and courtyards, which makes it a nice city to linger around.  We also took a peek at the remains of Juanita, the Ice Maiden.  She was a 14 year old sacrificed at the top of the volcano by the Incas 500 years ago, but is almost perfectly preserved within glacial ice that formed.   We´ve diagnosed ourselves with tourist fatigue, maybe because it´s nearly been 3 months and after the same time in the middle east and eastern Europe we had experienced such diversity of religion, history and language within a short time.  Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are certainly different in a lot of ways, but pretty much the same.  We self-prescribe a night out drinking, a few days relaxing and pulling ones head in because we are so lucky to be here at all!