Sunday, November 1, 2009

Good Bye Peru.

For the last two weeks of our trip in Peru we decided to take it smooth and spend about a week in Arequipa, which we really liked on our way south, and the last week in Lima where we still need to see parts of the city and especially the Miraflores sector where this picture was taken. All in all this trip has been incredible as we saw things and scenery that we will probably never see elsewhere. The people in Peru are nice and peaceful. At no time, even in the not so recommended areas of the cities we went, have we felt unsafe or being bothered by more than the streets vendors just trying to make a living of some sort. We visited, at our speed, two large countries during 55 days during which we were sick 3 times, slept in 6 different buses and 13 different hostel rooms and this had cost us about $4600.00 plus $1300.00 for the plane tickets, which is less than a two week all inclusive trip in the Caribbean. This post is about the few last things we did and saw in this wonderful trip we had.

One thing we really wanted to try before leaving Peru was to try the famous “guy” (pronounced goowee), which is essentially a guinea pig! In Arequipa we chose a fancy and expensive restaurant where they serve this typical dish of Peru. Hey! If you have to eat a rat you may as well eat it with class don’t you think? As a matter of fact, after coming back to Peru we decided to spend a bit more on the food in order to have better quality and give our digesting system a rest after a month an half of hard beating. The guinea pig was not bad at all but the little rotten didn’t have much meat and I would have appreciated if they had cut the head before serving it. By the way it really tastes like chicken! As of Danielle smile it is not clear if she’s happy of having better food as she had a tender piece of veal, or just laughing at me with my rat!

Arequipa is surrounded by three volcanoes and one of them is the beautiful mount Misti. Danielle wanted to go climb it but the only problem is that going at the top of this peak about 5800m (19,000fts) high usually requires at least two days from the base and a good set of equipment. So, from our hotel in the center of Arequipa we walked toward Misti and would see how far we would go. Well, we made it as far as the base of the volcano and the trip back and forth took us 6½ hours with a share of good blisters on our toes in bonus!

On our way back from Misti Danielle saw that weird bug on the ground. She said “Oh my god Roger, look at this bug! What the hell is this?” We looked puzzled at the large beast until I flipped it just to realize it was …. a plastic toy! So good for the exotic ethnological experience ;-)

On another of our walking explorations of Arequipa we crossed that University department of biology where they seem to keep live specimens of their study right on the front yard! At least they found a very ecological way of mowing the lawn and fertilizing it at the same time

The bus ride from Arequipa to Lima takes over 15 hours and we decided to take the overnight trip in this incredibly comfortable bus where the seats can be inclined to a total straight horizontal position. You may think that we paid over $200.00 for this? Not at all, this trip in the executive class, offered by the company Flores, cost s/100.00 or $33.00 per person. Ask Greyhound to beat that!

By looking at the pictures of Peru and Bolivia on our web site one may think that everyone down here is poor, wears typical clothing and lives in a mud house. Well it is not like that at all. Peru is relatively well developed, a bit less for Bolivia, and there are large areas of the big cities where people live like anyone in developed countries with large and modern buildings, wearing jeans and t-shirts or suits and ties. At some points if it wasn’t of the unique architecture and the physical attributes we wouldn’t know we are in South America. But of course, like many places in the world we see a huge contrast between the wealthy ones and the less fortunate ones. What determines on what side of the fence a Peruvian will be is less than clear but there is a definite positive energy in the population of Peru that makes us think that they do have hope to get a better life and they are ready to work hard to achieve it. Unfortunately, in Bolivia we didn’t feel that energy in the population during the short two weeks we were there. We thought at first that we may have a false feeling due to our fatigue but as soon as we came back to Peru it struck us again. People in Peru are way more motivated than in Bolivia for reasons we don’t know yet as if the Bolivians had given up on hoping for better. At least this is the feeling we had and hopefully we are wrong about that.

This last picture of the cliffs in Lima tells more than we may think at first. It shows the magnificence of nature that prevails everywhere you go in Peru. Then the large buildings tell us that Peruvians belong here and are a great society strong and absolutely proud of what they are. Finally the canopy of clouds covering the city of Lima is just a fact of nature in the city capital. In Lima there is just no sun. For some meteorological reasons the city is almost permanently covered by clouds and the sun may show up only briefly during the day but not without being partially shaded by a thin layer of clouds. This, like the harsh desert environment of the south or the unbearable jungle showing no pity of the north, are probably reminders to these people that nothing will ever be easy for them in this country of the extremes.