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July 23, 2005
Jody writes:

See our Peru photos.

"Did you get robbed while in Arequipa?" our cab driver asked as he drove us to collect our bus to Chile.
"No," I replied.
"Oh that's good!" he said. "Lucky!"

We'd heard about Arequipa's reputation as a thief's paradise, but managed to avoid trouble for the few days we were there, despite a lady in the bakery telling us that our hotel was in a bad neighbourhood.

We'd spent the previous two days in the Colca Canyon, but had booked a lazy tour. I was recovering from illness, so didn't feel like a hardcore trek, with only a crumbly path preventing me from plummeting to my death in the world's deepest canyon. Plus we've been on the road for nine months; we're getting lazy; get used to it.

So, our tour didn't feature lots of walking, but it did include breaking down at 4,900 meters above sea level (lots of people were throwing up from oxygen deprivation while the driver tried to fix the bus), and a morning of condor spotting.

We crossed back into Chile yesterday (via the Tacna / Arica border) and it couldn't have been easier. The border officials were particularly slack:

Border guard: "Do you have any fruit in your bag?"
Me: "No."
Border guard: "Do you like drugs?"
Me: "Oh no! I don't like drugs!"
Border guard: "Good! Move along."

Tonight we take a 24-hour bus ride from Arica, Chile, to Argentina. After spending three months in the Andes, I'm sad to finally leave them. True, the air was so thin that we got knackered walking up a short hill, the bus rides were frightening and the food was dull (meat, chips and maybe a leaf of lettuce if you're lucky), but life at sea level seems so plain. The towns all look the same, the locals don't wear silly hats and there's not a llama in sight.

We had some issues with Peru - almost every tour we did was crap, Peruvians struggle to tell the truth, everyone tried to rip us off - but we still had a lot of fun and will never forget the stunning ruins of the Incas and their ancestors. One other thing I'll never forget about Peru is the sheer number of Peruvians who pee on the street. Wet arches adorn the sides of almost every building in Peru, and during Inti Raymi, when Cusco was packed with people, the streets literally flowed with urine.

Strolling through Cusco one afternoon, a Peruvian guy kindly redirected his stream of piss to let Amy and I pass, and later we spotted an old lady squatting in broad daylight on the side of the road. A yellow trickle danced from beneath her traditional-dress skirt and onto the cobble stones, before she straightened her bowler hat and returned to selling peanuts on the side of the road.

Next stop: Salta, Argentina. Expect us to be pretty fat on steaks by the time we get back to London.

posted at 3:44 PM | link

8 Comments:

  • Jody and Amy-
    I've been reading your blog for some time with great interest and anticipation. In large part, this is die to my own selfishness and my girlfriend and I are planning a short 3-week trip to Peru in August. I'd love to skype or email with you more about things you'd recommend seeing and the like.
    -Steve

    By Anonymous Steve Burt, at 6:53 AM  

  • Hi Steve,

    I've sent an email to the address on your website. We're happy to recommend some places to see (and avoid) in Peru.

    By Blogger Jody, at 6:10 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Jody, at 6:17 PM  

  • Jody-
    Thanks a bunch - for some reason I did not receive that email you sent me. Would you mind resending it to sburt1@gmail.com? Thanks.

    By Anonymous Steve Burt, at 12:19 AM  

  • OK. I've sent you a mail.

    Jody

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:54 PM  

  • Amy,
    Have emailed you to say hello but have lost your phone number so would be great if you could let me know you returned safely. Heading to London in Oct so would be great to see you..but I need some contact details..cassie@mdew.co.uk Cass x

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 AM  

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For older entries, see the archives at the top right-hand side of this page.
Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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