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PERU - DAY TWO - Yanque

Previous Blogs:

Day 1 - Arequepa | Day 2 - Yanque | Day 3 - Colca Canyon | Day 4 - Lake Titicaca | Day 5 - Road to Cusco | Day 6 - Machu Picchu | Day 7 - Cusco

Day 8 - Sacred Valley | Day 9 - Salt and Terraces | Day 10 - Rain Forrest | Day 11-12 - Rainforest/Lima | Day 13 - Paracus

Click photos for a larger image...

Our hotel in Arequipa was many streets ahead of the pension type place we had in Lima. This was a modern hotel with a beautiful room, nice restaurant and close to downtown.

Pictured on the left is the smoking patio on the top floor with a great view of the city. Speaking of smoking, Peruvians unexpectedly are not smokers despite the very cheap cigarettes, it is pretty rare to see someone smoking and their smoking rules are pretty strict, no smoking in any public buildings such as restaurants, hotels and airports. I was not expecting that at all in South America.

We had dinner at the hotel - a decent meal for $10 - beef, vegetables and rice, something you'd pay $15 for in the USA.

The view of the mountain picture below was taken from the smoking patio at the hotel. This is Misti - a dormant volcano over looking the city.  Misti last erupted in the early 1400's.

Before coming to Peru I had several preconceptions about South America that Peru has proved wrong!

1. Crazy drivers - nope, they drive well, safely and respectfully.

2. Dirty streets - nope, streets are clean, no garbage lying around.

3. Beggars and cons - nope, have not seen any or being besieged by venders. They sit there politely and don't chase you down. The guys on the corner of the street changing money give you a better rate than the airport and hotels and hand out crisp new notes carefully counted and insist you count as well. They are authorized government money changers.

4. The country would be lush and green - nope, 70% of Peru is arid desert.

5. There would be tons of American and British tourists - nope, most tourists are from Spanish speaking countries. We were the only English speaking people on our tour (other than a French Couple who did not speak Spanish), so the tour is in English & Spanish.

We were picked up at 8am for our next tour through the mountains and on to Colca. Here we joined a group tour of 12 other people for two days.

The land is arid with little vegetation and snow capped mountains (this is now their summer now!)

The goal was to spot critters!

This is the very popular Vicuna. Used for it's expensive fibers.

Baby Alpaca - used for it's very valuable wool and quite popular to eat.

Stunning views!

Who knew Peru had flamingoes?

Our tour crossed over the highest point in Peru you can drive actually drive - 4,910 meters above sea level. For those who can't convert metric that fast -  this is 16,203 feet! It was a dizzying experience and breathless experience if you exert yourself in any way. Many small planes can't even fly that high! We had overdosed on coca tea the day before to combat altitude sickness - which works but tastes a lot better with a shot of rum! You must walk slowly, any effort puts you out of breath!  Wendy didn't experience any breathlessness, but experienced the mild, low grade headache, and her speech was definitely slowed with the oxygen deprivation. (Yup - I can already hear the jokes now from all of you!!)  If we knew what it was like to take drugs, we would have sworn someone slipped us a Mickey!! 

Venders at the top of the world, they LIVE in this thin air.

Overlooking the town of Chivay, which itself is 11,500 feet above sea level.

Downtown Chivay, population 6000.

Lunch in Chivay was $9 buffet. Delicious! And the meat on a stick was Alpaca - tastes like chicken. No REALLY, it does!

Traditional Peruvian market.

Traditional Peruvian butcher checking her FaceBook!

Llama kisses!!

Peruvians are one up on the Chinese - they actually put ENGINES in their richshaws!


We then took a short drive to the next town - Yanque - where we checked into our next hotel. You cannot beat the view from the bay window seats in our room! This photo does not do it justice at all of all the agriculture terraces.

And finally, I have two questions for you...

So why did the llama cross the road?