Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wed 27 April

Arrived in Ariquepa on an overnight bus.... that was an interesting experience especially when you sleep on your side.  Bout the same as sleeping in a plane with less leg room. Änd then we had some sick on the bus which doesn´t help you not feel sick yourself.  Left Nasca at 10pm and arrived at Ariquepa at 7.30pm

our Hotel above... Ariquepa

Posh houses....
Our hotel is El Conquistador which is a very very old colonial building with very very thick stone structure and has survived many earthquakes.  They had an 7.8 in 2004 and the cathedral spires have been rebuilt so there is hope for Chch.

This is a lovely city, clean and they seem to drive better.... not the insecent honking of horns and the people seem more friendly.  We went on a orientation of the city and went to some colonial squares with churches, monestories etc, checked out the baby alpaca shops, and the Alpaca centre to see the alpacas and the knitters.  Three months to knit (weave) a scarf in the traditional way.

Meals here are absolutely huge and they have the main meal in the middle of the day.  I ordered an entre of the traditional meal of potatoe pie and stuffed hot chilli pepper with mince mixture and still couldn´t eat it all.
Jess warned us that it would be colder here, but we find it very nice... just a cool breeze to keep us from getting too hot.  We have to be very vigilant with the sunblock as they all get easily burnt.  There is polution here mostly from the diesel cars and perhaps the mining.  The ozone hole is above this town so we have to be careful... already got sunburnt in lima.

We are not at approx 2500m above sea level.  apart from the odd puffy ankles which i think came from heat...we are all ok. 
Slept, rested, shopped and toured the churches etc today.  Out for late tea tonight, more of a snack I am sure.  Off to Cusco Canyon tomorrow

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Nasca Tuesday 26 April

Feeling now as if we have been away for weeks.  The fishy smell has gone as in Pisca, and in Nasca it is very hot.  Not a huge town but adequate to find a few hotels and restaurants.  We are feeling more game in exploring on our own and speaking some spanish to the locals.

heaps of fruit stalls.... rock melons, mangos, mandarins, prunes, papaya, bananas.... plucked poultry sitting on stalls.... they seem to like buns for breakfast with fried egg and some patty.  The local take away is deep fried chicken, chips with mustart sauce !!

Asparagus is grown all year round here for export... not sure how they do this with the tropical climate that it is...but have seen paddocks of green foliage of asaparagus and some still being cut.

They don{t seem to having planning find a chook farm here and there... not close together... military and industry just dotted all over the place.  They build huge brick walls around there land to show possession and to keep the squaters out... you only have to squat and show you are doing something on the land to keep it... and if you want your land back it takes years in the courts to prove your original ownership.  Very hit and miss and very nomadic in some ways.  there are many "shanty towns" starting in lima where they looked like they had prime land...up on what appeared to be like our port hills, but when you got close you realised these hills were just sand and the shacks were made out of any material they could get out of the dumps... no roof in many need as not much rain but needed for shade mostly.  These shanty towns were allowed when there as terrorists in the inland hills area and they came into the towns to protect themselves.  there are no roading up the hills, so the organisation and structure has never taken power, no water and everything they want they have to carry in..though this is starting to change apparently... BUT... they have the best views one could ask for.... over the pacific ocean... bizarre!...

Back to Nasca... having a morning off. We didnt do the aerial flight over the nasca lines.. just wanted some time to do our own thing and catch our thoughts....  Buy some fruit and find a good cuppa of coffee.  No lattes or flat whites around here.. mostly poured out as coffee shots...good quality though!!

Adios... amigos xx

At Pisca Monday 25 April

Writing this on Tuesday 26 as no computers at Pisca Hotel.  so hot today can hardly link and this computer keyboard is in a need to a revamp so you will have to put up with unchecked type....

Pisca is a fishing area town that was hit by an earthquake according to my books in 2008 8 on the Richter scale.  Our Hotel if good... but mostly around the roads are still showing the damage from the earthquake.  The church in the square is being repaired but they do not have enough money to repair the roads yet.

This morning we went to Parasca, the port where we catch the boat to take us to Ballastas Islands where there are millions of birds of many varieties including the Inca Tern.  This is a very prolific fishing area and there are many fishing boats in the harbour.... looks just like something from the Greek Islands....

There are pelicans on the seashore and the locals feed them fish and have tamed them for a show and photo opportunity....for donation.

The trip out to the island was in good sized boats...I wont say jet boats but Cathy will have more of an idea what type.  Very touristy boats and generally in a good condition.  There doesn't always seem to be much red tape or restrictions around here, though the tour guides are excellent and guide us to the safe options.

Calm and mild and warm weather has followed us so far, and this is the climate. Not like our changeable Nor east  and southerlies.  It hasn't rained here for a long time...  We were also shown the lines in the hill similar to Nasca lines and they think they are connected but many miles apart.  However these are setout on a very sandy hillside so not sure how they haven't blown away......  will upload pics when get to a better USB port on this one.

the island harvests the bird droppings for fertiliser and the island is protected as in bird life but also three guards live there three months at a time.  The seals there were also numerous and there were many pups with their mums.  Tourism here is key to the economy of the town.  However, cant escape the fishy smell especially in Pisca.

Also visited winery where pisca alcohol is made... like a fermented wine..think will find it is  more of a vermouth as it is 43% alcohol...found this out after we had to try 9 variety's of shots (small samples but drunk like a shot none the less) the first one stripped my throat it was so strong...  and all this early in the afternoon too lol.

Next stop was huacachina.... we had been traveling in what i would describe at Mackenzie country...dry and barron hills... which gradually changed to huge port hill sized sand dunes and amongst this is huacachina...the oasis.  a lovely lake with hotel and swimming pool, markets etc.  the activity here was sand boarding where you go on these dune buggies up these steep sand dunes and boogy board down... Cathy can tell you more about that later.  i enjoyed the lovely swim in the pool, walk around the lake and some shopping at the stalls with practice on the locals for my Spanish.

Nasca was our next stop..... the highway is  easy traveling... however we arrived at the lines on sunset so only could see a couple from the viewing tower. 
Explored Nasca town at night... much the same as other towns... unfinished homes due to the tax they have to pay on finished homes.. but here the roading is earthquake here. 

Food is very much rice and slopping type mash potatoes with lamb, beef, stir fry, heaps seafood, lots avocados,  scrumptious fruit smoothies minus the yoghurt.... and lovely Pisca sour... which is a mix of lemon, Pisca, whisked egg white.  We will be getting the recipe tomorrow when we getting demo done.

we have one sick we think from eating a salad but not too many pit stops on the way... one accident with a truck of fruit and veges turned over on the hills.... police were there so not many of the locals had arrived to score the goods... if no police they would have been there in the hoards apparently.

Jess our guide is a hoot....great sense of humor... always tricking us and teachings us the naughty Spanish words....  Jodies name in Spanish is close to our most common swear word so we have to be careful how we say it!!  learned our names in  Peru Spanish today... Caterina (i spelt it how it is said) and Rubina is mine.... 

hope to upload a batch of pics on Wednesday when we at Arequipa... the 2nd biggest city.. and also Jesse's home town. We are traveling overnight to this town in a bus leaving 10pm so hope we all sleep well.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Day 2 Sunday 24

We are off today to "Downtown Lima" with our guide.  Yesterday we ventured out on our own with our map and stuck to the "yellow" lines the safe zone.  There were several police and security guards everywhere so we felt safe.  With the holiday weekend it is very busy here and there was a christian party in the park with a stage and different performances for the families.  Though it didn"t feel like we were in a city of 8.2million.

We are venturing off on a local bus today.   It is wonderful to have our tour guide  "Jess" with us now.  She negotiated the taxis last night for us which can be a rip off if you don"t know spanish and are obviously a tourist. Jess ...not sure what her full name is to spell it.... so we call her that.  She is from Araquepa, a town we will get to on about Day 3-4.  Shorter than us and is married with a seven year old boy.  It is unusual for a married woman here to work in her position as a tourism guide.  The woman are expected to stay at home with the children... especially if you are married to a "macho" man as she calls them. (99% of peruvian men by the sound of it)

I am uploading the photos from yesterday while I am typing this takes a while.  Strange computers ...the keyboard is totally different, even to get the " @" is a Alt +4+6  and the descriptions drop down in Spanish so I either guess the meaning or know off by heart where file open, file save is and thanks to the good old shortcuts Control X  etc.....

Once we get back from our Downtown trip we are off in a tourist bus to Pisca ...ready to sample the traditional Pisca Sour so more on that later.....

It is warm sea misty day here...but not hot yet.  Sun similar to home here and can get burnt very I did yesterday even with sun block and sun hat...only takes 10mins overdue sunblock to burn.

Sleeping well but then I can sleep through storms(Robyn)...Cathy not so much and she still blocked with a cold.  The traffic is very noisy here...they keep tooting at every intersection or for whatever reason ... and there doesn´t seem to be any clear road rules just push in, change your mind about your direction when you feel like it and they all do it so they accept it.  The taxi rides are certainly an adventure ....lock the doors and hang on.  But we arrived safely to our destinations and haven´t seen any accidents...thats just the way they are here.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Miraflores Lima Day 1

We have started as we mean to go on.... fly with the birds.  I (Robyn)had wonderful time paragliding off the cliffs of Lima... amazing!!!!!!!!  We explored Miraflores to the beach.  Managed to get money out of the bank machines and get change.  Sure is strange not being able to speak the same language. ...alot of hand signals going on. 

Went out for tea to Tanta.... scrumptious meals and tried Chicha Punch...a black fruit purple...

 Then went to a park with 20 x fountains really fun... and last one was a concert with video, colours and music.  A real spectacular show.
This was so much fun..... people stood on the display then the fountain would "play" around them...they all got wet but the kids loved it.  The fountain would stop and start to music and different forms and height. Needed to video it to get the full picture!
This is the show with colour, music, video... spectacular!!!!!

Arrival Friday midnight

We have arrived!!  With a 10 hour stop over in Santiago, Chile and no internet computers available (unless we were a VIP) we finally arrived in Lima, Peru.  Plenty of naps and sleeps while we got through the time zones and sure glad to get our bed when we arrived at midnight.  We are 17 hours behind you so we promise not to text you in the middle of the night! Off today to check out the sights of Lima  Miraflores a beach promenade- its is warm and sunny about 24 deg so a dip maybe in order.

A couple of excited Intrepid Explorers leaving Christchurch
On our way out through Auckland....
Anna some fascinating art work here in the hotel you like my creative photography?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Itinerary - Day 1 starts Sat 23 April

Day 1 Lima

Explore the gardens and beaches of Miraflores.

Day 2 Pisco

Wander the streets of Lima before heading to Pisco, the perfect place to unwind with a Pisco sour.

Days 3-4 Nazca

Take an optional trip to the Paracas National Reserve, a haven for pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos and sea lions. See the dramatic sand dunes of Huacachina before heading to one of the world's most mysterious archaeological sites, the Nazca Lines. Discover the desert cemetery of Chauchilla; the arid conditions of the desert have naturally mummified the remains of the people buried here.

Day 5 Arequipa

Built at the foot of El Misti Volcano, Arequipa's colonial charm is enchanting. Marvel at the gleaming buildings made from pale volcanic rock.

Days 6-7 Chivay/ Colca Canyon

Spot llamas, alpacas and their cousins - vicunas - on the way to Chivay. Be impressed by the depth of the canyon while keeping an eye out for the resident Andean condors, one of the world's largest flying birds. In the evening, relax in thermal baths, dine on a llama steak or listen to live Andean music at a pena. Experience traditional local life staying with a family on a homestay in Colca Canyon.

Days 8-10 Puno/ Lake Titicaca

Cross the Andes to explore the vast expanse of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Visit the floating islands and learn about island culture during a homestay with a local family.

Days 11-12 Cuzco

Discover Inca ruins and baroque churches in the continent's oldest city. Then perhaps take a local bus to the Sacred Valley or have lunch at Aldea Yanapay Cafe - all profits go to supporting Cuzco's underprivileged kids.

Days 13-16 Inca Trail/ Machu Picchu

Embark on the trek of a lifetime through dense forest and high plateaus, up the steps of the Sun Gate to the Machu Picchu ruins. Spend a day exploring and learning about the fascinating ancient ruins.

Day 17 Cuzco

Shop or rest those weary legs at a cafe around the Plaza de Armas.

Days 18-19 Amazon Jungle

Fly to Puerto Maldonado. Travel by canoe into the lush Amazon Jungle to stay in an eco-friendly lodge. Explore the jungle with local guides to spot unique flora and fauna and learn about the practical and medicinal uses of native plants.

Days 20-21 Lima

Soak up Lima's colourful history before bidding adios to wonderful Peru.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Monday 18 April

Cathy and Robyn are about to embark on 21 days of this amazing colourful culture from the coast to Lake Titicaca, the Inca Trail and a brief encounter with the Amazon....

Now only 4 sleeps.... though doubt I will sleep much Thursday night...