Amanda slept most of the way and I spent the time writing the last few blog entries on my Blackberry, reading about Arequipa, reading At Home by Bill Bryson, and staring out the window at the passing countryside.
As I've mentioned before, Peru is spectacular. Desolate, but spectacular. We drove through seemingly endless stretches of absolutely nothing. First flat nothing, then hilly nothing, then giant mountains and volcanoes nothing. All the same dirty golden color under lowering grey skies. We passed virtually no people the entire way, only a few dirty little villages built of mud-bricks and stone. We did pass, however, quite a few sheep (including some that ran across the road in front of the bus), llamas, and some wild vicunas, one of the camelid species of South America (the others being llamas, alpacas, and something else I can't remember). The vicunas looked a lot like antelope but behaved like llamas.
We got some serious altitude, too. The highest point between Arequipa and Puno (which we drove over today) is 14,856 feet above sea level. Crazy thing is, there were still mountains that were a lot higher than we were...
|Arequipa bus station|
|La Casa de Melgar|
|My side of the room|
|Amanda's side of the room|
|View of the courtyard from|
my side of the room
|Giant candles hanging on the wall|
Another task that was unnecessarily complicated was finding the nearest Mormon church. We figured we'd break our heathen tradition of not going to church on vacation by trying to find a local ward where we could attend at least sacrament meeting. The church's website, however, does not make finding a local meetinghouse easy. We ended up spending more than an hour, and many cross references to other map websites, before we found what we were looking for. Grrr. So we may or may not make it to church tomorrow -- and if we don't, may our souls rest upon the head of the dear brother and/or sister who designed the stupid meeting-locator feature on the website.
Oh, and we also went to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town, run by one of Peru's celebrity chefs. I ordered ossobucco, which was delicious and very filling, although a bit saltier than I would have liked. What I particularly liked was when I asked for lemon to put in the water and my Coke, the waiter brought me a little glass of freshly-squeezed lemon juice -- no messy squeezing, and I could put as much in as I wanted.
|Ossobucco at Chi-Cha|