About Me

I am in South America from October 3rd until December 17th! I am spending the month of October volunteering in a child care center in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Then I have a month and a half to explore Ecuador and Peru!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colca Canyon and Recovery

The Colca Canyon
This canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!

Hello! I am continually surprised by how seredipitous life is! I took that bus to Chivay and just as it was pulling up in the station in Chivay I saw the group I had been travelling with getting on the bus to go to Cabanaconde (they had missed a bus or two). Cam leaned his head out the window and said, ¨Come be part of the family again!¨ That got me. I threw my bags under the bus and climbed on for the 2 hour, $1 ride to Cabanaconde.

The next morning my crew set off at 9:00 to hike the Colca Canyon. By lunch time we were at the very bottom of the canyon and hiked another half an hour up it to a little house\restraunt by the name of Gloria where we had a delicious lunch. Sopa de verduras con arroz, aguacate, papas y alpaca. Pero soy vegetariana y yo comi huevos.

Then we hiked more hours and saw more of the canyon and the people who live there. About 7 hours after we began we were at the oasis. O-a-sis.

Swimming pools, water and shade. Oasis: a little resort built in the very bottom of the canyon.

We swam, ate spaghetti and camped there that night. But one member of our group, Michael, had to get to Bolivia on a tight schedule so he hiked up the canyon that night (in the dark, alone, with a headlamp, water and a chocolate I gave him). I heard from some other backpackers that they saw him arrive in town that night and he was really tired but he had made it.

Some of my friends who stayed at the oasis had tents and offered to let me sleep in them but it was so nice outside and there were so many stars that I just slept right there in the grass. I woke up around sunrise and saw a group of people eating breakfast and preparing for their hike up the canyon. I waved, then flopped back down and continued sleeping.

After spending the morning and afternoon relaxing in the oasis we used the evening to do the 3 hour ascent back up the canyon. It was a good hike, I really enjoyed it. It was strenous though. I was definitely sore the next day.

When we got in to town there were people sitting on one street eating and drinking. They were all dressed in their traditional attire. I stopped and talked to some of the men and women and they said they were celebrating that a house had been built. I asked them if I could take a few pictures and they said yes and were happy to pose and see the pictures after I took them. One lady even told me to wear her hat for the picture. Another invited me to stay the night in her home but I was too tired to accept and spend the evening partying with the community.

This is a woman in Cabanaconde and me wearing a traditional hat.

I ate then went to bed where ended up staying for 2 more nights. The day after the hike I hardly left my room...my stomach was not happy.

Yesterday I decided to go to Chivay. So I packed up and just before I left I saw a French chica, Caty, who I had met a few nights earlier and 3 California boys. We only had a minute to talk before my bus left but they were all interested in having a Thanksgiving dinner possibly in Arequipa or Puno. They briefly said they were staying in La Casa de la Tourista in Arequipa and would be going back there that night.

When my bus got to Chivay it was raining and the sky was cloudy. The main reason I wanted to go to Chivay was to visit the astronomical observatory, but there was no hope of seeing stars that night so I hopped back on the bus returning to Arequipa.

And Arequipa is where I have spent the day. I found the Tourist Hostel last night and left a note on the front desk for California and French. When I woke up this morning I was surprised to find a note in my door from them saying they would come get me when they woke up.

I woke up at 6 feeling good so I got breakfast, showered and did yoga. Then I met up with California and California (AKA Max and Marshall). The other California and French had gone back to Cabanaconde because French forgot her passport there. So Max and Marshall and I went to the market to see if we could find Thanksgiving type food. We found ceviche, empenadas and juice. We all walked away from the market stuffed. When we got back to the hostel I did not feel so good. I spent the remainder of today, up until now, in bed.

Meanwhile, California and French arrived and they and Cali 1 and Cali 2 went out in search of Thanksgiving food.

Turns out there are no cranberries in this town. And turkey was not found either. How can we have Thanksgiving without Cranberries and Turkey? We will. It will be more symbolic...you know, in The Spirit of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy--I mean enjoy--the pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce and turkey. But also embrace the holiday, the spirit of it. The thankfulness for the family, friends and food that are in your life.

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