Friday, December 25, 2009

Lindsey's Christmas

Feliz Navidad,

Just another update and hello from Selina and me. I think my last
email ended in Arequipa. The next morning we took a posh bus ride to
Puno for $25 but I would have paid $50. It was probably the most
luxurious part of our trip with first class seats that reclined,
movies, and snacks. The 6 hour ride was absolutely beautiful and very
similar to places in the US around Colorado, Utah or Arizona. The one
surprise were some flamingos in some small mountain lakes. Yeah,

Our bus ride got us into Puno, the largest Peru town around Lake
Titicaca, in the late afternoon. We hopped into a cab for about $1 to
get us into the main area of town and started our search for a hostel.
After bargaining and seeing a few rooms we ended up at one of the
worst of the bunch out of pure exhaustion. The elevation was starting
to hit us and at that point we didn´t care where we were laying our
bags. We walked around the streets of Puno and stopped for some Coca
tea in hopes to remedy our weary bodies and pounding heads. After an
hour rest we went to run some travel errands. Dropping off some dirty
clothes at a laundry (the one thing more expensive than in Chicago),
looking for a book exchange, and picking up some fresh fruit and
veggies to take to the locals on our lake visit the next day. By the
time we ventured through Punos streets and picked up some Chifa
(Puruvians version of Chinese) for dinner we were exhausted and ended
up in our hostel room. We were a pretty pathetic sight with gross
Chinese, in a dingy room, freezing and Selina´s elevation sickness
getting the best of her (puking). At 6 am the next morning we were up
and heading for the bus station. Unfortunately missing our trip to the
islands on Lake Titicaca, but also giving us more time in Cuzco to
relax and plan a fun hiking trip to Machu Picchu. Puno was not a loss
though, the markets were fun to experience especially around the
holiday season. Rows/stands of meats, potato, grains, etc. I guess the
Lima version of the Westside market but not as sightly. Although the
food looked good and the prices were right!

Yesterday we made the mistake of taking a ¨"local" bus and not the
tour group bus to Cuzco. Luckily the bus tickets we chose were first
class leaving us with decent window seats which was way more than our
options of standing or an armrest on the upper level. The views were
again beautiful. We were both feeling sick and nauseous but it was a
good experience to see the small towns and mountain farmlands. We
pulled into Cuzco around 8 and had a cab drop us off in one of the
nicer neighborhoods surrounding the main Plaza de Armas. We luckily
stumbled into a nice looking hostel within our budget. It feels a lot
like being at camp with bunk beds and timbers lining the ceilings. The
only thing we cared really about were clean beds and hot showers (or
at least luke warm). We settled in and ventured out finding some Thai
food which was a welcome surprise. Peruvian food is fine but we were
over bread, white rice and chicken. We ended the night early and were
excited to crawl into warm beds. The occasional firecrackers were
going off as we crawled into beds. By midnight the city´s sky was lit
up. Up and down the mountains and through the streets people were
setting off bottle rockets which created a display much like shooting
stars all around you. Every few seconds a large firecracker would
appear high in the sky somewhere in the city lighting up the sky.
Luckily our room has a small window on the second story and I got to
watch the show from my cozy pjs. Happy birthday Jesus.

And here we are on Christmas. After getting a good night rest Selina
and I (now with a cold) had a relaxing day walking up and down the
streets and around the plazas of Cuzco. It reminds us very much of an
old European town. Maybe its the small cobble stone streets or the
backpacker haven that we have stumbled into. After visiting Arequipa
and Puno we seem to blend in a lot more. We picked up some local
crafts for souvenirs and found a great coca/chocolate shop. You will
all have a sample of some unless I eat it all on the plane ride home.

No comments:

Post a Comment