Freaky Dancin'

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
At a hostel with no name... which always sets the mind at rest

Flag of Peru  , Colca Canyon,
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We woke up to the alarm at 7am, still feeling tired and woke the guy up sleeping next to reception as I needed more money. We got back at 07:20 and it was time to catch up on the blog, it has mostly been neglected due to possible wedding plans and trying to find a route home that will not bankrupt us.  After only a couple of minutes however we got a knock on and the tour bus had arrived early, we threw everything in the bags and headed off, even the laptop was still open downloading the pictures to free up the memory card. The guide, Peter,  seemed lovely though and even carried Erica's bag for her. We climbed aboard the brand new bus slightly embarrassed we had not left on the 3am walkers bus.  The group turned out to consist of Peruvians, Brazilians, Chileans, French and two Australians. The guide pretty much didn’t shut up for the next 3 hours, (not in a bad way), he spoke about 8 languages but only spoke in about 3, lots of descriptions, lots of talking about coca leaves and the vast number of misconceptions throughout the world, lots about volcanoes and the vast number of earthquakes in Arequipa which are everyday several times at the moment. We then all had coca sweets, coca biscuits, coca leaves, coca leaves and stones (I had this for the first time) as we climbed to about 5,000m again (the highest point in Peru). To be fair he had us very well prepared and no one was really sick just all very short of breath. We stopped at lots of little villagey type places which to be fair were more about buying and selling souvenirs. I wanted to buy Ellie an Alpaca jumper and Erica a bag, we could not however agree on sizes or designs so sorry Ellie, still no Christmas presents.

When we finally arrived at Chivay the capital of the region we had an eat as much as you can buffet of Peruvian food, it was about 3 each and had guinea pigs, trout, lamb, alpaca, lama, chicken and god knows what else. To be fair we ate like absolute lightweights compared to some of the larger people on our trip who were on about 6 plates full piled high, proceeded by soup and followed by deserts, now I understand where some Peruvians get there figures from.

We headed to our hostel and hotels then, we expected only us to be staying at the worst place but in reality most people did and it is ok, the usual cold showers etc but it has electricity which we weren’t expecting. We then went to a set of thermal baths and hot springs (again being so volcanic this isn’t unusual for such areas) it was about 2 quid in excluding swimsuit hire....? yes, swimsuit hire, we wore our own but there you go (Erica edit:  Andrew prefers his own mankini to the usual speedos on offer). It was great and different to most as it had a bar and quite a few pools surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. We got back to the hostel and just had time to nip out and get yet more cash before heading off for dinner and dancing at a cultural performance.

The bus collected us and drove us round the corner – there was us thinking that it was a bit of a drive away but we could have walked to the restaurant in the time that we had waited and driven.  After our large lunch we weren’t that hungry but most people were ordering food so we both had a chicken burger with chips (the cheapest thing on the menu) while we listened to the traditional band playing panpipes, guitar, drum and flute.  They were very good and then the dancing started.  A young boy and girl came out dressed in traditional clothes and danced around the tables to the music.  Little did we know that audience participation was expected and low and behold the boy made a beeline for Erica (who was mid burger) and was really quite adamant that she dance.  She refused point blank and he moved on to some other poor victim who proceeded to be pulled all over the dance floor. 

The dancing got crazier and crazier as the night went on – perhaps our favourite was when the couple came out on to the dance floor with an onion, a whip and the boy in a balaclava and a hat and they danced around trying to steal the onion off each other and then acted as if the thing had poisoned them, fell on the floor and then whipped each other with a piece of rope – after which the boy resuscitated the girl by taking off his shoe and letting her smell it.  It was extremely bizarre and then they got the audience involved – we were definitely not getting involved in that one.  All in all a very entertaining evening but very early as we would have to be up at 4.45am tomorrow for our visit to Colca Canyon and perhaps to see the Andean Condors.  The freaky dancing tonight though had made Bez's look tame.
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