Up high in the Andes
Trip Start Feb 09, 2006
23Trip End Aug 27, 2006
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So I left Puerto Iguazu and flew to Salta...not cheap but I couldnt face two days on a bus...in the end the flight was pretty spectacular because i had a window seat and the plane travelled alongside the Andes as the sun was setting. This was another moment where I sort of had to pinch myself to realise where I am! I arrived into Salta in N.West Argentina and suddenly things were very different from anything I had seen so far on my trip. Instantly I stood out so much as a gringo because the majority of the population were Quecha. The town was also much more unorganised and chaotic than elsewhere in Argentina or Chile
The bus ride in itself was an adventure...climbing up to 4000m and winding its way through the deserts and mountains of the Andes...hardly passing any other vehicles. We arrived in San Pedro de Atacama - the driest desert in the world - at about 4pm and I instantly went and bought two tours for the next day
I spent the day here trying to organise a trip into the Park National Lauca...recommended but it appears there were no other tourists in Arica...so i couldnīt do the trip. In the end i wasnīt that bothered because i had my first dodgy stomach of the trip...apparently altitude has this affect
The next day I felt a bit better and crossed the border into Peru bound for Arequipa via Tacna. I arrived in Tacna bus terminal and the first Peruvian i spoke to mentioned Nolberto Solano (for those of you who dont know he is Peruīs finest footballing export who happens to play and be a fans favourite for Newcastle United). The bus to Arequipa was 5 hours - interupted by constant police checks and loud badly dubbed films - but on the bus i met a Peruvian girl and her mother (Elizabet and Ena). It was obvious Elizabet wanted to practice her English and I NEEDED to practice some Spanish - so we all went out for some dinner and coffee. Then today we went to an old convent in Arequipa - a really old and atmospheric place - away from the noise of Arequipa outside. I like Arequipa though...it has a lot of character and a real Spanish colonial feel. It also has thousands of tiny taxis of the same brand, colour and about 0.8l rushing around its cobbled streets...and i thought things couldnīt get any worse than my mums Nissan Micra! Earlier today we also went out for a traditional Peruvian meal...not really sure what i was eating but it wasnīt Guinea Pig! Tasted good though and was a nice way to say good bye to Elizabet and Ena who were returning to Tacna this afternoon...with one request that I send them a T-Shirt with Newcastle on - just writing this so i remember.
Well this e-mail has turned into a bit of a marathon...hope it hasnt been too long for you...i was just enjoying myself in this Internet Cafe too much listening to Meatloaf, The Police and Simply Red!
I guess this post sort of shows a typical week travelling...i was feeling a bit down in this dingy hostel in Arica after having an unproductive day and crap sleep on a bus...but within 24 hours i was having new amazing experiences. Tomorrow I am taking a two day tour around the surrounding countryside to watch condors, volcanoes and see the deepest canyon in the world...its all good!
Hope you are all well and that the British summer is starting to kick in...with football soon to be on TV allday...now that does make me feel homesick!
All the best
P.S photos in a few days hopefully.