Oh Arequipa

Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
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Trip End Dec 13, 2007


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Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, October 5, 2007

I took the Flores 'Imperial' bus service as recommended by my peruvian friend.  Scheduled departure, 9:00, actual departure, 9:45.  Met a lady, Maria, from Virginia who is retired massage therapist and purveyor of alternative health treatments who now resides in Arequipa and is volunteering as a teacher in a woman's prison.  The bus was stopped at some kind of customs 'control' stop where we had to disembark while the policia searched some of the luggage.  I was told this sort of thing doesn't happen on the imperial services and Maria confirmed that and in all her 15 months here, she's never had that happen before.  Otherwise it was a comfortable six hour trip which essentially dispelled my concerns about traveling by bus in Peru. 

As soon as I arrive at the bus terminal I can see Arequipa is a beautiful city.  It's a quick $2.50 cab ride downtown and I'm at my chosen hostel, Los Andes, only to discover that it is full tonight but available for the remainder of my dates.  They recommend a place two blocks up on the same street and happily make the call for me.  I'll stay at Hostel Posada de Sandro (pics included) for tonight and move to the less expensive and much nicer Los Andes tomorrow. 

Arequipa is set not far from the foot of the Andes.  It is remarkably clean and has a notably cosmopolitan feel, much like any number of mid-sized french or spanish cities.  The area around Plaza des Armas is loaded with hostels and restaurants and cafes that sell real coffee!  The people are gorgeous and happy.  The service is great.  As I walked around it stuck me that something else was different.  No stray dogs!  Which of course means no poop all over the place.  So far, it is giving Chile a run for it's money. 
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