Thursday, June 10, 2010

The bus to Arequipa

The next morning we were on another fancy bus to Arequipa.  Most tourists stick to night busses through this region, as distances are long and by travelling at night you save having to get a hotel for the night.  My problem with that, besides the fact that I just don´t sleep very well sitting up, is that I love watching the scenery.  Luckily we were able to find a day bus.  Better yet it was almost completely empty, so we got to sit in the very front seats on the top level, which gave us a great view besides some extra leg room.  It was great.

There were only about six people on the bus in total.  Two of them, an American and a Canadian both named Sarah, sat next to us in the front.  They were both working as teachers in Honduras, which was interesting enough in itself, and we had an entertaining ride talking with them as we all admired the striking desert and ocean scenery.  The desert was dry and mostly unvegetated, and then we would drive through cliffs that fell down to the huge waves battering the coast.  With little in the way of people or cities to fill the space, it just seemed so massive.  At one point David even pointed out a small pod of dolphins playing in the waves.  A few of the tiny, tiny "towns" we did pass were very humbling as we sped through in our luxury bus.  Many of the homes were nothing more than a 8`x8`shack made of woven mats.

We were coming down a long stretch when we saw traffic stopped up ahead, with lots of cars and trucks lining both sides of the road, which was odd considering the light traffic we´d seen so far.  As we got closer we saw that a semi-truck had lost its load of oranges, which were strewn in a massive heap along the side of the road.  Everyone passing by had stopped, not to help, but to grab all the free oranges they could carry!  Women were stuffing them in their purses, men were holding their shirts up in front to make a little basket with them.  I don´t know where the driver was, but I´m assuming he was having one of the worst days of his life as he watched his cargo being stolen.

Night fell before we reached Arequipa, and as we cleared a large hill, the lights of the city sprawled out before us.  It was a similar view coming into Albuquerque along I-40 from the west, except much bigger.  I had heard Arequipa was the second largest city in Peru, but somehow we were still surprised by the massive display of lights spread out amongst the hills.  The city makes a good stopover on the way to Cusco due to its altitude of 7800 feet, giving your body a chance to start to aclimate.  Many people suffer from altitude sickness coming to the Andes, and we don´t intend to be one of them.  There are meds you can take, specifically Diamox which can help by making you breathe a little deeper to get more oxygen.  But I know Diamox as a diuretic, and I don´t need to be peeing all the time, so we are hoping the stopover will be enough.


  1. Oh my God...!!! you guys are having a blast!!!...I hope one day i´ll do it to...jajajaja..Take care..!!!

  2. You should Claudia, you will love it!