Saturday night fever, staying alive by the Bee Gees is blasting from the sound system of the tiny rickety Daewoo car we are in and just when I thought the last song had perfectly captured the moment… The next song is Bon Jovi’s living on a prayer. The universe has such a sweet sense of humor.
Of course, we continue to survive the various journeys by buses going round rocky mountain roads, drivers who communicate by beeping the horn rather than slow down, and even rickshaws. Two things keep me getting into these unmarked taxis and vehicles, one; we need to get places and two; I have developed the belief system that no one wants to willingly crash their own vehicle and livelihood.
The last few days have been a whirlwind of adventure and travel, each day has been spent in a new city. We are desperate to sample everything that each area has to offer and not let an adventure pass us by. Yet every day the clock would strike and our fun would come to an end. Time to get another bus and pack those bloody bags again. We have probably spent more time on buses and in waiting rooms than exploring but time is running out and this is the quick push to get to Cusco and hopefully Machu Pichu.
We have just left Arequipa, a town which I fell in love with instantly but bearly spent 12 hours in. After some time spent in the rural towns in Peru such as Pisco, Paracas and Nazca, the bustling and large town of Arequipa felt homely. Arequipa is the second biggest city in Peru after the capital Lima. The mixture of great architecture, bustling streets, and modern amenities provide everything a tired traveler could wish for.
Living on a prayer
Those who know me well can attest to my being thrifty and seeking out a good deal. So when this unplanned trip to Peru presented itself in a bid to keep cost down (and in Peru, this is extremely easy to do) I have been booking up into hostels for as little as £5 a night per person. This has afforded us the most basic amenities and the ability to travel for as long as we have but in some cases, my frugality has gone a step too far. Until yesterday, I thought that Peru had a huge water crisis given the places we were staying lacked hot water.
These places aren’t always in fashionable neighborhoods and don’t have much in the way of plush bedding or even soap. By staying in these places, we have met some of the most hardworking and generous people you could possibly imagine. At our hostel in Nazca, the owner Julio picked us up from the bus terminal, booked our flights over the Nazca lines, gave us breakfast all included in the price of £10. He let us check out as later as 10pm and then rather than call us a taxi, drove us back to the station himself.
The Peruvians we have encountered have all been super friendly, I dare you to come to Peru and not have someone try to speak to you at length. On the flight to Lima, I sat next to an amaising girl who did not let my lack of Spanish and No English on her side get in the way. ‘So there is no way for us to communicate?’ she said, I shrugged my shoulders, and threw her an awkward smile in a way only a Londoner can, relieved that I won’t have to be put outside of my comfort zone. Percilla got her google translate app out and before I knew it we had a three-hour conversation using google translate and I started to remember what life was like before London and how I used to say thank you to bis drivers.
Not many people will probably realise this but Mark really prefers the finer things in life, he feels much more at home in our first class bus seats than the drab looking hostels we have been staying at. So after another one of my good deals started to present us with the risk of bed bugs or maybe because he was feeling poorly, he put his foot down and booked a nice hotel in Arequipa, complete with built-in spa and Roman baths.
After a long bath and a massage, we felt human again and I must admit I am converted to his way of traveling.