Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oasis('s), Sandboarding, Nice People, and lots of chocolate croissants and pre-packaged ice cream

Our hut in Cañon de Colca, made of cane and llama fur.
sorry if this is gross! I thought it was so cool.

So there's a bit of recapping to do from the last two weeks. And I'd like to start with the awesome people we've been spending our time with, because Peru has been so much more fun because of them! Eliza left us a few days ago, sadly, though thankfully she's back in NYC safe and sound and already making us offers of margaritas upon our return. We also got to meet up with Wes's family friend Jayne and her boyfriend John in Cuzco, who in addition to tolerating my greed when it comes to brownies and ice cream, were fantastic company in watching our own personal magic show (Hocalus Pocalus! Hocalus Pocalus! is how they do magic in espanish). And finally, we spent the last few days in Lima with Wes's cousins Lorena and Juanchi and their adorable son Giacomo. They were so so welcoming and hospitable to us for our entire stay, and we can't wait to go back at the end of July.

So yes, after leaving Cuzco we headed to Arequipa, where we chilled for a bit while I recovered from salmonella (yeah! Salmonella! I almost died! Pity me! No, kidding, didn't almost die, just laid on a couch and complained while Wes made me tea and we yelled at soccer games on the TV. It was kind of fun). Arequipa is also home to the Monostario de Santa Catalina, an amazing block-sized convent that has its own streets and stores within it- and it's gorgeous. We also paid a visit to Juanita the Ice Princess, the last of the (only) four mummies found fully preserved in the Andes. And like the last ones, she scared the bejesus out of me.

Monastaria de Santa Catelina in Arequipa

When I was fully recovered and our soccer schedule allowed, we headed to Cañon del Colca, which is touted as a popular trek but really consists of some cool spots that you'd rather bus between. Three spots that were especially great were the Cruz de Condor (we saw something like 18 condors simultaneously, which was bomb), the awesome hot springs in Chivay (like a gigantic hot tub), and Sangalle, the oasis at the bottom of the canyon.

Awesome pool #1 in the oasis

The oasis was absolutely amazing, with palm trees and gorgeous swimming pools and huts made of caña and llama fur and more stars (really. it was like a planetarium) than I've ever seen in my life and ethereal canyon walls and cold-ish beer- the best part was descending into the oasis along a baking hot path and watching the pools get closer and closer each minute (did I say best. cause I kind of meant tortuous). That part made climbing back out of the canyon even more painful.

Awesome pool #2 in the oasis

From Cañon del Colca we headed to Ica and Huacachina, which is essentially a nothing city and pretty oasis (respectively) in the middle of sand dunes that stretch for hundreds of kilometers. It felt like a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia, which has a special tenderness for me (because as my sister and I like to recant, my father used to tell us bedtime stories every night - called 'Dream of Dream' stories- which my Dad would pretend to make up, but really they were just selections from Lawrence of Arabia and The Lawrenceville School Stories). Also we got to go sandboarding down the dunes, which was awe-some. I got scared and cursed a lot on the way down, which resulted in a lot of sand in my mouth (karmic?), and Wes ended up with lots of sandburn on his arms and shoulders. We felt pretty tough afterwards, needless to say (uh yeah, sledding on your tummy down a sand dune makes you tough. okay?) .

And then what... ah yes, Lima, the capital city. Very lovely spot. Again, we stayed with Wes's family, who were delightful and made us breakfasts every morning of pate and the most delicious coffee ever and all kinds of nice things, and also helped fund my growing ice cream addition (my sweet tooth keeps going through phases on this trip- right now I'm on chocolate croissants, which are finally accessible after six months of dry spell, as well as pre-packaged ice cream). So we went to a few fantastic museums- worth mentioning is Museo Larco, which walked you through dozens of the different groups that have inhabited Peru, some building vast and culturally complex civilizations as long ago as 5000 BC. We also had our first ceviche! And it was freakin delicious.

So what now, you might ask? Well, loyal readers, we are now in Huaráz, far up north and cradled between the Cordillera Blanca (so named because its the highest set of concentrated peaks in the Andes, and they're all snowcapped) and some other mountain chain I can't remember the name of at the moment. And tomorrow we head out for a five day, four night trek through the montañas. I just checked the weather report, and lo and behold, it's supposed to rain for the next week. So send us good vibes or something! Be back in about a week!


  1. Kate, Kate, Kate...Your blog continues to entertain and delight me. I had NO idea Peru had so much beauty...those oasis...truly gorgeous. Will you ever sandboard again?! You cracked me up with the curse words/karma thing! The entire Rebosio family is following you on the blog and wanted me to comment that they don't know how to post a comment! We are ALL truly enjoying your journey so keep the reports coming. And, as always, I'm praying for you and Wes that you will continue to enjoy and be safe and protected as you experience this magnificent creation. I'm amazed how well you've captured the sights in the photos. Be well and God bless you always,
    Love, Laura/Mom

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