Last we spoke I was on my way to try the Guinea Pig frito in Puno. They skinned me a nice one and it had a gamey flavor, sort of like bunny. The next morning we got on a bus and headed for Bolivia. We got some lovely stamps on our passports courtesy of the immigrations department at the border so now I have Bolivia, Peru, Jamaica and Brasil on my passport. I think the US immigrations people will think I am either a drug mule or serious partier.
Bolivia was wonderful, in the spirit of sounding like my mother, you have to hear about this place. We picked the best hotel in town, it was top of the line Ocean City quality with a beautiful view of the lake. Get this folks, including breakfast it cost us 70 Bolivars per night which works out to under $9 per night. Of course, during our stay we took the boat ride from hell to the island d'el sol y la luna. The little boat only went about 3 miles per hour, I could have kayaked faster. It was miserably cold, I had my winter gear, everyone else was dressed for summer and you could see them shake. When we arrived at the island we felt obligated to hike to the top, probably a difference of 1000 feet but we only had 1 hour to enjoy the island so we scrambled very fast. All you mcom hikers probably think that shouldn't have been so painful but we were starting out at 12,500 feet hiking up to 13,500 feet...needless to say I got a little winded. I was too miserable to take any pictures.
The little town in Bolivia didn't have too many tourists, of the few they had none were Americanos which was nice. We ate dinner at Cafe Bistrot where we had a spirited conversation about satanic Jorge Bush with owners Fatima and Roberto. Roberto used to live in the US and broke down in tears when he spoke about the situation in New Orleans. On a side note, I would tell you all exactly how I feel about that Idioto Supremo en la Casa Blanco but I don't want Homeland Security stopping me a la Cat Stevens when I try to reenter the US. I will save that for a later time.
The next day we crossed back into Peru and got on the local bus back to get to Arequipa. The guidebook said the Arequipa was unsafe and to beware, but everyone has been very nice and we haven't had any concerns, knock on wood.
This computer is not allowing me to upload my images easily so I am going to have to save the pics for another time, I have a great picture of Bob's lago, the mountains outside our hotel room and a rather blurry picture of my GPS showing 13,500 ft but I will post it anyway. Arequipa is a large city that is very business oriented. There are no Quechuan people here and I am watching everyone operate at a business pace for a change. There aren't that many tourists and we will stay here through tomorrow and then head out for a very touristy tour of Colca Canyon.
We also visited the Taca airline offices today and managed to change the airline ticket for the flight we missed in Lima to one for Arequipa to Lima on the night we need to leave so we didn't lose any money on that snafu. We felt pretty proud of ourselves to be able to navigate this entire mess while speaking espanol. So far since landing in Cusco I figure I will have spent maybe $300 for the two weeks here in Peru, including hotels, travel, restaurant meals 3x day and various tours. I would have spent more breathing air in my living room in Baltimore. Mom, Dad, friends, family, don't expect me to hang around in the Estados Unitos when I am ready to retire on my measely social security check in a few years. The Republicans always tell us that if we don't like it here we can leave.....thank you, I think I will.