John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 15 February 2015

[Saturday 14 February 2015]

Arequipa: 3-star Hotel Casa Andina Classic Arequipa - Jerusalen 603 Seque 00000, Perú, Telephone Number: +51 54 202070
Colca Canyon: 3-star Hotel Casa Andina Classic Colca - Chivay, Perú, Telephone Number: +51 1 2139739
DAY 5: Arequipa & Colca Canyon B/L/D
Today the tour moves on to the open plains of the Pampa Canaguas and Salinas where you will see llamas, alpacas, and guanacos roaming in the wild. The wetlands are teeming with different species of birdlife, and Patapampa, a high point offers stunning vistas of volcanoes. After about a five hour drive you arrive at Chivay, your base for the night where dinner is included.

Before dawn a cock started to crow repeatedly. Janet was up at 6am and I followed suit. … We got the cases zipped and belted in time to go down for breakfast. It was ca.7.30am, and the coach was due to leave at 8.00am.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 07:51:40
On the coach, waiting to depart. Adventist church across the road from the hotel

It was a grey, hazy day, and it rained later. We’d not been going long when we stopped at a convenience store. We bought supplies of water, diet cola — and a couple of small packets of coca-leaf candies that we saw on sale. These were predominantly mint-flavoured, but were “gritty” because they contained powdered coca leaves. The outskirts of the city were characterised by ugly, poorly built, half-finished dwellings and other buildings.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 08:38:54
Outskirts of Arequipa

Sunday 15 February 2015, 08:41:36
Outskirts of Arequipa

We passed a large cement factory. It was, we were told, owned by Gloria, a group of companies seemingly all-encompassing in its activities — not only cement manufacture, but dairy and food, paper, agricultural industry, transport and logistics services as well. We went through a small town associated with the factory, then ascended into the low clouds.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:08:26
Cement factory

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:08:34
Cement factory

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:08:40
Cement factory

We wound our way among low hills and traversed plains. The uglification of the countryside, at least at the roadsides, by litter, was endemic in Peru. (I noticed a similar tendency in Jordan.)

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:10:20
Leaving the factory (background, right) and heading for the hills

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:34:22
Cacti were often to be seen.

More often than not the best scenery escaped the shutter of my camera as we proceeded.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:47:24
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:56:26
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 09:57:20
Seen from the coach

We stopped to look at a small herd of vicuña, which are wild camelids. They are caught from the wild and shorn for the small amount of very expensive fine wool that they produce. We were told to be very quiet and careful because they were very timid and would flee at the least provocation.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:10:04
Vicuña — with an example of the ubiquitous litter: a discarded plastic water-bottle

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:10:04 (detail)
Vicuña. I removed the bottle during editing.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:10:28

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:12:16
And they’re off!

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:12:16 (detail)
And they’re off!

We resumed our journey—

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:22:00
Seen from the coach

—and stopped for a toilet- and refreshment-break seemingly in the middle of nowhere at a café-cum-gift shop. It was raining, and there was rain on and off through the day.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:31:30
A refreshment stop

Coca tea was recommended, so I had a glass. Janet had a sip and didn’t like it. I thought it was tolerable.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:37:48
An infusion of coca leaves

Sunday 15 February 2015, 10:52:18
Interesting terrain, seen from that location

We proceeded into wetlands, and stopped to photograph more camelids, domesticated this time — a mixed herd, I think, of alpaca and llama.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:15:38
Photo-stop in the wetlands: alpaca?

Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:16:18
Photo-stop in the wetlands: llama?

Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:17:08
Photo-stop in the wetlands

Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:19:10
Photo-stop in the wetlands

Sunday 15 February 2015, 11:20:44
Photo-stop in the wetlands

We now wound our way into more mountainous country.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:06:40
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:09:48
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:15:08
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:15:54
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:16:38
Seen from the coach

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:17:14
Seen from the coach: our destination Chivay

There was a photo-stop before we descended to our destination, Chivay. At this altitude, it was necessary to walk slowly and breathe deeply — a very strange thing!

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:25:24

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:25:34

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:26:20

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:26:00

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:28:30

Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:27:12

We stopped for lunch in the centre of Chivay. It was a buffet; …I chose pieces of alpaca meat and some chips. A trio — charango, guitar, and panpipes-and-drum — began to play and sing. One of the numbers they played was El Condor Pasa — welcome on this occasion, but by the time we left Peru, after every band and music-source we’d come across had played it, it had become very wearisome. When one of the band came round with CDs I bought one of them.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 13:17:32 (movie screen-capture)

Sunday 15 February 2015, 14:03:30
Chivay: plaza and church. Note the cross on the mountainside.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 14:04:20
Chivay: Church and mountainside cross just about line up when one stands in the middle of the plaza.

After lunch, we boarded the coach and were taken the short distance to the hotel. The environs were very slummy, but the hotel itself was very smart. After the formalities and the receiving of our key, we paid a porter to carry the suitcases to the neat little semidetached thatched bungalow which was our room. It was cool — and likely to be very cold during the night — but the porter demonstrated the use of the wall-mounted radiator. There were electric blankets on the bed too, which I think Janet used but which I didn’t find necessary.… Then we donned the winter coats we’d worn on the journey from the UK, and walked back to the main plaza. We took our time; the altitude in Arequipa (some 8000 ft) hadn’t been that noticeable but the additional 4000 ft in Chivay was. We were looking for mini-supermarkets, but weren’t finding any suitably stocked. …Janet went looking down side-streets on her own while I sat myself down in the plaza. She brought some bread and bananas. We thought we were retracing our steps, but the street didn’t look familiar, so we went back and hailed one of the “tuk-tuk” style tricycle taxis. We were only charged two Nuevos Soles.

Sunday 15 February 2015, 15:22:44
Aboard the “tuk-tuk”

Sunday 15 February 2015, 15:24:58
The “tuk-tuk”, just after arrival at the hotel

Sunday 15 February 2015, 15:25:14
The “tuk-tuk” departs.

We’d left the radiator plugged in so the room was warm and toasty.…

[Monday 16 February 2015]

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