Monday, October 08, 2012

Peru: Unplanned Free Day

We got up early today to make sure that I could check in by 7:35am for our next leg of our vacation to Quito. We had breakfast and if you are thinking that it would have been a pleasant surprise to be served something else, you'd be right. But breakfast this morning was a fried (or scrambled egg), 2 buns, fruit salad with yogurt and granola, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee with rich milk. You must be thinking that it sounds very delicious and it was but it was the same breakfast like every other day that we have been here. But you see how perspective is everything? I can make the same breakfast sound like it's a gourmet meal and appreciate the routine of knowing what you are going to eat everyday. Dr. Oz would be happy about me simplifying my life with a predictable breakfast. 
Our tour guide was supposed to come to pick us up at 8:45 but at 9:45 no one came so we asked Roxanna (one of the staff of the guest house) to call Catherine to ask where the guide was. Catherine was out of town so we said that we'd be okay to cancel the tour and get a refund because we had a few things to do today that we were hoping to do after we returned at 2:30pm. Actually last night I was contemplating cancelling the tour for today but we had already pre-paid and I thought we might not get a refund if we cancelled. The guide not arriving worked in our favour.
We left the guesthouse at 10:00am and went to the airport to check in because when I was trying to do it online, it would not allow us to check in. I could access the reservation but could not complete the check in. The taxi ride to the airport was 5 soles (about $2.25) each way. We got checked in so that we could arrive at the airport at 6:30 instead of 5:30 and we could get  good seats for the flights to Quito.
Then we got another taxi to the Qorikancha (I think it's really funny how I can manage to communicate in Spanish when it is necessary; I am also writing some Spanish words using the English alphabet instead of the tilde as I should). When I asked the driver to let us off at the local artisanal market, he said that we were not yet at our destination but I said it was okay - we needed to go to the supermarket and the local market.
When I gave him as much tip as the taxi ride, he looked very surprised. He had this look on his face like: "Those crazy foreigners; you can't figure them out." We walked around the market and I bought a silver necklace and 3 pairs of earrings for my nietas (granddaughters). We then went to one of the food vendors and ordered a bowl of soup and a mug of hot chocolate for each of us. One bowl was quite large but probably not enough for two people but certainly generous enough for a meal instead of an appetizer. Guess how much that was? 7 soles for a huge bowl of soup. We asked what time the market was closing tonight (at 9pm) and the cook (who may be the owner) was excited to tell us that we must come back there to eat again. I may try to guinea pig but I have to build up the courage. It's just that it looks so weird on the plate (only from pictures) that I don't know if I could sit in front of a plate of it and actually eat it.
We came back to the guesthouse and Robin had a nap because our sleep is still quite restless and apparently the altitude will cause that along with vivid dreams. Vivid would hardly describe them. More like crazy dreams. I was thinking that I should have a cup of cocoa leaf tea but since I am leaving for Ecuador tomorrow, I don't want any drug sniffing dog stopping next to me at the airport. Better that I have some munya tea. That would be safer. And if the thought crossed my mind that I should bring some back to Canada, it is perfectly illegal to import/transport cocoa leaves outside of Peru, Bolivia and I think Ecuador. So unless I want to be blogging from jail, I am sticking to plata (silver). By the way, can you blog from jail? Maybe not something I want to be finding out. Club Fed is not as good as Club Med.
I'm going off this afternoon to visit some of the museums around the Plaza de Armes and maybe take a walk to the San Blaz area again. Tomorrow we leave at 7:30 am for Quito so I'm not sure how available the internet is going to be. We have 5 hours in Bogota and I am thinking that it might be nice to see some of the city but there may not be enough time to do that and be back at the airport two hours in advance. Besides I have not done any research so it would be best to stay at the airport. The last time I was in Columbia (Cartegena) it was quite beautiful but I was with Mom and Dad on the Panama Canal cruise and that day it was so hot that Dad was not feeling well at all. So I asked one of the vendors in the market if Dad and Mom could sit with him and I went off for an hour around one of the squares in Cartegena. I found a lovely Catholic church where a service was being conducted and I sat in the back for several minutes. With the stress of having to worry about Dad getting really sick on the cruise, the church was a peaceful and calming reprieve. Some of you may know about the circumstances of that cruise and the particular stress that I am referring to but that is definitely another blog post by itself.  
Wish us well on the next leg of our journey and continue to read and follow along. I am much appreciating the comments - especially from Eddie!

It's now later in the evening and we went for a walk in the San Blaz area and then to the Plaza de Armes. I have to say that in every block, there is at least one church and on some blocks, there are several - as at the Plaza (see pictures below).

After that we walked back to the market for dinner (opposite direction). Today we walked for almost 10km which is what we have been averaging daily on this trip. One the way there, there was some kind of festival that has been going on for days (we are hearing drums and fireworks every night and costumed people walking the streets in parades). This parade was just outside of the market as we were leaving so we stood and watched for a while. One little boy who was no more than 4 or 5 years old caught my eyes. He was wearing a white bear costume and he was just strutting his stuff!! He would take off his mask, do a couple of somersaults, walk over to the crowd for a high five, put on his mask and do a little bump and grind which would last for several seconds and then he'd repeat the whole thing again. I have to tell you he was just the cutest little thing!

 As you can see, practically every picture I took featured this little rascal. You had to see him in action to appreciate just how good he was. When the parade ended, he looked tired but disappointed. I think he stole the entire show. I can't imagine how his mother is going to get that costume clean.
After that, we went back to the guesthouse to organize our suitcases - all the cold weather clothes are now packed at the bottom and the warm weather clothes are now ready for wearing. I'm going to say good night and will catch up tomorrow or maybe Wednesday - depending on availability of internet.


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