Although the scenery in and around the Canyon was pretty amazing, with deep gorges, huge cacti, levels and levels of farming terraces, and little authentic village houses, we could not wait to get the heck out of there. It was SO dry, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything that parching in my entire life. And, Calgary is a dry city. We both slept poorly, and woke up with cracked bleeding lips and plugged snorty noses. You couldn’t even blink without your eyeballs sticking to the back of your lids, and your mouth was toasty from the moment you swallowed a drink. Poor Josh has a cold with a runny nose, so he lost a lot of moisture as it was. We made another stop at our plaza farmacia for some decongestants and more Cipro to finish our 5 day course.
After a couple hours of driving down an unbearably dusty gravel and dirt road in our cramped and stuffy minibus, we stopped in the Canyon where the Giant Condor’s fly. They are the biggest birds’ in the world capable of flying, with wing spans up to 3.5 meters, weighing about 13kg, they can live up to 80 years and have 50-60 babies (according to our guide Ramiro). We stayed put for about 1 hour, but didn’t see any,but then did a small jaunt from the buses and all the tourists to another look out point where we saw a few of them fly very close. It was difficult to catch them for a photo, but they really were neat birds. They don’t flap their wings to fly, but rather use the wind to propel themselves.
Our condor viewing adventure lasted from 0600 to lunchtime (a long time in the bus), before we went back to Chivay for lunch. This time Josh and I skipped out on the tourist trap cafe and found another place on the plaza to eat a fast meal before catching up with the group. I think that there’s such thing as Peruvian time, just like a Mexican minute or island/valley time. We always seem to show up first, and on time, whereas no one else did. This, after we rushed to shovel down our lunch to get back to the bus on time.
After another three hours in the bus and we arrived in Arequipa. More than 10 hours of driving and I wish I had more to tell. The Canyon tour was nice to see, but I’m not sure I’d choose that over the island homestay that we had to give up. I’m a little disappointed about not doing that (due to illness), but we felt the need to move on and contiue withe our tentative itinerary.
Tomorrow we’ll consider ourselves lucky to sleep in past 5 AM. Tonight, we’re relaxing in the only 5 star hotel in Arequipa, which I didn’t know when I booked it. It has an outdoor pool, but it might be too cold for it. And, although its nicer, the price was much less than what we spent in Puno near the lake . It was sure nice to have a hot shower and climb into a nice big comfy bed after all that dust.