Wow, weve been in Per for a long time now, and have yet to make the effort to update this thing. The last post was from Copacabana in Bolivia, which seems like a while ago now, being New Years and all. I recall anticipating lots of emails as people return to work and have nothing better to do, but alas, I have been disappointed.
We bused from Lake Titicaca to Arequipa, a beautiful old city with white colonial buildings, plenty of places to eat out and a great market with live frogs for juicing. On the down side, there are more taxis in Arequipa than people, with bumper to bumper traffic for most of the day. See the photos below.
Arequipa is surrounded by a couple of mountains, one of which is the active volvano Misti, which we could see from the rooftop of our hostel… The other main attractions in the area are the Colca and Cotahuaysi Canyons, the deepest in the world. Colca is much easier to access, and we will explore it by foot when Jo arrives at the end of Feb.
From Arequipa we caught a night bus to Pisco, a small town 4 hours south of the capital, Lima. The town was destroyed in an earthquake in August 2007 and NGOs have been there ever since. A couple of international observers purportedly recorded the earthquake as over 8 on the richter scale. If this was acknowledged by the Peruvian government weve been told the law would require them to pay for the reconstruction… so the government called it a 7.9, thereby avoiding spending the money on reconstruction, and have also been accused of keeping international aid pledged for the victims to boot!
The locals did get a few thousand Nuevo Soles to help, but the price of building materials skyrocketed and made it difficult for people to afford rebuilding. The upshot is that there is a lot of construction still to be done, with people living in tents without toilets and sanitation over 15 months after the event. We are working with an organisation called Pisco Sin Fronteras, which spawned out of a group called Burners Without Borders, which itself is a group of hippies and alternate lifestylers who travel to disaster zones to help out, in between partying hard at the Burning Man festivals in the United States.
Push starting the truck….
Basically, we get up every morning and have eggs for breakfast (almost EVERY morning), have an 8 oclock meeting, get asssigned a job, and work from 9ish to 4 in the hot hot sun.
Lei with a local
A 150m trench to get water to a slum… the locals helped out too!
We have had a break, going to an oasis called Huacachina. It used to be known for its healing waters and as a resort for newly weds, but the water level dropped too low, now the local council pumps water into a muddy puddle that people still believe has curative properties… ewwww!
Las Ballestas, Islands that are mined for guano and also part of a National Park…
Paracas, a 15 minute drive from Pisco for a much needed break.
Back to Pisco for a bit, Bee and Kaila are coming over to help us out before we do a quick and dirty tour of the sights.
Dirty from a days work, good effort Bee 8)
posted Tuesday February 2009