Monday, February 3, 2014

Hanging Out Around the City

Today was going to start off with rock climbing, but that ended up not happening because of some heavy rain in the morning.  You can imagine how excited I was to get on a rock wall outside, so it was disappointing.  It may have been for the best since I’d have only had 5 hours of sleep, and I did enjoy sleeping in for several more hours after the trip was cancelled.

The morning was very relaxing.  I got more photos edited, so you will finally be able to see my pictures from Urubamba Valley on facebook.  I ended up with over 100 pictures I deemed good enough to edit, so that was quite the endeavor.  I’m going to be even further behind after going to Puno this weekend, it’s entirely possible that I could take 1000 pictures over the course of 3 days. 

At noon I met up with Katherine and her roommate Michelle to buy our bus tickets to Puno.  We ran around the bus station asking all the companies about prices.  Not just Puno, but also other places we may visit later on.  Katherine was smart and brought a book to record all this for future reference.  For Puno, we purchased tickets for 30 soles, bringing the trip total to 155.  We still have to get return tickets from there when we arrive, and we’ll have to buy food and whatnot, but the price of this experience will be very low compared to the same in the US. 

After we got tickets I wanted them to see the market with the great prices, so we went back to Santiago.  They didn’t end up getting anything, but they were glad to know about where to go if they want something quality and inexpensive.  I ended up wanting a backpack because I realized the danger of going to Puno with a backpack with a hole in it.  It’s not worth risking the loss of anything.  I found a Quechua (brand name, not language) backpack that I liked.  It was large enough that it will serve my needs well here and later at school, and I love the fact that I’ll have a Peruvian backpack to bring with me.  After some negotiation I got it for 50 soles, which is under $20.  That’s a great price for this type of bag.  It isn’t an internal frame backpack, but it has some of the perks with a waist strap for taking weight off your back.  It also has a handle so you can carry it easily with your hands, a convenient fact for when I travel with it and my larger hiking backpack.  Now I’m ready to travel!

I hung out with the girls until dinner.  Michelle arrived a few days ago so she’s just learning to navigate the city.  We grabbed lunch near the plaza.  A 3 course meal for about $4.  A random guy with a guitar came in and started singing to us and the other customers.  This must be common, because the owner didn’t flinch at all.  He was very good, and his adorable little daughter sang with him too.  I was genuinely impressed, so I didn’t have any qualms about giving him a few cents when he asked for money.  The last stop was the chocolate museum.  That place is fantastic.  Free chocolate samples.  Cacao tea is incredible.  Hot chocolate that you make yourself with the chocolates that they’ve made from scratch and steaming milk.  I’ll certainly be returning for the chocolate making class, where we get to make and eat our own chocolate in the span of 2 hours. 

Things were peaceful at the house at night, just hanging out with the kids and editing pictures.  I paid for Puno and got some more details from Monica.  It sounds like we’re going to have someone to take us around the city for our trips to the islands and Sillustani, as well as someone to pick us up from the bus terminal.  That’s crazy to get all that for under $50.  It makes me excited to do other trips throughout Peru!

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