Arequipa is called the white city for its lovely blocks of volcanic rock that all the old buildings are constructed of. It is a lovely colonial city with grand palisades surrounding the main plaza and an imposing cathedral to rival San Marcos in the Vatican. I felt immediately comfortable here. The Peruvians I have met are immensely friendly and willing to help. After a sleepless night at a highly recommended hostel that was overrun with people, I found a place where I could get my own room for less. Turned out to be riddled with bed bugs and full of people partying till 4am with loud music blasting. So again I changed locations and finally got a night sleep before flying to Bogota, Colombia.
I really enjoyed walking around Arequipa. Its lovely streets, passage ways, old convent, and grand plaza made it the prettiest city I have seen as yet in South America. Of course, it is far smaller than most – probably had a population of 100,000 at the time I was there. I stayed in a noisy hostel the first night and decided to find a more comfortable spot. I did, only to get overrun by students from Argentina cooking beef on the parilla in the patio and drinking till 3 or 4 am. So the pursuit of quiet continued, leading me to find a hotel room a few blocks away. All seemed well till I lay my head down only to find myself being attacked by bedbugs.
Colombia: Bogota – Musicology Hostel (Le, nice guys) after one night elsewhere, late arrival, walk into the favela area and pickup by police/escort, house where Bolivar lived with his lover and window where he escaped/jumped to freedom, museums, historical downtown, nice metro/bus to other area, beautiful, hike 2x up the mountain (already high), finally on to Medellin – beautiful, flowers, canyons (name?), Zona Rosa, train all along valley, tram, park, walking with friend (look up) and learning about culture, meeting his family – trip on way, stopping on road there – took a taxi/collectivo? then on to Salento/cafetera, other meetings, nice guy and his family on the moutnain, hummingbird presrrve and palms there, guy from villager running up the mountain, beagle that followed me, staying on cafetera – old coffee trees from Ethiopia, trying to single source them – then Santa Fe de Antiochia, more history – Bolivar there also, brought coffee and cocoa from ???, was capital at one time, beautiful square, then place with stone mountain, didn’t climb, beautiful view, walked a long way and takled to a man who remembered drug wars and shooting of his neighbors and family, so scary, running into James again at the hostel – flew to San Salvador, ride in jeep, offer to take me around (for a lot of money), then on to Belize, sand spit, time there, natves who escaped slavery and my friends, great meal, plantains/fish/beans, then on to Flores, Dia de los muertos, friens