Yesterday was more of a day to get things done in Cuzco. It was nice that it was much quieter than when the festival was going on. There were still a lot of cars and horns honking, but the crowds weren´t there, which was nice. My watch doesn´t work any more, so I had to suck it up and buy another one.
That night, I went on an overnight bus for about 9 hours to get from Cuzco to Arequipa. As nice as Cuzco is, I was happy to change the location for good. The bus was pretty comfortable with reclining and comfy seats, but I only slept okay. I got to Arequipa at 5 AM, then went to my hotel to sleep for awhile.
After that, I went out into the city. Arequipa is the 2nd largest city in Peru & is pretty nice. There is lots of white stone that the buildings are made of, which make it look clean. The Plaza de Armas (central plaza) is very nice. There is a huge fountain in the middle that they were cleaning this morning. This afternoon, I found out why. There were hundreds of pigions everywhere! And people feeding them & letting them get on their arms. It was crazy! But I guess they had to clean all the bird poo :) The buildings all around the Plaza have stone arches, and the cathedral at one end spans the entire block!
I wandered around and went inte the cathedral, another church, some old mansions that are now being used for other things, a couple parks, a market, and a couple museums. I picked all free things but one. I went to a really cool museum that has a real frozen body that was sacrificed to the gods over 500 years ago! It was only found in 1995 by two climbers (it was on a 20,000 foot mountain). The body is of a girl about 14 years old, and she was of the Incan times. She was sacrificed to the gods. The journey to get there took about 3 months, because she went to Cuzco, then the Arequipa area, then up the huge mountain.
They said she fasted before she was sacrificed so that the sedatives would work faster. They gace those to her, then they hit her above the right eyebrow, fracturing her skull & killing her. Then they put her in the fetal position and buried her in a traditional hole in the ground. Before she was found, she had been exposed and rolled down the mountain a ways. She was very well preserved, though. When the climbers found her, she had only been exposed for 15-25 days.
The climbers later returned to see what else they could find. They found 2 other bodies, as well as pottery, textiles, rocks specially places, grass they planted for camps, etc. The whole thing was fascinating, but I coulnd´t even imagine!
Arequipa is a nice city, but I feel like I´ve seen it in the day :) I leave tomorrow morning at 3:30 AM to trek the Colca Canyon...ouch! But I guess all the companies do that. I think it´s so we hopefully see condors at a specific spot. The trek isn´t what I thought it would be. I guess I don´t camp...I´ll be staying in hotels or bungalows or something each night. Ah well. It´s supposed to be amazingly beautiful. The canyon is said to be the 2nd largest in the world (the deepest is 150 meter deeper and close by here in Peru). It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! I´ll be in touch after your long holiday there in the States. Enjoy the 4th!