Food, friends, cats, the beach, llamas, and architecture

Hello friends! It’s been a lovely week here in Peru as my trip is slowly coming to an end (whilst I write this post, I will try not to panic about that). Since the first couple weeks were spent consuming a lot of carbs in the form of french fries, rice, and ice cream, we have been doing a lot of market shopping and cooking at home.

Last week we made turkeys with popsicle sticks and paper circles! It was a lot of fun because the kids got really into seeing what colors they could make from yellow, red, and blue. Every day I am so thankful for all of the supplies that my friends and family donated to me!

The girls have also become quite obsessed with picking flowers and putting them on our heads.

Thursday, Louise arrived from Belgium, and lives with me and Sarah. Friday was Australia day, so everyone got their face painted by Sarah and I, and we had a barbecue of meat and salad! This little kitty was here to clean up the scraps ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday morning, Sarah, Louise, Sarah’s mom, and I left for the beach! We took a taxi to the bus station and it was a two hour bus ride. The first day, we checked into the cheapest hostel we could find, put on our suits, and headed to the beach. It was SO crowded. The beach is completely covered in umbrellas which you pay 15 soles ($5) for, and it’s completely covered with Peruvian families (at least it wasn’t a tourist beach). There are people walking in between the umbrellas selling everything from churros filled with Manjar (like dulce de leche or caramel) to ceviche (raw salmon “cooked” in lemon juice) to ice cream to empanadas. We laid on the beach until about six o’ clock, and then headed back.

Here’s the fun part. Sarah went to go check on her mom, so Louise and I go upstairs to our room after getting the key from the front desk. Our door is already open, and there is a large Peruvian family lounging about on our beds watching TV. Panic ensues. I start freaking out asking the workers where my stuff is, and then I realize that they have given me a key to a different room. I find the room and it is a one bed room the size of a closet with our stuff thrown all over it. Luckily it was all there, but clearly we could not stay in the room, so I ask for another one. They find us a room with two beds, and tell me it’s the same price. At this point I’m fuming and go downstairs to demand a better price for such a crappy room after being treated so badly, and the owner yells at me in spanish “You don’t tell ME the price, I tell YOU”. She then yanks the keys from my hands, and we go find a new hostal.

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It was a rough evening, but we had a huge dinner of meat and frenchfries followed by ice cream, which made it better. There was also a pisco sour (Pisco, sugar, egg white, lemon juice) festival downtown! It was basically a Stage with a big area sectioned off in front of it where dance groups performed! They also had some competitions where they gave away free bottles of pisco (distilled wine, basically grape whiskey) like the first person to come up whose birthday was that day. One of the competitions was who was dancing and got called up to dance in front of the crowd, and we got called! We danced for a couple minutes to the music the band was playing and won a bottle of pisco and got filmed to be on television! It was quite an experience.

The next day, we took a taxi to a smaller beach cove. Unfortunately, it was just as crowded, but definitely more beautiful.

The water was freezing, but it was so hot outside that it felt good. I was challenged to a swimming race by some peruvians, and to the surprise of the guy I raced, I won by quite a lot, which was a very fun moment.

Even though it was crowded, it was relaxing to lay in the sun and feel the sand between my toes.

This week, we have made masks! Wit the little ones, we did monsters, and I have to say they have come out wonderfully.

Everyone keeps saying we are in the middle of the rainy season here, but clearly they have never been to Georgia in June. It has rained maybe 4 days I’ve been here. The weather continues to be gorgeous and inspire lots of pictures.

After Sarah and Louise both did the free walking tour of downtown Arequipa, I decided to do it before I left. It was really nice being shown some of the more beautiful and architectural sites of the city! This is a church built during the Spanish colonial period, and the inside is completely covered in baroque designs. The stone carvings have a lot of Incan influence too such as pictures of pumas, condors, and native plants.

Arequipa used to be filled with buildings like this with the colored stone and balconies so suitors could serenade their beaus with guitar songs. There was a period where everyone was mandated to take the paint off the stone and return it to its natural color. Since the stone is made from volcanic ash, this color is white, and therefore Arequipa has the nickname “La Ciuidad Blanca” or “The White City”


Written by HOOP Peru Volunteer Lead Teacher Morgan Lehr

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