June 22, 2011
5:00am wake up knock on the door by the tour guides. It was absolutely freezing in the morning and had woken up at 4am to put on all the shirts that I had brought on the trip to Arequipa. We had breakfast (a piece of bread and instant coffee) in a room and then got in the vans to go to the Valle de Cocla, the Valley of the Condors. It was about a 2 hour ride to the canyons, but I was asleep so it went by fast. This canyon is the fourth biggest canyon in the world. When we arrived at the canyon I was a bit surprised because ever since we found out we were coming here, I kept picturing something that looked like the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This definitely does not look like the Grand Canyon, but really just looks likes mountains similar to the ones we had been seeing on the trek and at the top of Huaynapicchu. But it was gorgeous, and breathtaking as well, even more because we had increased our altitude yet again.
We were kind of bummed out at first because we weren’t seeing any condors. We figured it was a longshot anyways and didn’t get out hopes up, but it would have been quite a sight. Monica had come up to me and told me to go over to the edge because she had just seen a condor, so I went over and sure enough I saw it! I got really excited and ran over to Yianni and Klevis to tell them. Then the next thing we knew there were atleast 18 condors circling above the lookout point. I don’t know where they came from all of a sudden, but it was very cool. They were huge and strange looking, dodging very close to the crowd that was staring at them in awe. They stayed for a few minutes, and then they all disappeared into the canyon together. It was pretty incredible.
We got back into the vans for a 5 hour ride back to Arequipa. I spent half my ride watching Toy Story 3 with Yianni on his Ipad, and the second half fast asleep. We got to Arequipa and stored our stuff at a hostel before going out to find lunch. We ended up eating at a restaurant with a balcony over-looking the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa. We all really loved Arequipa, even only after getting to spend a few hours there. It was a really cool city and we wished we had more time there, but atleast we got to visit. It was really beautiful, not a lot of tourists, and it had a very European feel. We were leaving from the hostel to the bus station at 7pm and had about 15 minutes to kill, so people ran out quickly to make there final food purchases for the 11 hour drive… and Scott came back with an antique chest he bought for 100 soles.
Something weird happened in the cab and I’m writing it here in my blog so I remember. Me, Scott, Andres, and Syeda got into our cab and out of nowhere I started singing the wicked random old song “Your Love” by The Outfield. A belted out a line and then shut up. The second later the cab driver turned on the radio and that exact song was playing. We all tripped out, it was the craziest thing. Life is funny.
Now we’re on the bus, 45 minutes into our ride back to Cusco, and the bust has proven to be quite conducive to getting some effective blogging done. I hope to get some sleep this time.