When I went to bed last night I didn't realise my room had a skylight. The moon light lit up the room and made it difficult to get to sleep. In the morning the room filled with sun light so I couldn't sleep after 7.30. The house and grounds were previously used by religious types so this set up would have been ideal for them, but now it is a hotel less so!
Coca leaves are used here to help with altitude sickness. It is apparently a legal high equivalent of cocaine! It's recommended that you have 2 cups of coca tea in the morning and 2 in the evening. 10 leaves in a cup with boiling water brewed for 4 minutes is recommended. One strong cup is apparently equivalent to half a line of cocaine, but I didn't feel that. I have been drinking it at every opportunity and have bought coca toffees too and my symptoms seem to have subsided.
Breakfast was coca tea, coffee, mango juice, scrambled egg sandwich and cheese and ham sandwich.
I met the others at 9am for a 30 minute bus ride to a view point which overlooked Arequipa. There was a square in front of a municipal building. It was an obvious tourist attraction because there was a school of local kids there as well. There were stalls of local people selling local things including the traditionally made ice cream. It was a cross between sorbet and ice cream, vanilla flavoured, very sweet with cinnamon on top. Very nice but too sickly to finish it all. We had a wander around then got back on the bus.
The next stop was at the convent where we met up with Pelar from last night who was a tour guide here. She showed us around explaining the history of the convent which was really interesting. The convent was similar in design and colour the the archbishop's house we were staying in. At the end of the tour we went to the coffee shop where I had Inca Cola. It was a fizzy yellow drink that tasted like a cross between Iron Brew and Dandelion and Berdock.
We walked back into town to the main square where an exhibition of stone carving was going on. Our guide then took us to a building with a heavy Mor influence and inside the walls and ceilings were intricately painted with culturally significant designs and explained the history of the reglious iconography.
Just a short walk from there was the indoor market. This sold everything from fruit and meat to TVs and slippers. We stopped at a fruit stall where I had an Cherimoya (custard apple) and orange juice blended shake which was lovely. On the way out I had an enchilada (a kind of Cornish pastie).
We proceeded to the tourist tour shop were we bought tickets for the volcano cycle tour tomorrow. After that we were free for the rest of the day.
We had identified a nice roof top bar that overlooked the square so went up for a beer. Climbing the 8 flights of stairs made me feel a bit dizzy but knowing there was a cold beer at the top helped. The view overlooked not only the square but the whole city and the mountains beyond. We sat in there chatting for an hour before heading back to the hotel.
Checked my email when I got back and found I had an emergency bit of work to do. The phrase "let down by technology" spanger to mind here. I just wanted to change someone's password on Google Apps but the internet connection in the hotel is so rubbish that I had to switch to the local 3G network which kept dropping out. Managing a Google Apps domain over a mobile phone was almost impossible. When you zoomed in and tried to click the settings cog it didn't work. You could only click it when you were zoomed out, but then everything was so small you couldn't read it. And don't get me started on trying to have an Andriod device trying to use a different accounts. It took almost 2 hours of fannying around.
I don't know where we had dinner because I was emailing and walking while following in the others. I used Google's augmented reality translation app to translate the menu for everyone. I had what the translator said was Grandma's Lasagne, which was regular lasagne with mushrooms and mozzarella. There wasn't that much but it was just about enough. Flores had ordered chicken and avocado sandwiches but couldn't finish them and offered them up to anyone in the group. Strangely there were no takers so I jumped in. I thought they would make an excellent pack lunch for my cycling tour the next day. The waitress kindly wrapped them up in a doggie bag for me.
Felt pretty knackered after the meal so went back to hotel as I had an early start tomorrow.
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