A Travellerspoint blog

March 1

Home at last

Finally caught a 3:20 pm flight from Calgary to Saskatoon, after sitting around the airport all day. Kalindi and Joel met us and we got our vehicle back. We had supper and spent the night at Nancy's. Today we go home. So our excellent adventure is over and back to normal life. Thanks to all you readers who kept me posting day after day.

Posted by katdill 05:47 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

February 28

Last day in Lima

View Ecuador and Peru on katdill's travel map.

We packed up and checked out of our B&B. They stored our luggage for us as our flight doesn't leave until after midnight. We walked over and visited a couple of artisan markets before catching the bus to downtown. The Lima city bus system seems very chaotic. Many different companies running many different quality buses on the same routes. The conductors call out the route as they approach each stop. The bus drivers try to beat other buses to the next stop. Very competitive, it seems.
We had lunch at a Hari Krishna restaurant - good food and very cheap. We walked over to the Plaza del Armes (I think every city in South America calls their town square the same thing!!!) and had a look at the old buildings. Thank goodness for the colonnades, I was trying to stay out of the sun, to protect my sunburn. We meandered back towards Miraflores, the neighbourhood we are staying in until foot weariness dictated it was time to catch the bus again. We rode down to the central park in Miraflores and sat in the shade for a while, eating ice cream. Then we walked down to the Malecon (walkway along the oceanfront). I sat in the shade in a nice park while Don did some exploring. Then it was time for supper - ended up eating in the noisiest restaurant possible, I think. We sat along the busy street where all the buses come. I counted 24 buses in 5 minutes. Unbelievable! People getting on and off in the middle of the road, dodging other buses and cars.
Then back to the B&B to pick up our luggage and wait for the taxi we had arranged. It didn't arrive so we had the desk clerk call another one. Finally got to the airport around 9:00 p.m. and settled in to wait for our flight. After taking off around 1:00 we got some sleep on the flight to Houston and arrived there on time. We got our flight to Denver OK, but the plane didn't make it off the runway - they could not get one of the motors to start, so back to the gate we went. We had only an hour to make our connection in Denver to Saskatoon so it was obvious we would not make it. After the usual stand in line (which we are getting very good at!!), we got on a flight to Calgary. They figured that there are six flights to Saskatoon a day from Calgary so there is more chance of getting on a flight. All the seats are taken on every flight until March 3rd. They have us booked on that flight, which gets in at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, but hopefully we will be able to get on standby on an earlier flight. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Posted by katdill 06:42 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

February 27

Trip to the Palomino Islands

We had been planning to visit the Ballestas Islands (the poor man's Galapagos), but when we found out it would take from 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. we changed our minds. It would have been another 6 or so hours sitting on a bus again. So instead we arranged a shorter tour of some islands off the harbour right outside Lima, the Palomino Islands. We were picked up by a taxi from our hotel
New furniture vendor with his load on his hand cart

New furniture vendor with his load on his hand cart

and taken to the harbour, where we joined the tour group on a water taxi which took us out to the tour launch. We spent 4 hours on the water (and I got sunburned even tho I had 60 spf sunscreen on) and toured around the islands. One of the islands was used as a prison for political prisoners and terrorists for years. Then the new president was going to move the prisoners off the island. They revolted and took control of the island. So the Navy was called in and they bombed the island and destroyed the people and the facilities. There are only ruins left and it is illegal for civilians to land on the island. Our guide said officially 112 people died, but apparently the common people say it was a higher number. We saw many different seabirds, including penquins! and of course, the sea lions. Don went in swimming with the sea lions and enjoyed it immensely. They seem very curious about the boat and people, and are not aggressive, which is a good thing because one of the males can weigh up to 300 kilos!Don swimming with the Sea Lions

Don swimming with the Sea Lions

On our way back the guides stopped the boat and went swimming. A lone pelican kept hanging around and trying to bite both the people and the boat. They had to hit it with a flipper to get it to stay away. Very strange behaviour. I think maybe the fishermen toss the pelicans bits of fish and he was expecting us to feed him as well. We got safely back to our B&B and after a rest, went out and had a very nice supper. Tomorrow is our last day in Lima, we fly out late tomorrow night.

Posted by katdill 19:13 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

February 26

Travel to Lima

Picked up early to go to the airport. After a 1 1/2 hour flight over almost complete desert, we arrived in Lima. Apparently Lima is the second largest city in the world in a desert. After arriving at our B&B, we went out walking and visited Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid and complex which was built and used from 200 to 700 A.D. It has only been being excavated since 1981 or so. Before that it was simply a gravelly hill in the centre of town. So they're still working on it, both excavating and restoring what they have excavated.
After walking around the Miraflores neighbourhood and having lunch, we returned to our B&B for a rest. Then off to catch a city bus down to the Circuito Magico del Agua - a sound and light show in a large park with many fountains of different types.
Fountain with projected lights and images

Fountain with projected lights and images

It is amazing the different types of fountains they have and the clarity of the images they can project. Some of the fountains are for playing in - tunnel to walk thru, ones with unpredictable spray, etc. - everywhere kids are getting soaked and having a ball. The park is full of people, mostly families with little kids, music playing, quite a party atmosphere. We even saw a group of performers in masks and costumes dancing to music, some of them were on stilts yet they could dance on them as if they weren't there! Here's a photo I snapped of one just before he started dancing with me!
Masked stilt dancer

Masked stilt dancer

Posted by katdill 19:38 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

February 24 & 25

Trip to Colca Canyon

We were picked up early in the morning and after picking up the rest of a van load of people, we headed off to the town of Chivay. We again passed through the nature reserve which has the wild vicuna, but this time with a very knowledgeable guide who was intent on teaching us what she could about vicunas, llamas, and alpacas, as well as the geology and climatology of the region. We stopped several times for pictures, both of the animals and the scenery. The highest point on the road was 4910 meters above sea level. By the time we got there, it was cloudy, misty, windy, and cold and all along the road were these little stone cairns, made as offerings in thanks for having safely traveled that far. Then we started down to the Colca Valley and Chivay. We had lunch there and were taken to our hotels for a siesta. After a couple of hours, we were picked up and taken to the hot springs for a lovely soak with a great view. Then we went to a restaurant with music and folklore dancers.Musicians in Restaurant

Musicians in Restaurant

Very interesting and we got to dance to. Apparently, dancing is considered "massaging Pachamama (Mother Earth) and so is a good thing for everyone. We also stopped by the town square to watch the local people celebrate Carnival with singing and dancing around the gift trees until they cut them down. There were three different communities of people each celebrating in their own corner of the square. Gorgeous costumes, but the music left a little to be desired.
Next morning we had to be up and ready to go for 5:50 a.m. We drove farther down the valley past the point it becomes the Colca Canyon. We arrived at the Condor Viewpoint just a few minutes before the first condor came up out of the valley and flew right past me.Condor


We got to see 4 or 5 condors come up out of the canyon. Very exciting, they just glide past with seemingly no effort. Beautiful! Then we drove back down the bumpy road, stopping several times for photos of the views and saw 2 more condors on the way. We had lunch back in Chivay again and then 3 1/2 hours back to Arequipa. Two long days of riding in the van, but with a good guide and the joy of seeing the condors as well as the spectacular scenery made it well worth while.

Posted by katdill 19:11 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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