Road to Arequipa: Crossing Rivers in Pick Up Trucks and Potholes in Double Decker Buses

February 29, 2016

We left Capechica on February 12, our destination was Arequipa via Juliana. One of the bridges was under repair and the detour through the ditch was impassable because of the rains. We were told that the collectivo could take us to one side of the river and then we had to get across to a collectivo on the other side.  I thought we would have to wade with our packs but there were these pick up trucks shuttling people across. People rushed for the cargo area and filled it up so that there was no room for me and Eliot. Oddly enough, there was room in the back seat so we jumped in and crossed.  It was like we were in extras from a movie on immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.

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I got the last seat in the collectivo on the other side next to a man with a young girl on his lap. I offered the kid some wafers. The dad started chatting with me. He knew where Canada was and wanted to know about it. He was very shy but wanted to talk with a foreigner. I was not sure what to say luckily my Spanish limited me to talking about food and mountains.

Juliaca is a highland town that serves as a transportation hub yet it has terrible roads.  We dropped our bags at the station and went looking for BBQ chicken. It was carnival day and the pedestrian mall was packed. The scene was a bit like Puno except a bit wilder kids were spraying foam, throwing water balloons and hitting each other with these socks filled with who knows what.

As we started eating a kid  came by to sell us some soda but he was looking at the chicken. I guess not all the kids got to take part in the fun. Eliot wrapped up chicken and fries for the kid so that he could eat in or share it.

The parade had a similar assortment of devils, traditional outfits and latin hotness. I liked the tasmanian devil noisemakers and the shoulder pads.

After enjoying the parade for a couple of hours. We got on our 6.5 hours bus to Arequipa. We were on the upper deck of  a double decker. The pot holes were so deep that the bus would tilt severely to the point that we felt like it was going to fall over. Once we cleared the town the road got better. On the way Eliot saw snow on the side of the road.

Here are some photos these are the last ones of carnival.

The Taz group

The Taz group

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woman in Juliaca

woman in Juliaca

woman in Juliaca

woman in Juliaca

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greece is the word

greece is the word

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