At the beginning of October, we had mid-term week at school. I wound up doing relatively well on all my exams, but the best part was that classes were canceled and you just had to adhere to the exam times. Luckily for us, we had two of our tests on Monday morning, and the last on Saturday night, so we planned a last minute trip to a city in the south. It took a 17 hour bus ride through the endless terrifyingly winding mountains along the coast until we got there, but it was well worth it! The city is called Arequipa, and the thing I first noticed was how friendly the people were to tourists. Everyone wanted to help us out and show us the town they were so proud of.
We went to a really cool museum that had the body of an Incan girl that was more than 500 years old! Her name is Juanita the Ice Maiden, and a scientist discovered her when he was hiking in the mountains. After lots of research, they've deduced that she was between 12 and 14 years old, and she was brought up to and killed on the mountain as a sacrifice to the Incan gods. They had a whole display of the things found at her burial site. They wouldn't allow us to bring cameras into the exhibit, but I bought a post card of her to remember it. We also went to a really fascinating cloistered convent that is the home of twenty nuns today. It was so beautiful! We also took a bus tour with two older couples of the countryside, and it was just breathtaking. The best part of the whole week was that the sun was out the entire time! It was so refreshing to see clear skies during the day, and a star-filled sky at night. Neither of us were prepared for this because Lima is often cold and cloudy, so we weren't even thinking when we didn't bring any shorts along!
As for our next adventures, we about one week of school left until two full weeks of seeing everything we can before coming home for Christmas. We have plans to see Cusco and Macchu Picchu of course, and Lake Titicaca in Puno. We would also like to get to the Amazon, a beach in the north called Mancora, and a city south of us called Paracas to see some sea lions and tropical penguins. I’m looking forward to what more Peru has in store for us!
~ Shannon Fee