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Por La Carretera – Arequipa

Volcano El Misti
Volcano El Misti

So we took the southern road to Arequipa, Perú. A long bus ride from Lima, 1,000 kilometers away.

We boarded the bus at 6:00pm. Our first long distance bus in a while: given the relatively short distances, our bus rides in Panamá and in Costa Rica were under ten hours. We packed everything we would need for the overnight journey: sweaters, water, food, music, books…It was a double-decker bus and we had the two front seats, and a great view of the road.

We drove away at sunset, observing Lima´s suburb, mostly slums built on sand hills. What a strange city, caught between the desert and the sea. We followed the Panamericana Sur, along the Pacific Ocean, passing through Pisco and Nazca, a vast coastal desert, arid lowlands and sand dunes. We then entered Canyon country, miles of a narrow black road among sun-drenched red and yellow dunes. We crossed rivers, along the twisty road, our bus each time closer to the edge, the emptiness of the canyon. We hold our breath as the bus passed trucks and speeded through the mountains.

I watched the landscape changing before my eyes, the sunset, the sunrise and our quest from freedom, escaping from a world we know way too well.

Arequipa, surrounded by three volcanoes, El Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu, reminds me of Antigua, Guatemala. Colonial yet traditional, quiet yet busy. Colorful buildings and a central plaza with its enormous cathedral.

We are so close to Bolivia…

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