I’ve spent the last two days trying to soak up all things Arequipa, from the food, to museums, to churches, to the people. Despite the insane traffic, constant honking, really dry air, crazy pigeon feeding, and bipolar climate, this place has grown close to my heart.
My first stop yesterday was the Museo Santuarios Andinos. This museum is the home of the famous mummy, Juanita, a young Incan girl who was offered to the gods as a sacrifice. She was discovered in 1995 by an anthropologist. Her body was frozen in the Andes and therefore very well preserved. This place was like the Pentagon with security. Absolutely NO electronics of any kind allowed inside, and they had sensors to check. Juanita’s body really was well preserved, but if you want to see for yourself, you will have to visit Arequipa, or Google of course.
After this I just wandered. I wound up back in the plaza waiting for the Cathedral to reopen for a tour. Somehow the woman next to me and her daughter struck up a conversation with me, again all in Spanish. Either I am very approachable or the people of Arequipa are extremely friendly. Either way, it's nice to chat with locals. These two chatted with me for about an hour. By the end of the conversation, they were trying very hard to convince me to move to Arequipa, teach Spanish, and marry a Peruvian chef! It was hysterical. The daughter, Mariela, and I are now friends on Facebook. Here is me with the mom. I never made it to the Cathedral, but it was very fun.
Today I woke up and this flag was flying outside my window. It was very appropriate being that it is Peruvian Independence Day.
I met my friend Ari in the plaza this morning and finally made it to the Cathedral. It is beautiful and huge. We then hit up a few more churches, like all good Jewish girls do on Sunday morning. We also stopped in a few museums and had a nice lunch of rocoto relleno before heading for the Mirador, or lookout point in an area called Yanahuara.
With all the walking, we built up an appetite for some queso helado. It translates to cheese ice cream, but its just sweet flavored ice cream with cinnamon. I’ve also had it with quinoa. It’s better without! They put quinoa into everything here! I’m not sure what was up with the outfits the ice cream sellers were wearing but it made for a great photo! They almost look like cut-outs here.
Ari and I made it back to the plaza and finally got a picture together.
I leave Arequipa tomorrow and head back to Lima. Hard to believe my week here is coming to an end.
“One Week” -Barenaked Ladies