Leaving Copa on Friday morning we set off for Puno, a town on the Bolivarian side of Lake Titicaca. The border crossing was a rather inefficient process with a number of different forms and stamps required. However the official proclaimed he ‘loved all Kiwis’ to everyone waiting in line which made our day.
Our 3 hour journey to Puno offered more agricultural scenery. These people obviously were more wealthy than their Bolivian counterparts and were using oxen to plough their crops and donkeys to cart their equipment. Still painstakingly hard work but the increased efficiency was obvious.
In Puno we had a quick bus change and continued on our way to Arequipa. This bus ride was again overcrowded and longer than it should have been, something we are now having to get used to as we travel through these parts of South America. We arrived 7 hours later into Arequipa for one night.
We had an early night and rose the next day to wander the shops and buy a few essentials for ourselves. This was the first time it has really felt like Christmas for us; the streets were heaving with people bustling to finish their shopping. We visited a large indoor market that sold literally everything and enjoyed a lunch at a funky cafe. Arequipa is a very pretty city we hope to return after our time in Pisco.
On Saturday we took an overnight bus to Pisco, paying the extra dinero we chose a reputable company and were rewarded with a very comfortable bus and great service. Sunday morning we arrived safely to the Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF) volunteer house where we would be based for the next wee while.
PSF is an NGO which was established after the 2007 earthquake that devastated much of the city. The organisation is helping to improve living standards by rebuilding homes and assisting in all aspects of community development. We heard about it through our friend Ivan in Santiago who has previously volunteered with PSF. At this stage we intend to stay at PSF for three weeks over Christmas/ New Year.
The link to the website which contains more information about the organisation is: http://www.piscosinfronteras.org/
Thank you to everyone who continues to read our blog and for the messages of support. We love to hear your feedback. Initially the blog was for our own record and for our parents to check up on us, but it seems to have reached a far wider network of friends and family. It is nice to know others are interested and that we may have even inspired some to travel. We hope you all have a safe and happy festive season.
FELIZ NAVIDAD from Pisco!