January 24th, 2008

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Sixth report from Peru.

Jim and I have had a wonderful day wandering around Aroquipa. It´s a beautiful city. Buildings in the old section are 400 hundred years old and despite four earthquakes over those centuries, they are all in wonderful condition now. This morning we toured the monestery of Santa Catalina. It´s a Unesco Heritage site and is basically a 400 year old walled city of 26 acreas. Here the daughters of the wealthy were given to the church to ensure everlasting life for the family. The size of the individual nuns quarters depended on how much money was donated. The nuns lived in isolation even from the other nuns and each had a maid that cooked and cleaned and freed them up to pray. I don´t know whether I am envious or nauseated.

Anyways the spaces were lovely and I took some wonderful photos of red geraniums on dark blue stuco, light coming in archways and narrow streets with flowers. Jim got a fantastic shot from the mens washroom. The shot might have been there for fourhundred years but I guarantee that the men´s washroom wasn´t. After our tour we did a bit of shopping. I have decided to send the pot home that I bought in Nasca and now I need to buy packing material!!!! Also I lost my hat yesterday and I needed to replace it. I got a fantastic peruvian hat. It is black flelt with orange embroidery all over the brim. I feel like a proud peacock when wearing it. Fortunately or unfortunately later in the day when booking tomorrows tour of Colca Canyon my old hat reappeared.

So we will be off to the canyon for the next three days. I have 60 soles tucked aside in case I just can´t do the 3.5 hour hike up hill and I have to hire a mule. This canyon is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon! On day two we hike for 7.5 hours (knowing me it will be much longer) so here´s hoping I can do it.

p.s. As I was walking down the street feeling glorious in my new hat a peruvian man said ¨Beunito Sombraro¨. My hat is definitely a beunito sombraro!!!!!