Sunday, 20 November 2011

Buenos Aires - Salsa edition

Many come to Buenos Aires for tango and you can see why – the town is steeped in the tradition and although not all are familiar with the steps most can identify with the culture and seem proud of the way this distinctive dance has imbued the city with its music and powerful images and style. You can see the dance hall 'milongas' everywhere and there is a strong following among the 30+ age group followers. Many people visit the city just to learn and practise tango and I met one in her 60s English lady in who comes for 6 months every year to take private lessons and dance 2 or 3 times a week in milongas.

But I didn't come to Buenos Aires for the tango, rather I was keen to sample the local salsa scene. I now count salsa as one among other forms of enjoyment, exercise and as a way of meeting people in a friendly and generally uplifting environment. At its best it can be exhilarating and fun and the challenge of learning has multiple layers rhythm, steps and expression, I love it. In Buenos Aires there is a vibrant salsa scene and some great exponents - but many just dabble for the odd night out or as a change from tango and milonga forms. Cross Body or LA style seems most popular but expect to find it fused with the more exuberant cuban style salsa.

Azucar Abasto is a large dedicated salsa venue in the Abasto area on Avenida Corrientes. In the UK salsa is largely to be found in halls and bars and it is doubtful that we could easily sustain a dedicated club/school (may be worth a try though). I have been to Buenos Aires salsa 5 times now and generally enjoyed the contrast with the South London scene; although the teaching is a bit sketchy the price is very reasonable. On entry the cover is generally 25-30 pesos or between £3 and £4 and for this you can take advantage of a set of lessons typically of 3 Rueda, Merengue, Bachata and then invariably Salsa, each lesson being about 70 - 80 minutes with a 10 minute break and some free dancing. There are generally 2 or 3 levels of classes.

At Azucar I hung with the intermediates and although it was a fairly young set it wasn't exclusively so. They are open at least 5 nights a week and publish a somewhat inaccurate diary. The teaching was less explicit than in the UK and I struggled a bit with unfamiliar combinations but it was survivable. There was some free dancing between sessions but a lot of people were standing around watching and only participated in the classes. Everyone was friendly and the girls patiently adjusted my moves and the frequent repetitions finally imparted the desired combination.

La Salsera is a similar but smaller club/school in the same area and had a more mixed age group and floors of dancing but it basically offers the same diet as Azucar.

Another night I went to La Viruta which is really a tango/milonga place with, as it were, some salsa on the side. This was poorly taught and most of my partners found difficulty in following and my lead. I guessed that they were more comfortable with tango and I'm not sure the two forms coexist comfortably in one's body. It did however enable me to watch a milonga lesson (milonga confusingly being both a place where tango is taught and danced and itself a form of tango). At beginner level it looked fun – but I couldn't envisage confusing myself more with the different steps and timing so I just watched and enjoyed. The entry here was 30 pesos which paid for salsa, milonga and tango lessons. I recall dancing with one partner who I assessed as having almost no natural salsa rhythm but then saw her in the top of 5 levels of tango class she looked totally in her body and following her partner across the dance floor in complicated and stylishly flowing steps.

On one of my long walks I came across Club de Espana a large club/function room on the 12 lane road 9 de julio. Upstairs I found a small class of around 8 people taught by Estaban a happy and versatile instructor. I did a couple of classes which included a medley of salsa, regaton and merengue and I would have gone back to the class for more the following week had I not been going to la Bomba a lively drumming show in an open air venue! Anyway here is a video of the move!

When Mark, my non salsa dancing pilot friend flew in from London he took me to a football game between Argentina and Bolivia and in return I took him to a salsa club, Belgrano. On arriving at 10.30 pm we were way to early for the action but on returning shortly before 12 we sat down to a 3 course meal of dubious quality - there was no entry charge – just pay for what you consume we were told. We were firstly entertained by a 2 piece salsa band with singing, some percussion and keyboards/drum machine. They were actually pretty good and a few people danced – some of them very well. After the meal they cleared away the tables and lessons were commenced by a cuban team of 3 muscular guys with huge energy and gusto – this was fun and Mark joined in enthusiatically. After a fun warm up the lesson was a bit rudimentary but it got everybody going and there was free dancing afterwards. Mark was tired as he had flown in that da, losing 3 hours in the time change so as we left at about 3am while others were just arriving and I believe at that time paying a modest entry fee.

My final dance experience of the week was in fact tango. My friends Johanna and Chad were offered an introduction to tango as part of their hostal package. Ana the manager of the hostal gave us a brief but insightful history of tango in Buenos Aires illustrated with several examples of the music. We were then whisked off to Milonga Maldita which was over in the clubby district of San Telmo. On arriving we were led through an inconspicuos door to a large first floor venue with maybe 100 or so people and an already ongoing beginners lesson. Some, like me were total novices whilst others were clearly experienced exponents of the form. I seemed to get paired with a succession of students from Warwick University all of whom were tense and very conscious of their body and personal space. Tango is pretty up close and personal and you lead via body contact and English reserve just doesn't do it. After the class which was given in both English and Spanish there was an interesting and creative 6 piece band and singer followed by disco. Like me none of the other beginners felt sufficiently accomplished to return to the dance floor and most who did seemed very capable and we enjoyed watching them.

Finally, arriving back at my apartment in the Congreso I decided to briefly check out my local salsa club only 2 blocks away. Entry was 25 pesos but that included a soft drink. It turned out to be mainly cuban salsa but people were well into it and there were some lively dancers and someone's birthday party was in full swing – I watched for a while, had one dance then hung up my Buenos Aires dancing shoes and went back to my apartment to sleep and then pack.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


I decide to take a day out of the city and travel to the town Tigre which is on the delta to the north of the city. I lost my way to the train station Retiro which given its hugeness was probably remiss so decided to curtail my aspirations to a boat ride and lunch visit. On the way a detachment of soldiers marched round the corner which seemed a bit strange.

I opted for the train journey in two parts, the second via a coastal route. It wasn't possible to buy a through ticket but the first part to Mitre was only 15p although I was possibly short changed at the boleteria. The second journey, costing around £2.50 took the nicer two carriage coastal train to Delta station where it was possible to catch a public launch/water bus.

On on the Northern edge of the town Tigre lies the delta comprising a network of waterways edged with houses, some dilapidated but others palatial. Each has its own dock and they have evocative names like Amor, Amenecer and Media luz. I joined with locals and out of season renters and passed more than an hour weaving through liquid avenues, stopping to drop people off at their stilted houses eventually to alight at Bonanzas a restaurant and horse riding business and my lunch stop.

As the afternoon's only customer I had the royal table on the deck overhanging the river . I was served gaucho sized barbecue on a small charcoal laden individual parilla. It was loaded with portions of pork ribs, chorizo and chicken and I washed it down with an excellent half bottle of Malbec followed by ice cream and coffee. I had plenty of time to sit on the deck taking in the waterside tranquility and wildlife but resisted the lure of the hammocks. 

Yes I did

The return boat was laden with children who were being dropped off at their homes and each stop took several minutes of manoeuvring the large boat alongside the dock. Eventually we landed back in Tigre and I rode a busy and airless commuter train back to the city.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Buenos Aires, first impressions

More Photos here
Well, 3 days into my visit to Buenos Aires and I have taken refuge from the hot sun and my self-imposed city hiking to try and record some impressions. This is the first South American city where I have felt less obviously visible – my clothes don't stand out – I'm not much taller than nearly everyone else and I don't get called Gringo. The city is a bit dirty and noisy but at the same time vibrant and hot in both senses. The Porteño are friendly if somewhat introspective and studiously political, well probably more so the middle classes – the seem to read a lot of newspapers and debate and hold forth a lot.

The architecture is somewhat haphazard and the traffic constant and heavy but perhaps not as polluted as other cities I have visited – newer cars and greater emission controls I guess and buses are relatively modern. Police presence is minimal which is a surprise given some of the history. Restaurants are in abundance and it feels like prices are around 20% less than UK equivalents. Most of all the feel of the city is good – It is a big place with much to explore, lots of cultural possibilities and some excellent open spaces.

My first walk was somewhat unplanned and I found my way down to the water side via impressive congressional buildings expansive piazzas, across a 14 lane highway which bringing an enormous quantity of traffic right through the heart of the city. Puerto Madero is a modern development of high rise apartments, shops, restaurants and parks which takes in some reclaimed docks. It is pleasantly peaceful and leads down to an ecological park which is bordered by a road that has several parrillas where you can buy charcoal grilled hamburgers or chorizo – the cooking smells are enticing but the product of it are poor in quality. I headed back via an area of older buildings with a market that was partly antiques and bricabrac and partly food. The fruit and veg and other products all looked fine and there were some interesting speciality stalls selling things like old metal toys and matchbox packets. I also took in a large and rather brash shopping mall/children's amusement venue and cinema in Abasto. The children’s bit was called Neverland and this didn't redeem it one bit. Around Abasto it is somewhat run down but looking as if it could become quite fashionable some time in the future. I came across an odd assortment of shops selling naked manikins for modelling closes in shops. I wanted to take some photos but felt that it could appear a tad dodgy so didn't.
In the evening I retuned to Abasto to check out Club Azucar the salsa venue. Entry costs 25 pesos, about £4 and for that you could bag and hour and a half each of rueda, bachata and salsa. I watched some bachata and joined in the salsa intermediate class. The moves were a bit unusual and the teaching somewhat sketchy but there was a lot of repetition and I just about mastered it but was pretty tired by the end. People were very friendly and forgiving of my mistakes but it was mostly a young crowd and somewhat rah rah for my tastes – but I was proud of myself for giving it a go. I'll probably go back.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Final thoughts on Arequipa

As you may have gathered this year's trip to Arequipa Peru was a most fantastic experience. I will continue my association with Peru via its small but friendly community here in London. Specifically I am planning to act as a befriender to a socially isolated Peruana living here in South London. I am also going to seek out some cajon lessons and maybe try and develop my interest en la musica Criolla which I find I like a lot. Next year I'll maybe head off to Colombia where I know a few people and where they both dance and cycle well. Until then here are 3 links which I hope will be of interest. Take care and if I can help in any way with you own travels to Peru please let me know. Thanks for following this blog. Hasta luego, Alan

A cold ride up to some trees at the foot of a volcano

la despidida de Alan or Alan's extended leaving parties

Cycling video

Eva Ayllon, a fine singer 

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Leaving Arequipa

Well, I just realised that this is my 100th post on this blog. Ah well, if you missed the other 99 you have some catching up.

Ariquipena Cerveza Queen

The final couple of days in Arequipa passed quickly enough. I mainly attended Spanish and salsa classes as normal and said my goodbyes to my teachers, respectively Carmen and Christian. I also dropped into the the bar Cafe & Vino for a final copa of his excellent Bordeaux and chilled out there among the to me at least, unintelligible french speakers.

The last dance in Arequipa

Bar Cafe y Vino, Claustro de la Compania
We planned and executed a small but successful house party with me inviting mainly cycling friends and Marta my cajón teacher. She was a big success, playing the guitar and singing well known Peruvian songs. The Party continued until around 1am and it was a really nice and diverse group.

Apartment hunting and Spanish school friends
Marta entertaining cyclists
My penultimate day was all go. I went to the centre with Chad and Johanna and we enjoyed a coffee overlooking the plaza with a great vantage point for watching the carnival procession and lively battles of water and foam spray. Carnival in Arequipa is more understated than Cajamarca but even in our small urbanizacion there was a spontaneous water fight, but here at least no throwing of paint bombs.

Me at Plaza de Armas, Arequipa

Later we had lunch in Capriccio's joining with Laura's happy band of expats and we made considered western world comparisons of the merits of local bathroom facilities and the advisability of carrying a personal supply of toilet paper. Laura asked me what I would look forward to most on my return to the UK and after giving it some thought it came down to friends and family and the relative certainty of western style living, bus timetables, less pollution, less sugary/salty food and maybe road bikes, oh and of course not tossing the loo paper in a box! That said, I haven't really craved for any of thise things.

That afternoon I was also scheduled for my last meeting with my cycling buddies. We gathered in the garden of William and barbecued pork steaks and salchitas. True to form the group partook of quite a lot of pisco and I furnished a bottle of Black Label. Everyone was very kind and as well as making embarrassing speeches they all signed a photo, presented me with a team shirt and Dante had produced a 12 minute video of some of my various cycling trips. How kind they all were and I count myself as very lucky to have enjoyed the company of such a fing group of cyclists.

Jesus at the BBQ

The next day chad and Johanna accompanied me to the airport and gave me a nice piece of polished aquamarine and we said our goodbyes. They have been great people with whom to share time and space and I have no doubt they will continue to shape their lifestyles to the challenges of living here in peru, and add their own style and flavour of life to Arequipa's growingly  diverse community. 

Chad and Johanna

Well, I guess in summary, with about 2 months in Arequipa I could happily recommend it to anyone. It is very much in change but the variety of its lifestyles and places offers much to travellers of all kinds and I at least have experienced nothing but kindness and friendliness from Ariquipeños.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Colca Canyon

Wow, yet another early start catching a taxi down to the hotel of my friend Hans where I waited half an hour for a tourist bus to collect me. I had bought a space on the bus but not the tour as I felt this was a reasonable option to walk unguided.  Having said that, I was the only walker I met without a guide! The ride to Cabanaconde was punctuated with a short stop for breakfast at the larger town of Chivay and I got to know a few of the other travellers, mostly Germans and all passing through Arequipa on longer journeys.

Shortly before we arrived at Cabanaconde most of the others alighted the bus for a 2 or 3 day treck. It was pretty cloudy, not ideal conditions and I was glad of a rest and some reviving tea at my hostal, Pachamama. This is backpackers style of hostal but better than basic conditions and I was shown to a spacious but poorly light room with 3 beds to myself.

I elected for a shortish circular and local walk and found a path that fed down a by the side of a small river and a valley full of farms. 

After some time I came to the river and the end of the path but was directed across the 'pampa' towards one of the paths that fed in a Westerly direction down into the Canyon or back up to Caberconde. On meeting the other path the canyon first came into full view and it was truly impressive but somewhat obscured by cloud. 

As I returned to hostal it began to rain heavily so I elected for a siesta under 4 heavy blankets, and even then I was pretty cold. I had a quiet meal with pizzas cooked over a wood burning oven and due to the night chill and continuing rain I slept with most of my clothes.

The next day it was bright and clear and I set off for my walk down into the valley. It was so impressive that this took some time snapping many photos. The views of the canyon and the plant life was truly impressive.

Near the bottom I teamed up with a campacino and his son each carrying on his back a heavy load of roof sections and leading some donkeys. They showed me to the suspension bridge at the bottom of the canyon and told me that it had been constructed over 2 years with all of the parts being carried 3,500 feet into the valley. I stopped and rested in their small but pretty village of St Juan de Puchu and had a reviving and healthy lunch of soup and alpaca at their hostal.

I left them at about 1pm for the return climb which was hard, taking 2 ¾ hours to the road arriving back at Cabanaconde in time for the return of the rain. On the way down I had seen one solitary condor sweeping along the side of the cliff and on coming up I was frightened by a snake of more than 2 feet in length speeding by me at an impossible rate. 

The next day I took the tourist bus back. At Chivay we stopped for some hot thermal baths and dipped in the sulphur scented water of 39 degrees before heading back over the high pass to see llamas grazing in the hills. Allthogether this was a great trip and the Canyon could certainly offer 5 or 6 days of interest to the dedicated walker.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ride down from Chanchani

Why is it that anything fun to do means leaving Arequipa at the dead of night. The plan for this ride was relatively simple. Catch the bus towards Puno at 3am - get off at a high point between the volcanoes Misti And Chanchani get on the bikes and ride back down to Arequipa. I went with Jesus and Dante.

Even at 3am the bus station was heaving - there were lots of people sleeping and waiting for buses and we bought our tickets from one of 50 or so bus companies. The evening before I went to the Marc Anthony concert at the university stadium. This was an interesting experience and I enjoyed event especially Eva Allyon a well known Criollan singer with hot rhythms and a big personality.

In the event I didn't get to sleep that night until we got on the bus. After only 2 hours sleep I woke to a perfect morning with no wind and excellent clear views of the volcanoes. We alighted at 4000 metres at a fork in the road for either Puno or Cuzco. There were a number of micro businesses and vendors, some toilets and petrol for sale that had to be siphoned it into large metal jugs!

At this altitude we set off at a steady pace and the first 10km was rolling countryside. I tended to fall back on the climbs an was grateful when I punctured for the forethought of Jesus in supplying walkie-talkies so we could keep in touch in the event of accidents or mechanical problems. Amazingly he also brought a track pump and a tripod for the camera and several sandwiches.  Eventually we began to descend back to 2,300 metres but not before seeing many vicuña crossing our path either singly or in groups - I love these graceful animals. As Pichu Pichu came into view we were circled by the three most prominent volcanoes.

As we descended the adrenalin set in as and we flew down wide and steep paths over rocky terrain with sweeping bends. The ride, as always was punctuated by photos at every point of interest. 

The last part of the ride was super fast asphalt and we finished our memorable journey with a nice lunch in Cayma overlooking the green valley and the Rio Chile. 

Photos to follow but this one of Chachani for now.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Vuelta a Mejia

Mejia is a small costal village swollen by its summer visitors. The Pacific’s waves roll in over darkish sands and rows of gazebos offer shade from the fierce sun. Most of the visitors are here for the weekend and travel on buses from Arequipa leaving as early as 4am for the 2 ½ hour ride. The village comprises worker's homes to the east of the main road and wooden summer cottages to the west. At the edge there is a significant number of upper class rented or owned summer houses and apartments. There is a small church well attended by the locals and a square where children play during the evening throwing small balloons full of water for it is the time of las carnivales.

typical wooden summer house in Mejia

Mejia beach
Close to the town are the Lagunas de Mejia, an ecological park of several lakes set in marshes. The area supports a vast array of bird life and there are chacras with sheep, cows and goats. The final part of the race passes through the paths that access the lakes offering glimpses of the marshes and the sea to the other side.

Lagunas de Mejia
The day began fitfully as we were supposed to be down in town by 5am. I arrived on time but before anyone else – probably not surprising. This was my second visit to the point of departure as originally the bus was set to leave the night before but plans were changed unbeknown to me and one other.

We left  Arequipa for the race shortly before 6 having stacked about 40 bikes on the top of the bus. We had a small breakfast on board and arrived shortly before 9 to find that the organisers were impatient to begin. I had been signed up for the D category, over 60s but no one had informed me it was a shorter ride, so with much confusion and at the very last minute I changed from D to open D joining the A, B and Cs, some 50 or so competitors.

So we set off and I was quickly swallowed up by the group and equally quickly left behind with some others. I wasn't sure if this was all an adrenalin rush or they were going to sustain the pace. I had thought that my fitness at the lower altitude would be of assistance but I struggled breathlessly in around 30 degrees. I had wanted to keep pace with my new acquaintance Bruce, a wiry Australian of around 50+ who had mentioned his need to retain the ashes, but his lighter frame outpaced me on the hills and I settled into my own rhythm.

The course was roughly circular at first taking in some farm trails before giving way some sandy hills that took us in a wide loop inland and back over the dunes towards the sea. The going was very tough. Even on the flat the sandy surface resisted one's efforts and many times on relatively easy climbs I had to dismount and push. The down hill sections were uncertain as hitting deep sand at speed was a question hope over reason but I managed to stay upright. By the time we got to the marshes and lakes I was accompanied by a small group and we hung together. At times we had to depend on locals to tell us the direction as we only saw one set of marshals the whole race. He final route was straight with a training wind and I was able to make some ground on others. For a while we took to the asphalt and I found a young man with whom to share the work.
Team Inter Group

I fancied I saw Bruce's white shirt off in the distance and felt I was gaining only to fall back again impeded by a trail 20cm deep in warm brackish water. Arriving at he line Bruce told me he only had 30 seconds on me but had been held up somewhat by lack of directions. Anyway I was pleased to have competed and got a small cheer. Bruce and I both gained medal in our class, mine was a first place but since I was the only over 60 in the race it constituted a phyric victory, Nonetheless it was a great ride and was suitable ended by retiring to the beach to share beers and empanadas.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Exploring town and country

Conflating two bike rides over the weekend on Saturday I decided to explore the South of Arquipa and to try to find the velodrome and an old building belonging to the Founder of Arequipa,  variously described as between 7 and 11km South of town. The road out of town is pretty busy as it runs through an industrial park and leads to the main bus station. There is a steel mill churning out much of the bar used for concrete reinforcement. By dint of asking several people I eventually found the Velodrome, a pretty good open air venue in some need of repair but generally usable. There was little evidence of action although people said it was regularly used for competitions but not for training. Pity, I would have liked to have ridden it.
el velodromo de Arequipa

Again, trying to ask my way to my next destination I was mis-directed and ended up at the Palicio of Goyeneche. I gather this is a smaller edition of a colonial palace situated in Central Arequipa and attracting tourists interested in colonial arquitecture. At any rate this one was closed so instead I climbed some steep hills to Sachaca where there is a lovely colonial church and a mirador from where one can see across the surrounding countryside and city. I stopped for cheese ice cream which is an Arequipa speciality. Overall it was a pleasant but somewhat uneventful exploration of this part of the city's edge. 

queso helado

Church at Sachaca, charming village with mirador

view from mirador

The next day 26 cyclists of Team Inter set off for Tres Arbolitos at the foot of the volcano el Misti. Unfortunately the Volcanoe was covered in cloud . Nevertheless the trail up through the ditrict of Selva Alegre offered some good views of the city below and a gorge of about 500feet with the trail at its precipitous edge.  Eventually, after around a 2 hour steep climb we reached the foot of a rocky hill of about 500 feet leading to a plataue where,  surprisingly,  grew some Australian Eucalyptus trees. 

Foto! Foto?

los arbolitos
With the altitude and a chilly wind it was a pretty strenuous ride and climb, and arriving as we did strung out along the trail it was a long and cold wait for the final members of the group to come down the rocky climb.

By the time we left the descending cloud had reduced visibility significantly but notwithstanding we  flew down the trail without mishap except for one of the adrenelin seeking downhillers parting with his bike on the final and steep decent whereby the bike travelled onwards and fell into a 10 foot deep hole and left him parked beyond the mound he had jumped. Luckily he was OK and passed it off as part of the 'downhill' experience.


cautious descending

Back in town we sought out a restaurant serving adobo, a sort of spicy pork dish of stew with a large chunk of fatty meet on the bone eaten with bread dipped in the stew. We drank Kola Esocesa a local brand of Kola supposedly originating from a Scottish family business.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Arequipa 4 (ride to la Joya)

Ride to La Joya

Sunday's ride gathered 14 cyclists ready to ride to La Joya in the province of Arequipa, a rural town of about 25,000 people. Although we would need to climb for around 45 minutes we would then have to lose around 4,000 feet. We stopped by the road at a small but busy open air market and drunk surtidos. Here is a recipe in case you are interested. I enjoyed watching the Jugodora pulling together the ingredients. It was very tasty and refreshing.

El Especial:
100gr. de fresa
100gr. de piña
100gr. de papaya
50gr. de plátano
250ml. de leche helada
1 huevo
1cda. de algarrobina ó miel de abeja
50 gr. de azúcar

Moving on, and as usual, the road part of the ride was somewhat intimidating with occasional long-base petrol lorries passing frighteningly close to our group of orderly cyclists. Further on there was some great road descending until we gathered by the side of the road to leave it via a well made track.
A little uphill before the payoff
There followed one of the most exhilarating rides I have enjoyed. The path was made of sharp and grippy sand and we sped down winding trails with banked sides, almost seeming as if they were made specially for cyclists. Eventually we left the path and actually made progress by riding the tops of mountain ridges, sometimes crossing down a valley to pick up yet another super ridge. The landscape here was lunar with absolutely no evidence of human or animal occupation, the very occasional cactus but otherwise entirely isolated.

great trails
After a while we came to some abandoned mines and shortly after a deep gorge which it emerged that we needed to descend carrying our bikes whilst scrambling down the rocks and up the other side. 
Hard going

Note the colour coordinations

I look steady but fell off 3 times!

This was very arduous and my lungs were bursting at the still relatively high altitude. Later on unfortunately Jaime our organiser suffered a complete break of his rear mech and we had to remove it, shorten the chain and set him up with a single-speed.

Eventually we joined a trail which led to bridge overlooking the first sign of green vegetation we had seen for 4 hours. Down in the gorge a fast running river fed an oasis like plantation where the deep greens contrasted against the predominant browns and greys of the arid landscape. 
No gold here!
Add caption

Quite a new bridge, thankfully replacing the one with holes in it!
From here we had a few more hills to negotiate until plunging by way of a rocky trail, accompanied by a fast running man-made river into the dusty town of la Joya. Here we were met by others who had come by a shorter route and were revived with beers and a lunch of fried chicken, potatoes and corn accompanied by Inca Kola, rehydration fluid as good as any. We played with offering chicken bones to several dogs and we attracted a Peruvian dog that was quite cute.

Peruvian hairless dog

Later we lifted the bikes on top of a bus and headed back to Arequipa where, due to the onset of rain I elected to take a taxi, bike on top, back to my apartment. A fantastic day.