Greetings from Arequipa!!
After leaving Pucara, we spent a couple of days in Quito to prepare ourselves for Peru. Some of us ate some bad bus food and suffered the consequences, but it wasn't anything too serious. Our last night in Quito we all went out for a nice dinner with a beautiful view of Quito at night and had some great gringo food and pancakes and apple pie!
The next day we said goodbye to Ecuador and headed off to Arequipa. Fortunately and unfortunately, our flight form LIma to Arequipa was cancelled so we spent the night in Lima. Even though we all really wanted to get to our homestays in Arequipa, we got the chance to spend the night at an amazing hotel for free! We had a free buffet for dinner and breakfast, and we binged. We piled our plates high with pastas, potatoes, steamed vegetables, cheese that wasn't queso fresco, rice, sweet potato puree, salad, radishes, tiramisu, apple strudel, chocolate cake, rice pudding, and dulce de leche. Suntea'Ohna ate four cups of jello, and Gabriela had a line of dessert cups in front of her. For breakfast we again filled our plates with eggs, bacon, pancakes, french toast, yogurt and granola, fruit, 3 types of potatoes, toast with amazing strawberry jelly, cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and more. Betsy and I smuggled out some rolls and chocolate croissants for the plane ride later. I'm still feeling the effects of eating so much nearly 5 days later, but it was so worth it.
We also got to shower with hot water, watch ''Whip It'' in English and Harry Potter in Spanish (with some helpful narration on my part), and sleep in the most comfortable beds with more than one pillow each!! It was a magical experience, and greatly appreciated after spending a week in Pucara.
The next day we finally made it to Arequipa and met our homestay families. The homestay pairs are as follows– Olivia & Caroline, Besty & Suntea'Ohna, Iris & Gabriela, and Ale (Jake) is solo.
These next two weeks our schedule is a little different than usual. We split the group into two smaller groups – one group (Betsy, Suntea'Ohna, Gwen, and Ale) is taking Spanish classes from 9-130, while the other (Olivia, Mac, Gabriela, Iris, and Caroline) is helping paint some rooms at a local home for girls. The painting group chose a nice green fro the girls' room, and we managed to complete 2.5 rooms this week, and I'm still chipping paint off my fingers.Next week the groups will switch.
Durin our free time we have had fun haning around the Plaza de Armas and Real Plaza in town, and have explored some cool artisanal markets. For our fun Friday night out, we all went to the movie theater to watch Insurgent because it was playing in English. Even though it was pretty cheesey, we still had lots of fun and sort of felt like we were back in the States for a bit. Tomorrow we are going on a bike tour through some pre-Incan ruines.