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Monday, September 30, 2013

Coca Leaves, Canyons and Condors

In July I found myself on a journey deep into the amazon jungle.  But little did I know that 2 months later I would find myself on another journey, this time deep into one of the largest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon.  Along the way we stumbled across packs of Alpacas feeding together.

Not to mention sucking on candies laced with coca , drinking tea made with coca leaves and the height of it all chewing on coca leaves themselves to deal with altitude sickness

But every minute of that long bumpy ride up and down winding roads was well worth it when we finally reached Colca Lodge. In this stunning photo of the Canyon if you look carefully off to the side and see a red building nestled in the Canyon, that is the hotel.


When you book a tour you have the opportunity to book the type of accomodation you would like. Colca Lodge is the most upscale of all of them but there are things that you cannot put a price on. It is the only one of the accomodations that are located in the Canyon itself. It has private thermal spas made from all natural hot springs free of charge for guests.  In addition to that at the lodge you experience the sun rising and setting and witness the Canyon coming to life. 

After one unforgetable night at the Lodge, my tour operator picked me up bright and early around 7am to do more touring of the Canyon. There were many breathtaking sights and pictures that I took but the climax of it all was watching soaring condors. 

There is so much more than I saw that I cannot possibly fit into one blog so here are links to my album  for the city of Arequipa   Arequipa Album

as well here is the link to my album of my 2 day one nite stay in Colca Canyon. Colca Canyon Album

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Peruvian Comfort Food: Chupe de Camerones

During the first wk of september I paid a visit to a city in Southern Peru called Arequipa. I know that when the average person thinks of Peru they think of Macchu Picchu. But Arequipa with its eternal sun, rich gastronomic scene, horseback riding and river rafting is one of Peru's premier destinations as well.

Being one of the country's gastronomic capitals, I simply could not resist instagraming my food findings. Most people wouldn't know what to expect since Arequipa is not highly marketed as a destination. So it was interesting to see the reactions I got from people over different pics of foods.

Out of all the food pics I took this one got the most reaction on all my social networks fb twitter instagram. Since so much interested seems to be generated in it I've decided to highlight this dish known as "Chupe de Camerones" literally translated "To Suck Shrimp"

Monday, September 02, 2013

Soul Searching in the Shack of a Shaman

Above my head billowed smoke from black tobacco that the shaman was smoking while he was chanting and waving a dried plant to spread the smoke. I kept my eyes closed and relaxed like I was supposed to, taking in every moment here in the hut of the local village Shaman. One month ago the last place I would have ever imagined ending up was in the home of a medicine man having him sing and chant over me while wearing the head band. I wasn't the only one going through the ritual, another family had come with me. The organisation has a good relationships with the village people and can arrange groups to have a session with the village shaman if they wanted.

For me, the amazon isn't just about the animals, it was about the people. And I wouldn't have felt my trip was complete unless I come away with greater understanding of native life. The shaman had greeted us and welcome us into his humble home. When we were settled, he disappeared into the back room for a moment and reappeared wearing a headband and plastic bottles that seemed to contain herbs, liquid, plants. He also brought along some other utensils as well. He greeted us in his native language of Quechua to let us know we are welcome guests in his home. Then he proceeded to introduce more of himself in spanish and talked about what he does and becoming a Shaman.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas