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Saturday, 06/11/2005...

We woke up at 7:15 AM and gathered our stuff. We checked our bags at the front desk and John and Cecily checked their email. We ate breakfast and then waited for our ride.

Our guide, Jesus, picked us up and we left for Colca Canyon. Our group consisted if the four of us, Yvette from Belgium, Greg and Kat from Colorado, Richard and Katie from England and Jurgen and his father from Holland.

Along the way, Jesus pointed out many facts about the area (altitude, climate, vegetation). He mentioned the reason many of the houses were not completed is because they don't have to pay taxes until the buildings finished being built. They'll probably remain unfinished indefinitely, since there's really no motivation to finish. Most of the houses had "re-bar" sticking out of the top to constitute being unfinished.

The drive was roughly four hours of extreme bumpiness. We stopped along the way for a break and John bought an alpaca sweater and Cecily got a hat.

The next pit stop along the way consisted of a small hut in the middle of nowhere. It was the nastiest "bathroom" Cecily had ever been in - and she's been in a lot of nasty bathrooms. It was just a hole in the ground to be squatted over. Let's just say some people were not very good aims and not all of them had just one number one. Yuck!!!!

After surviving the pit stop ordeal, we arrived at Coporaque, where we stayed at our hotel La Casa de Mama Yacchi for the night. Our buffet lunch consisted of alpaca steak, chicken, and many different side dishes. It was very good.

We took a hike after eating up a nearby mountain, overlooking some pre-Inca ruins and terraces. It was very interesting to find that the terraces were built around 1200 AD and were still being used today for farming. Although we gringos became very winded from the altitude, the view was beautiful from the top and was well worth it.

On the way down, we stopped at a local wedding reception. We gave some money to the wedding couple (Yudie and Roxanna) as a wedding gift and they offered us beer and a shot of chicha (beer made out of corn).

We then went to the hot springs at the next town down the road for a dip in the pool at the base of the mountain. It got dark very fast and the starlit sky was brilliant. We enjoyed our conversation with Katie and Richard from London and after a few hours went back to the hotel for another great buffet dinner. We were back in the room by 9 PM to turn in for the night. It's going to be an early morning tomorrow.

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