Walking to school in Arequipa [YQrtw Day 91 Jul 9]

arequipa traffic is bad

Location: Arequipa, Peru

Since I was picked up from my homestay to school yesterday, today was the first day that I walked to school. Classes start at 9:10am so I started myself walked 45 minutes earlier.

Traffic in Arequipa seems to be quite bad almost all the time. Maybe it’s because of the tiny roads and excessive number of taxis zooming around.

All looks calm on this side of the road in Arequipa in the morning.
All looks calm on this side of the road in Arequipa in the morning.

The day was sunny but cool when I started my walk. I chose to wear flip flops today because my shoes didn’t have a good grip of the smooth stone pavements in the town center.

I immediately regretted wearing flip flops when I got out of the house. The weather was too cold for my toes to be exposed! As I walked down the road, I noticed that everyone wore covered shoes. The schoolgirls even had knee-length socks as part of their uniform.

"Combi", Arequipa's mini buses.
“Combi”, Arequipa’s mini buses.

The side of the road which I walked on had less traffic since it was the road out of town. However, the opposite side which had traffic heading into town had a really bad traffic jam. It seemed to me that walking was much faster than being stuck forever in the one-way lane.

Traffic here reminded me of Jakarta’s traffic–Bad.

Things don't look so good on the other side.
Things don’t look so good on the other side.
Morning traffic at Olvalvo Grau roundabout in Arequipa. Look deeper into the photo to see the traffic jam.
Morning traffic at Olvalvo Grau roundabout in Arequipa. Look deeper into the photo to see the traffic jam.

Near the roundabout, the two alpacas which I saw yesterday where still there. Instead of grazing, they were just sitting around, glaring at people looking at them.

Morning traffic on Puento Grau in Arequipa. (Do you see the alpaca?)
Morning traffic on Puento Grau in Arequipa. (Do you see the alpaca?)

I finally reached my language school after half an hour of walking. I’m actually quite thankful that most of my path were in the shade so I didn’t have to worry about UV rays.

At school, I learned new grammar and learned that I’ve forgotten many new vocabulary.

In the afternoon, there was an Arabic cooking session by one of the students. I got to see how baba ghanoush is made in real life! The food was good and we ended with pancakes slathered with jam from Germany.

Arabic food in Arequipa
Arabic food in Arequipa

By the time I walked back to my homestay, the sun was setting so I didn’t get an eyeful of sun.

I went to the Arequipa HQ of mobile operator Movistar to purchase a new SIM card. However, the employee said I could not buy a new SIM with my foreign passport. I was very annoyed about it so I went to its competitor, Claro, to buy a new SIM.

I did eventually get my SIM card so all was well.

11 travel blogs from Asia to follow


Header image credit: Thomas Hawk

My friend D inspired me to write a post about travel blogs to follow when she asked for blog recommendation.

I started working on the post about travel blogs I follow and I realized that the majority of the blogs I was going to recommend were not from Asia. So I decided to write a new post to feature some of the blogs from Asia.

How do I define “from Asia”? I don’t have a specific rule but if the blogger is now based in Asia or was from Asia, then I’ll pile them in.

I’m only listing people I follow on a regular basis so if your favorite blogger in Asia is not in, tell me in the comments below.

Fist with rings spelling out B-L-O-G. Image credit Thomas Hawk
Fist with rings spelling out B-L-O-G. Image credit Thomas Hawk

Probably already on your reading list

Solitary Wanderer

site: http://www.solitarywanderer.com/
twitter: @ALEAHphils

You might know Aleah from her famous post “Date A Girl who Travels“. Or if you don’t know her, you might have read the post in one way or another. She’s still being awesome travelling solo so follow her on her trips.

Runaway Juno

site: http://runawayjuno.com/
twitter: @RunawayJuno

Juno was from South Korea but now she’s travelling all over the world. I love how she’s very honest about how her family perceived her travelling lifestyle. She is organizing a conference in KL called Asian Women’s Empowerment conference in November.

The Shooting Star

site: http://the-shooting-star.com/
twitter: @shivya

Besides her travel stories, Shivya shares freelance travel writing tips and travel blogging tips. I love it when pros share their tips.

Should be on your reading list

Walk Fly Pinoy

site: http://www.walkflypinoy.com/
twitter: @walkflypinoy

Paul’s post on how he has money to travel long term is good for anyone who wants to travel more. He also takes very good photos.

The Thrifty Traveller

site: http://thriftytraveller.wordpress.com/

I came across David’s blog when I was doing research for my YQ Conquers Malaysia trips. He’s very detailed about his visits to different towns in Malaysia. If you would like to know more about small town Malaysia, check out his blog. One of his latest post about following the trail of Assassin’s Creed in Istanbul is fascinating because I loved Assassin’s Creed I.

Bloggers I know in real life and are awesome online

The Nomad Damsel

site: http://nomaddamsel.wordpress.com/
twitter: @_thermar

I was there to witness Therese’s first travel blog post. *wipes tear from eyes* She touches on subject that I never thought about writing but should have. For example, squat toilets.

The Traveling Squid

site: http://thetravellingsquid.com
fb: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Travelling-Squid

Phebe travelled in India alone before. I think that should be enough reason to follow her blog. One of her latest post about whether travelling too much is a sign of discontent resonated with me.

If you read Chinese, follow them!

943 (就是省)

site: http://blog.xuite.net/iq943
fb: https://www.facebook.com/943fans

If I have to name a person who pushed me to really do this RTW, it’s 943, a Taiwanese traveller/author/money saver who wrote the book “Round the world with NT$100,000“. I didn’t know that travelling around the world doesn’t require millions of dollars and can be achieved cheaply.

Silvia the traveler

site: http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/silvia-huang/

Another Taiwanese blogger, I loved her recent post about how we should wander around responsibly and not impulsively. She also posted a multi-part love story of her and a German boy nicknamed F. I love love stories!

If you read Indonesian,you probably already know her

Trinity, The Naked Traveler

site: http://naked-traveler.com/
twitter: @TrinityTraveler

I learned of Trinity when I bought one of her books. Trinity is now doing a RTW and I love her tweets because they are in digestible chunks of Indonesian. If you are good in Malay and Indonesia, check out her blog.

Do you have favorite travel blogs? Share them in the comment below.

The day I ate some alpaca [YQrtw Day 90 Jul 8]

los alpacas

Location: Arequipa, Peru

[The internet at my homestay couldn’t connect last evening so I couldn’t upload this post until today!]

Although today’s main event was my 5-hour long Spanish classes (with breaks in between), I thought you would be more interested in reading about eating alpacas for lunch. I’ll get to school talk soon.

After class, I headed to a restaurant which my teacher recommended. The place didn’t have the Menu of the Day at 2:30pm so I chose something a la carte.

The most interesting items seemed to involve alpaca so I ordered one that was drenched in sweet pepper sauce with some ravioli.

Alpaca steak tastes like gamey beef steak
Alpaca steak tastes like gamey beef steak

The texture of alpaca is a bit like beef–slightly tough. However, the taste is very different from beef.

My dish of alpaca tasted a little like not-so-well prepared mutton. Or as someone on Facebook corrected me, it tasted “gamey” not “smelly”.

Alpaca is definitely not on my list of Best Meats to Eat (TM) and is probably down at the bottom somewhere with crocodile meat.

After my meal, as I walked back to my home stay, I saw two alpacas grazing casually by the roadside. That’s insane!

Cute alapacas grazing
Cute alapacas grazing

Back to school!

I’m taking Spanish classes again in Arequipa. Lessons and accommodation here is definitely cheaper than Buenos Aires. Plus, I get to have one-to-one lessons instead of group lessons.

I was supposed to walk to school (2 freaking miles!) today but the school coordinator and her husband picked me up from my homestay place instead. The morning traffic in Arequipa looked horrible from my view in the car.

I had two different teachers for my lessons. For the first 2 hours, I had Senorita R, the next 2 with Senor J and the last 1 hour with R again.

I think I spoke more broken Spanish in these 5 hours than the whole 1 month and a week that I’ve been in South America. Most of the time, I spoke like this: “I loves to eats Japan food.” “I have a journalist.” or something grammatically, vocabularly incorrect.

Of course it’s all about learning and I’m learning a lot. In fact, I felt like I was learning too much after 2 hours but got into the groove by the 5th hour. I hope that by the end of the week, I’ll be rather good at Spanish. Hopefully.