Monday, April 18, 2011

10th Day Adventures

Election Day! From Chivay we drove an hour and a half on the worst road I have ever seen in my life to go to the Condor Cross. The road was riddled with pot holes and wasn't paved at all. When we finally got to the Condor Cross, we immediately saw the huge birds. We could see about 7 but they were all perched. Then after waiting for about 30 minutes the first ones took flight. The birds were freaking immense. With a 9 ft wingspan they are the largest flight birds in the world. More and more birds came out to fly til there were about 15 condors flying around, and there are only 32 in that area. Because they are so big, they have to have absolutely perfect conditions to fly and we were so lucky to have gotten to see them.
We stayed at the cross for an hour and a half and then began the 4 hour journey home. Because I had been sick the night before, I was allowed to sit in the very front passenger seat during the times when the road was bad. After and hour and half I went to the very back row to try and fall asleep cause I was worried about getting altitude sickness again. I fell asleep about 2 hours into the drive when we had just started our ascent. We came to a stop and I thought I'd been asleep for 5 minutes but it had actually been an hour. I was so grateful I missed all of the elevation. We stopped to take pictures of alpaca and for people to use the restroom. When we finally got back to Arequipa we went to lunch at a Turkish restaurant. Then everyone either wanted to go shower or nap so Juan took me to the Santa Catalina Monastery.
On our way to the monastery we stopped by the plaza. There was political protest going on so we stopped to watch it. The group was supporters of presidential candidate Ollante (socialist) and they were rallying in front of a group standing on the second floor balcony. The man standing on the balcony was another presidential candidate, kochynski (capitalist). The monastery was so beautiful. The walls were all bright blue, red, and orange. It was incredibly creepy though. They had mannequin people all over the place and those are the scariest things in the world to me. It took a good hour and a half for Juan and I to go through the whole place and I got some amazing pictures.

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