Friday, August 19, 2011

The Sites to See (Aug 16, 2011)

El Mirador de Yanahuara

Yesterday, my host mom and brother and I went out to see a few famous sites. The first was El Mirador de Yanahuara. It is a look-out in the district of Yanahuara where you can see all three mountains of Arequipa. The first is Chachani, farthest left, in the middle is the main mountain of Arequipa, El Misti, and Pichu Pichu is the final mountain on the right. It's a truly stunning site with a beautiful cathedral next to it, completely made of the stone and ash from El Misti, and a park behind it with a beautiful view over Yanahuara in front.
Next, we went to La Plaza de Armas which is the main square of Arequipa. It is absolutely breathing taking, usually filled with people, and lights up (literally) at night. I wanted to cry, it is something that can truly only be explained by seeing it with all the people and energy. We went inside the cathedral with high domed ceilings and intricate designs.
The cathedral in La Plaza
Spending some time at the more touristy areas made me realize how not touristy Arequipa is. I am sure there are tourists from other areas of Latin America, but when it comes to the gringos and gringas, I am one of the few. Honestly, I much prefer that because I am not a huge fan of the typical tourist or the amount of show that is put on for them, so it has been really nice living in an actual neighborhood and only seeing the occasional white person. Of course, that also means I stand out more and, trust me, despite popular belief here, being told you look like a barbie/angel due to your hair can and does get old quite quickly. Thankfully, I have greatly enjoyed being apart of a local family where you don't go out to restaurants every day or have to take taxis every where. I think my favorite thing is when we go to the grandparents house and have a big meal with the whole family. It's confusing, but incredibly fun.
Local Fruit Market
I have also been able to spend some time with my host mom recently. We got our nails done (yay) and today we went to one of the mercados. Down the aisle of fruit, you can buy pretty much any kind you want and the Arequipeños are very proud of their food (especially fruit) because it is all local (and absolutely delicious)!

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