Getting to know the small town that is Moquegua
I’ll be honest, getting to Moquegua from Mexico was a pain. First, I had to take a three hour bus from Puebla to the Mexico City Airport. I tried to sleep as much as possible on the bus because I knew how much travel time I had ahead of me. I got on the bus at 5:30AM (July 1st) and my flight was at 10:23AM. Since it was an international flight, I had to be there at least 2 hours in advance. I flew from Mexico City to San Salvador and got my first in-flight meal ever!
The flight attendant told me there was no meat in the pasta, but I’m pretty sure there were small chunks at the bottom that I just avoided.
When I landed in Lima, I had to go through immigration. Luckily, I didn’t have to do this in San Salvador. By the time I got through immigration and picked up my bags, it was close to 10:00PM.
I couldn’t check my bags until closer to my flight time (5:00AM), so I grabbed a corner in the airport to get some sleep. I was paranoid about someone taking my stuff, so I made sure an arm or a leg was hooked through all my pieces of luggage (one suitcase, one duffel bag, my backpack, and my purse). Then, I put my jacket over my face to shut out some of the light and the noise.
I managed to sleep a bit, but it was definitely not good sleep – the ground was freezing and very uncomfortable. At 2:00AM, I checked my bags and went to find some food. I ended up buying an egg sandwich and orange juice at the Dunkin Donuts in the airport. Then I went to my terminal and saw a bunch of people laying down on the seats sleeping, so I did the same.
I landed in Arequipa, Peru at 6:30AM and I’m pretty sure that this was the smallest airport I have ever been in. I picked up my bags, put them through the scanner (yes, they x-ray your bags before you leave the airport) and went to find a taxi.
I took a taxi to the colectivos (cars you share with other people) to go to Moquegua. My taxi driver was trying to hold a conversation with me and I guess my Spanish is pretty decent because he asked me if I was Mexican. The taxi ride was 30 soles (Peruvian currency) and the colectivo ride was 35.
The ride to Moquegua took about three hours. We made one stop where we had to put our bags through a scanner and then continued on. Once we made it to Moquegua, I took another taxi to S.’s house (my advisor).
When I arrived, I felt disgusting, so she walked me over to the field house so I could take a shower. She warned me about the electrical wiring here…it’s not grounded in the same way as the States, so if you accidentally touch the metal shower handle when the heating unit is on in the bathroom, you’ll get shocked.
I showered and headed back over to her house to eat empanadas and get ready to head to another prof’s house for a fourth of July party. I have no idea how, but I managed to stay up til midnight.
There are a lot of events in the plaza, such as protests, lectures, or cultural reenactments, as I would see.
One day, there was a reenactment of the meeting of the leaders of the Tiwanaku and the Wari at Cerro Baul. The following pictures and video document this event. The Wari were notably more violent (in real life) than the Tiwanaku, even utilizing trophy heads!
Less than two weeks left until I get to be home, and I have started a running list of all the things I am excited about.
1. Buying all the Morningstar Farms vegetarian products in the entire grocery store.
2. Reliable water pressure.
3. The ability to control the shower water temperature so that it is neither freezing nor scalding hot.
4.No longer having to worry about paying “gringo tax” in taxis because I am white.
5. Not having to soak my vegetables in diluted bleach so that I don’t die when I eat them.
To be continued….
This post is dedicated to the first dog we got as a family – Shyla. She barked way too much and loved too fiercely. She will be missed and the house will be much too quiet without her.