Thursday, October 1, 2015

Arequipa's Old Town

We have enjoyed our stay in Arequipa, although the protest marches 
taking place here (they're on day 54) have set us on edge a bit.

It's Old Town (ever notice that every old town has an Old Town?) looks clean and pretty tidy, although we do notice that everything (and I do mean every single dwelling and shop and restaurant) is barred @ both door and windows.

We see lots of daily life by being out on foot, and it gives us a better feel for what life is really like in this town (or that town, or the next town);  so we always do lots and lots and lots of walking.

Many of their older buildings have been re-purposed as hotels, like this one (and like ours ~ see the post "Casa Andina").  But you will notice that it's got serious bars @ the windows and a huge metal door.  

Evidently big-ass doors were the thing back then.

This "smallish" church is not the main Cathedral.

But I thought it looked interesting.  We weren't able to go inside , though.  Peru, unlike other countries we've visited, does not permit visitors during mass.  I can't say I disagree with this policy.  I've always felt uncomfortable (in Italy or in Spain, for example) when we tourists are allowed to barge in during their worship service, snapping pictures and whispering in the background.  Even when it's permitted it still feels like I'm being disrespectful.  

There are a few cute little nooks and crannies (and Coca Cola is everywhere in the world, yes?)

But it mostly looks like this.  Pretty barren, not much fluff.   Streets are still cobblestone.  We find that people walk with a purpose here, everyone is headed somewhere and need to get there in a hurry, evidently.  

We are still very aware of the need to avoid the protest marches.  So when we see a flag headed that way we immediately turn on our heels and head the opposite way.

We figure that businesses have these "riot doors" for a reason......

Everything's barred and locked.  Even the pay phones.  

Here's the local travel agency ~ if you want to book an excursion or day trip, this is the place.  There's a huge canyon near here that's a big tourist destination, sort of like our Grand Canyon in Arizona. That's where you go to see the condors flying.  We have enough adventure on our platter for this trip, so we passed on that.

Even this laundromat has riot doors ~ which are in use today ~ hmmm..........

Yet daily life goes on.  People sell their wares on the street ~ 

And hang out on the street (gotta' love those big-ass doors!).

We got a kick out of the way all these laundromats vent their dryers right out the front door.   

This is big-time backpacking / excursion country, so we see lots of inexpensive hostels, as low as $10 US per night.

This one provides all kinds of rooms for travelers ~ single, double, matrimonial, triple, and economic double.  ????    And bus tickets.

And right across the street are the Tourist Police.  

Whew!  I feel so much safer already!

I have no idea what this means.  Flying dogs?

Still, there is much here that's beautiful.

From the town square ~ 

To the monastery ~ 

To the people ~ 

To the friendliest, most enthusiastic crossing guard you've ever met in your life ~ 

We are very glad we came.

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