Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back from Cola Canyon to Arequipa

Photos here.

We knew that there had been protests going on (which was why we had had to get up stupid o´clock for our Canyon trek), and our guide had been a bit worried in the morning about whether or not the buses would be running. But we´d managed to find a bus and all had been going well, until the bus stopped and we all had to get out.

We joined a string of people looking very much like the refugees you always see on television and started the long walk back into town.

Initially it was hoped that we would just have to get past the roadblock and then pick up a bus on the other side.

Unfortunately it turns out that they block roads properly in this country. About 10km of the road was covered in rocks, burning tires and roadblocks.

There were a couple of hairy moments at the start, with big mobs of people marching down the road towards police lines, but we managed to walk around any trouble and crossed the police lines to relative tranquility, still lots of roadblocks and burning tires, but less angry protesters.

The people are currently quite upset with the current president and want to force an election (their spelling is worse then mine...).

Most people seemed to be just trying to get home, only methods of transport that the protesters allow through the roadblocks are bicycles and pedestrians. Attempting to go through by car is not a good idea...

We did get one life along the way, but only between two roadblocks - a couple of hundred meters or so.

Finally after about 2 hours walking, luckily almost all downhill, we made to the end of the roadblocks. This got a cheer from the locals who all seemed to be quite impressed that a bunch of gringos had made it all the way through.

Unfortunately when we got to the hostel we were supposed to be staying in, we found that there was no room and that our reservation had been cancelled as no one had been able to leave. Pretty disappointing, especially as they have free pancakes for breakfast...

It now looks like we´ll be in Arequipa until Tuesday when the protests are scheduled to be finished - no idea how long it´s going to take to clear the roads, hopefully they´ll tidy up after themselves.

Monday will apparently be the worst day, the protesters will be coming into the town so apparently we´ll be holed up in the hostel and unable to leave. Today will be spent purchasing supplies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good gracious, Chris. Be careful! Sounds like hairy stuff.

Amy Y.