Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 37 - Chocolate Is My Drug Of Choice

Researching Arequipa before arriving there might have prevented the hectic, early morning confusion that ensued. The bus arrived around 5 am. We took a taxi to a nearby hostel. There, Sucharit suggested we go to Chivay, a tiny village on the east end of Colca Canyon. We then walked to the plaza, hoping to find a combi to this village. There were none. We took another taxi back to the bus terminal and at 6 am bought 3 tickets for the bus to Chivay two hours later. The bus company claimed the ride would be 2.5 hours long. We reached the pueblo in 4 hours. The stuffiness of the place and the dusty roads didn´t prevent friendly women from advertising their hospidajes. We took one such hotel and ate lunch at its restaurant. While chewing my veggie sandwich, my eyes remained glued to the ridiculous telenovela playing on the screen. It was in Spanish, and yet the dramatic arguments and scene-appropriate soundtrack made the storylines all too clear.

Most of the day was over, so we decided to explore the area surrounding Chivay. The winding road took us to a terraced area. It was an almost direct replica of Moray, but on a much smaller scale. The sun was shining above the canyon right into the inner bowl of the ruins. Sucharit sat on a bench and began strumming on his chirango. Nikhil and I made our way up the rocky hills, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunset. We didn´t predict that the sun would be hiding behind another large mountain. Instead of the sunset, we found fifteen dome shaped structures made of stone. It was amazing to see these structures, because the irregularly shaped rocks didn´t fit together. Even though there were plenty of spaces in the walls, the domes didn´t collapse, defying gravity. They all had one tiny window, too small for a person to squeeze through. Standing out amidst these domes was another rocky monument. This one was cylindrical and the stones were cemented together, making it more sturdy. It seemed to be a lookout point, with trapezoidal windows that revealed a bird´s eye view of Chivay. Nikhil spotted Sucharit on the tiny bridge below. It was late and getting chilly. We followed a set of stairs leading us to the road we started on.

The highlight of the evening was dinner and dessert at Inkafe, their claim to fame being the play on words and a backward K. I was more impressed with their freshly baked pizzas and out-of-this-world chocolate Tres Leches cake. It was swimming in milk, browned from the cocoa, and deliciously moist. Every bite was finger-lickin´ good, and I relished it more than our other sweets for the night: black forest cake and another chocolate cake with pecans. The desserts reminded me once again of why I love chocolate - it´s decadent perfection always makes me happy. If stomachs could talk, mine would have said "I am in heaven."

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