Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Salt Flats and Rainbows

My friends and I have made it a tradition to try to go somewhere different every weekend. This past weekend, it was Salineras - the salt flats about 30 minutes away.

When you try to go somewhere in Peru, you never have an address or an exit to go by. You get word-of-mouth directions using random landmarks. This time our directions were as follows: "Head to Urubamba, but don't go all the way there. When you see the rainbow hostel, you're in the right place." Mind you, the Inca flag is a rainbow, and it's absolutely impossible to differentiate the real rainbow hostel from the imposters.

As we were Combi-ing along, we all started thinking that maybe we had gone too far. We were almost at Urubamba when somebody shouted "RAINBOW!" and all seven of us, in unison, yell "BAJA!" (Which is what you say to get the Combi to stop and let you off). Every Peruvian on that combi was either staring at us or laughing at us uncontrollably.

When we got off and realized that we were probably at the wrong rainbow hostel, we asked some random Quechua lady on the side of the road for directions. She told us we had to walk for a half an hour. Instead of doing thattt, we went the lazy route and hopped on a moto (basically a motorcycle with 3 wheels and barely enough room for 3 people) and headed to the actual rainbow hostel. Of course, when we got off the moto, we were incredibly gringo-ed by the driver, who charged us 2 soles per person when it really should have been 50 centimos. Lesson #234890: Always negotiate the price before hopping in your preferred method of transportation.


After wheezing my way to the top of the salt flats, we had an incredible view that seemed to go on and on and on. I'd say it was definitely worth the 2 soles.

Salineras! (Yes, that is all salt)

Later that night we had "family dinner" at the volunteer house, where my friends Sunni and Kate attempted (and succeeded) to make their own Pisco Sours. (Pisco + raw egg whites + a million limes + simple syrup + ice)

Sunni flaunting her new pisco-souresque purchases at the market

Sunday night we hit up The Albergue, the fanciest restaurant in town. Awamaki volunteers not only get a discount on their food, but they can also use the sauna for free afterwards. SO perfect.

This coming weekend is the Aniversario of Ollantaytambo. What does that mean, exactly? Parties every night (and most days) from this Thursday until Tuesday. Awamaki will even be marching in a parade on Saturday morning (including Yours Truly!) Looks like my next blog post will be muchhhh much more interesting.

P.S. Today is my 4 week mark in Ollanta! So glad I'm here :-)

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