Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 3, Colca Canyon

We got up early, and fortified with a thickly blended fruit juice and bread for breakfast, we hurried off to be the first people at the Condor look-out. We had come to far to see these......I can't imagine how we might have felt if they had not graced us with their presence.

Weighing up to 33#, the Andean condor cannot fly, but rather waits to be lifted up out of the canyon on warm air currents, then gliding for miles and miles .

It was cold, but warming up by the minute. Bus loads of tourists were arriving, but we had our spot staked out. No amount of jostling by men tall and large would move me from my spot! It was a bit of a stretch for me not to assign blame to the nationality of said jostling large people.

Finally, to my silent internal scream of "WHERE?", our guide announced, "There it is!" The streamers tied to the cross on the opposite hill fluttered in the wind. WHERE?

Finally, I saw her! I took for granted that the guide was correct about the gender.

On the left is a juvenile, brown. Adults are black and white.

I was split between feasting my eyes on these magnificent, huge birds and trying to capture their image with my camera. Looking through the lens of a camera is not the same as seeing with the naked eye. I would stare, and forget to press the shutter. Awesome! Several condors glided in the near distance, but one young female (brown) came right over our heads....back and if to show herself off. So large! You definitely would not want one to poop on you.

What a majestic sight, a mature condor against the blue sky of the Andes! I don't know whether we saw 4 or 5 adults and two juveniles, or whether they all were the same birds. We did hear later on that we had been extremely fortunate to have seen them.

Then, it was back on the road! Finally warm, I snoozed most of the way.

"Hanging" tomb in the mountainside. Originally, full of precious artifacts along with silver and gold, all were cleaned out by robbers.

When we got back to Arequipa, our guide offered to show us an herbal pharmacy and a good alpaca shop. I bought lots of maca to bring home, and the alpaca store was heaven! Doreen and I each bought a gorgeous wrap! We were elated with the price and the ladies of the shop were elated with the sales.
Both of us crashed rather suddenly. We managed a bite to eat, before falling into cold beds without a shower......again. We were going to be picked up at some ungodly early morning hour for our flight to Cusco.

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