Arequipa – Earthquake

I was in Cuzco, walking in to an agency to know the price of a bus ticket to Arequipa when the woman told me not to get in and walk out the store. Outside she told me it was happening an earthquake. I haven’t felt it, only when she said, I realized the walls were moving. There was music in the streets and people were dancing to commemorate Inti Rayme, they were not feeling the trembler.

After a few days I want to Arequipa. The bus trip takes 12 hours. The road that is usually awful, after the earthquake was even worse. The bus was full, children were sleeping on the aisle and a woman by my side was throwing up the whole trip. At this time I was thinking if it was really worthwhile to visit Arequipa.

The answer was yes. The city is beautiful, almost all constructed with volcanic white rocks called “sillar”. The colonial architecture of the buildings, arches, churches are a reason to go there. Another is the climate. As it is not so high (about 2300m), it is not cold and apparently it is always sunny.

I could see the damages caused by the earthquake. In each block there was a sign to keep out, because a building had cracks and could offer danger to someone who would pass by. The cathedral, a tourist attraction, lost one of its towers and the other one was almost gone. Many places were destroyed, and there was people working on the sites everywhere.

People were very nostalgic, they wanted to see the city as it was before. They were also ready to start again, to reconstruct everything. There were huge lines to use the public phones. The local telephone company let some public phones without charging, so people could call anywhere to tell their friends and family that they were alive from the earthquake.

Arequipa has a great variety of restaurants, bars, handcraft shops and travel agencies that attracts any tourist. When I was in town there was another trembler, it was Saturday around 3am. I was at a disco dancing with friends and we didn’t feel it.

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