We tried to see the Colca Canyon, but we didn´t really get far enough in to it, though we ended up doing a very nice hike. We stayed right at the beginning of the canyon, where it was mostly just a river, but we did see a condor on the hike so that made it pretty awesome. And Chivy, the town we stayed in, has some nice hot springs where we kept running into people we knew from other touristy places, haha. After heading back to Arequipa for the night (which included Karaoke!) and next day, we took the night bus to Pisco. I had some sort of 12 hour stomach bug, which lasted just about the same amount of time as the bus. After we arrived in Pisco we spent the first day mostly sleeping to make up for the bus ride. The town of Picso had a major earthquake just two years ago so basically the entire town is under construction. Every time we left the hotel the main street we walked down looked completely different, going from mostly piles of dirt to almost a flat road by the time we left. We booked a morning tour of some the islands and national park of Paraques, which was great. The islands have thousands of birds everywhere, in fact Peru collects the bird guano from them every 7 years. They also have Penguins and Sea Lions! I was very excited about the Penguins. Next to the beach is a desert, which was the second half of the tour which was cool also.
From Pisco we headed to Lima just for one day before our flight to Santiago. We stayed in the young and hip area of town which was quite far from the main plaza and churches, so we ended up not even going over to that part of town. We met some other travelers and spent the day wandering around the beach, playing Scrabble in a funky cafe, jamming with every ones travel guitars (well the two of them), eating really good Italian food and then later dancing the night away. Maybe not the typical Lima stuff, but it was a pretty awesome day. The next day we flew to Santiago and Carolina, Eric's friend, picked us up and we stayed at her house for three days. I really really like Santiago, its the kind of city I could see living in even. Its fun and modern, but also full of markets and street food. Pretty much awesome. We were there on Columbus day and while most things were closed, we also accidentally came across a huge protest/ parade thing which was cool to see. Lots of yelling and street dancing, a fun combination. I think they were protesting about indigenous rights. We watched that for a while and then walked around this park on a huge hill, which had great views of the city and surrounding mountains. The next day Eric's other friend Vale took us out to lunch and on a little city tour, which was great fun. Both Vale and Carolina studied abroad in Albuquerque, which is how Eric knows them, and they speak very good English, which was good for me because while my Spanish is getting better Chileans speak soooo crazy fast. Hopefully before I leave I´ll be able to understand a bit more, haha. Today we took the bus to Valparaiso, about two hours away and on the coast. So far it seems like a cute and colorful town and I hear it has a fun nightlife. We are only going to stay a few days before heading back to Santiago.