Kermit smoothies and a Colca Canyon cock up…

I saw this yesterday. It’s a glass box of swimming frogs situated quite ominously next to a blender, a tray of eggs and various tubs containing things like salt and garlic. Kermit smoothie anyone? God I love Peru.

I do not however, love the tour operator who sold me a “moderate hike” to the world’s second biggest canyon, Colca Canyon three days ago. She fed me a hamper-full of LIES and consequently I am sitting here in Arequipa in absolute agony. Seriously. I can barely move.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that compared to scaling and then descending Colca Canyon, walking the four-day Inca Trail was like walking a soft, sheepskin rug in mohair-lined slippers. There were tears, there were tantrums, there were bus rides bumpy enough to make us all see stars and then, there was the despicable act of extricating every last sol out of us as we went about trying to “enjoy” what was left of the experience.

Every path we took resulted in us standing before some sweet-smiling, hair-swishing Peruvian lady with a table full of snacks and drinks, which we were forced into buying because… wait for it… unlike on the Inca Trail, the tour did not include snacks and drinks.

Yes, a tour involving one of the country’s biggest hikes, a tour invoking sweats the likes of which you probably wouldn’t even experience standing on the SUN, did not include any water. Water cost a whopping ten sols per bottle (£2.50) and “no, we can’t boil the kettle and provide any with lunch, either.”

No reason. “We just can’t.”

Luckily we got to marvel at views like this:

Which you’d think would make up for having to rise at 4am in order to start a three-hour uphill climb to the top of a canyon, without being given so much as a hot drink. That’s right. Breakfast on day two was not to be served until we reached the top of the canyon – a steep and rocky, slippy-slidy, near-on verticle surface I wound up scaling on the back of a mule. Don’t judge me. Even the mule had problems. Other people walked but I can barely open my eyes in the morning without a coffee, let alone hike myself out of a fucking canyon.

Breakfast in the end was one bread roll each. We weren’t allowed any more. We were rationed roughly six coffee sachets between twelve of us, too, and “No, we can’t give you any more.”

No reason. “We just can’t.”

Anyway, suffice to say I probably won’t be signing up with any more dodgy tour companies here in Peru. Instead I’m bussing it to Lima and then flying up to Iquitos to play with some shamans in the jungle and learn more about the sacred medicine, ayahuasca.

Well, it can’t get any weirder than this:

Wish me luck.