After several cups of wonderful Peruvian coffee, we took a flight from Lima to Arequipa where a driver was waiting. His sign read Cherry Potter which made us laugh. My yarn company is Cherry Tree Hill and my first name is Cheryl, but almost everyone I’ve met in Peru calls me Cherry.
Our hotel is Posada del Puete, downtown just a few blocks from Michell, where we will pick yarns and fibers. It is my favorite hotel, a hidden gem nestled in the river bank, renovated in the three years I’ve been gone. There are terraces and part of the hotel restaurant is underground, opening up to a riverside grotto, leading me to believe the resort is built on top of a ruin. From the bridge spanning the river, you can see the grounds, otherwise hidden from the smoke, noise and crowded streets above.
Raul found us a suite over looking the river with a private terrace—the perfect place to write. We went to the bar for a Pisco and found we had missed Raul for lunch. We took a table on the terrace, where cages of songbirds hung in the gardens and alpacas tied to stakes cropped the grass, but peacocks roamed free.
Tim coaxed a large male with full plumage to eat raisins from his hand as we had a lunch of local fish and pork. The fish was corvina—a tasty sea bass ubiquitous in Peru, accompanied by white asparagus and capers. Tim tried pan seared pork with potatoes. As an appetizer, we shared a stuffed avocado drizzled with chipotle mayonnaise. We could not begin to eat it all.
Afterwards, we walked around the city. At dusk, day workers swarmed the bus stops, where they herded into mini vans destined for the outskirts of town and hung out of the windows and off the sides of the impossibly full buses. Other vans trolled the streets, calling out names of the districts they serviced while potential passengers trotted along side, waiting for the others to somehow make room to pull them on.
At dark, we returned to our hotel to descend the steep steps down the riverbank. Peruvians tend to eat late and the restaurant was deserted. We talked to the bartender who remembered us from three years ago. As dinner patrons began to straggle in, we crossed the terraces to our room beside the thundering river, too tired for food.