So we caught the overnight bus from Nazca last night. We were not expecting too much, but we were pretty suprised when we boarded the bus to find it was equiped with recliner seats - i'm not just talking about being able to recline the back of the seat, but a leg rest as well. It was pretty well equiped - not that is really any exchange for a real bed and pillow. While we did sleep, I was pretty restless but probably the best you could expect on a bus. I get the feeling that the idea of having an overnight bus is mainly to combat the potential for car sickness. Nazca is about 500m above sea level, while Arequipa is over 2,500m - so there is a lot of mountain climbing involved, and this involves many many windy and often hairpin turns.
I think the best option was sleeping. It was a little nerve racking at times with the bus driver pumping 'Black Betty' from his sealed off compartment while driving (often faster than I think a bus should have been) through the mountain bends.
This was the first bus service we have been on where the in service movies were in english, so this was a little novelty. They also served a light breakfast of mini hot-dogs and highly sweetend black coffee on the bus - we found this a little weird but hunger got the better of us.
So today we ventured out into the streets of Arequipa and did a tour of a local monistry - which was pretty cool. Arequipa has a fantastic view of some nearby snow capped mountains, and an active volcano nearby. Great scenery.
We have noticed that the heigher we are going the cooler it is getting. We will be going over 4,500m tomorrow - our highest point, and have been warned that the next three days could be quite cool.
For me the altitude has been a little noticable. I think Laura is coping with it much better at the moment, but the next week or so will tell. We have been told to drink coca tea or eat coca sweats to help with the affects of altitude. The coca tea is not that different from green tea. We will also get the opertunity to get some coca leaves to brew our own tea while on the home stay.
We have our first (of two) home stays in two days time, so we are looking forward to that.
Anyway, probably wont be near internet for the next few days, so will try to write more once we get back into civilisation :)