Okay, so here's a brief rundown of my itinerary so far as I'm aware to this point. Monday morning, the 1st of February 2010, I fly from Minneapolis, to Atlanta, to Lima, arriving in the Peruvian capital right at midnight. I then have a 4 am flight to Arequipa, arriving in plenty of time to find breakfast before my 08:30 bus departing for Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. As it turns out, the 2nd of February is the main day of the 18-day Virgin de la Candelaria Festival in Puno. From perutravels.net:
"The festival gathers more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to celebrate the Mamacha Candelaria.
On the main day, February 2, the virgin is led through the city in a colorful procession comprising priests, altar boys, the faithful, Christians and pagans carefully maintaining the hierarchy. This is the moment when the troupes of musicians and dancers take the scene, performing and dancing throughout the city.
The festival is linked to the pre-Hispanic agricultural cycles of sowing and harvesting, as well as mining activities in the region. It is the result of a blend of respectful Aymara gaiety and ancestral Quechua seriousness."
Good timing, I guess. So it sounds like I might have to delay a few days in Puno and enjoy the festivities, but I have a sense of urgency about getting to La Paz, Bolivia because that is where I will meet up with Cappo. We're staying here: http://wildroverhostel.com/ It might be fun. Not sure yet.
So then the plan gets a bit more vague from there. There will be Spanish lessons involved; we plan to see the salt flats; but basically we'll just do what feels good, as that is the number one rule. Eventually we'll make our way down toward Buenos Aires. I would like to stop and see the Iguassu Falls, right where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil come together. I've been told they make Niagara look like a leaky faucet. Only one way to find out. I also intend to find Mendoza and drink as much wine as possible, but that might have to wait until we head back north and west.
According to an email I just received from Cappo, it sounds like we'll fly from Buenos Aires down to Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the continent, sometime in early March. It looks spectacular down there, so we'll go as far south as we can, then work our way back north by bus.
That's all I've got for 'plans' so far. Of course, I'm planning to improvise, as always. I imagine I'll keep this space somewhat updated as events progress.