The first week in a new city is exciting. There’s something about the initial disorientation that’s exhilarating. Until you look at a map of the city, your sense of direction (assuming you have one) is a little off. Distances seem further than they really are through traffic-heavy streets, then you walk and realize everything’s closer together.
We flew into Arequipa at sunset and saw the city from above, surrounded by pink and orange desert. The 19,101 ft Misti towers over the city and functions as a massive landmark. Navigating the city depends on the steady incline leading up to the volcano: from the McKinzie’s house, you have to “bajar” (go down) to the town center. To head back, you have to “subir” (go up). In other words, giving and receiving directions depends on your current altitude and that of your destination.
Each new city has a lot to offer. Some experiences you seek out from previous travel; other experiences are unique.
Here are a few of our “firsts” after a week in Arequipa:
- First crab empanada
- First neighborhood jog
- First shopping trip through the open air fruit and vegetable market
- First taxi ride
- First combi ride (the real public transportation, vans/buses that take you all over the city)
- First walk through the city center
- First coffee at the local café (where you’re soon to become a regular)
- First grocery store
Since we’re spending two months here, our goal is to begin the transition from “visitor” to “local.” A week in, we’re still learning the right questions to ask in order to make that transition.