Life in Arequipa can be strange for foreigners, especially in the first few weeks. In many ways, the culture in Arequipa is similar to the lives we come from, but some things are just weird:
Eating guinea pigs
The fluffy little animals are held as pets in most cultures, but in Peru, they are a local delicacy! Peruvians enjoy the “cuys” on special occasions roasted with potatoes.
Musical garbage trucks
In Arequipa, garbage trucks don’t pass by to pick up your trash on dedicated times, but they have their own very special rhythm. You can hear them already blocks away from your house as they always play the melody from the Disney movie “Arielle” loud enough for you to take out your trash on time.
Barbecue in the street
You are on the way and hungry but have no time to go to a restaurant? No problem in Arequipa! You can find lovely ladies on every corner grilling meat skewers on their self-made grills next to the street.
Life in Arequipa makes the dream of every summer lover come true as here you can enjoy the blue sky and sunshine all year long. Literally every day you can expect steady 20-25 degrees Celsius. Even in the rainy season from December-February, there is sunshine!
The city of shoelaces
Did you ever urgently need new shoelaces when you were on the go? Neither did I, but apparently people in Arequipa do, as selling shoelaces seems to be a serious business here. You can get them in almost every street in all colours and shapes, as well as TV remotes.
In Arequipa, you will get to know a whole new bus culture. Even if you think the bus is full already, the drivers’ assistant will not stop shouting “Sube, sube, sube!” (get in) until all the passengers have breathing troubles and you cannot count the number of people you are touching anymore. At least like this, you cannot fall during the bus ride which usually is more like riding a roller coaster with high-speed turns, full breaks and jumps over bumps in the street.
Last but not least…
… dried alpaca fetus! This is probably the strangest thing you will find on your cultural expedition in Arequipa. On the San Camilo market, and probably also other markets, you can find dried unborn alpacas that are sold as remedies against different illnesses or as an offering to Pachamama – mother nature.