Day 11

On Friday, we were woken up at the truly inhumane hour of 5:30 am, so that we could stumble groggily onto a bus and sleep through six hours of a beautiful scenic drive to Peru’s highlands. Around noon, our bus arrived at the hotel we would be staying in, where we were very excited by the playground, complete with a miniature “zipline” (that all but Henry and John were unable to ride without hitting the ground) and a trampoline, which we may or may not have broken where it was previously only slightly damaged. There were also not one, but two pools, which lots of people swam in--briefly, because the water was freezing--and a water slide which, after sliding down and yelping in pain, Michael and Jack swore was lots of fun and didn’t hurt at all. The best part, however, was the river, which everyone had lots of fun exploring, and Sonja and Grace used as the backdrop for a stunning photo shoot. They got some gorgeous shots, but learned of the hazards of jumping near moving water when Grace’s Birkenstock fell off and landed in the river, necessitating immediate action to rescue it from the shallow rapids.

After a late lunch (and a quick hour-long break so all the girls could change outfits) we headed to a nearby ziplining place, where we all put on harnesses and got to practically fly over the startlingly beautiful river. It was incredible…despite the attempts of Ian, Michael and Jack (who all went first) to psych us out before our own departures. Loa even took her camera and got some nauseating footage of the ride. The scariest part in our opinion, was climbing up the rock face between ziplines, though the zipline employee assured us--while he wasn’t laughing at our nervousness, nor Loa’s flustered attempts to locate the very obvious path to the top of the second launch point--that we were just fine. Despite his words however, one major calamity did occur: the loss of another Birkenstock. This one, belonging to Dana, fell, possibly never to be seen again, as she was nearing the end of the first zipline. Luckily, it landed away from the river, and after all the rest of us had gone past, the zipline employee was able to retrieve it for her.

Once we had all returned safely (with all shoes accounted for) from across the river, we got back on the bus and drove a short way into the nearby town, where we had a chance to peruse more handmade crafts. There was also a piercing booth. Unfortunately, the chaperones deemed it unsafe; we can’t imagine why. The best find at the market, though not as thrilling as cheap body piercings, was some delicious chocolates, which the chaperones purchased and shared with everyone. (Not to say that the students didn’t also buy chocolates, but unlike the chaperones…we weren’t sharing.) Our appetites whetted by sweets, we returned to the hotel for a dinner of beef and mashed potatoes, which, though tasty enough, tragically did not include dessert (except for deplorably overpriced Frio Ricos, that only the most desperate purchased). After dinner, we retreated to our rooms, where some of the girls had a movie night, watching Just Go With It on an iPhone. Really, the picture, size, and quality was unparalleled. Eventually, everyone turned in, excited for the perhaps slightly less exotic activities planned for Saturday: hiking.

- Gwen and Sonja



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