Our time in Arequipa was spent during Semana Santa, or Holy Week which leads up to Pascua, or Easter. The city was up and about and ready for a Feriado, or a day off from work! Churches were decorated in their Easter fineness and incredibly life like scenes from parts of the resaurection were on display. Thursday night the celebration went to the streets as there was no work for most on Friday. The streets were free of traffic and lined with tables, benches, food stands and women with their pots and pans. As is our usual practice we didn´t hold back and we tried everything. We went to four churches in total.
We drank moliente - the moliente cart had five or six bottles of colorful liquids on one side, a pot with water and herbs in the middle and another misterious liquid on the side. One moliente has a little bit of it all and is good for the stomach. It is little heavy in a syrupy way and little sweet. We didn´t have any specific stomach problems to begin with, but I was glad we didn´t have any extra after we drank it!
We drank punch and a Diana - punch is a tea with fruit and anis, and a Diana is a drink with condensed milk, almonds, anis and maybe some other tasty spices. These drink were served at long tables with benches. It was very communal!
Skewers of beef heart and potatoes - tasty but leave you with bad breath...
We ate chifa - Peruvin Chinese food - noodles and chicken and rice.
We ate chocolate covered strawberries too!
The next night most restaurants were closed so we got some real Chifa and then headed to the new cinema to see Nine. On the way we crossed the plaza and bumbed into a big procession for Good Friday. They were walking around the square displaying and marching with all kinds of artifacts, or recreations of artifacts like a cross, the hankercheif with Jesus´face, and most impressivly with a giant glass coffin with a life size statue of Jesus after he was removed from the cross in it. Intense is the only word I can use to describe these people and religion.