Although I haven't always been a good boy on my trip, so far I've managed to avoid any trouble with the law. I've been a victim of crime before, and I've gone to the police before; but today it was the police that came to me. After I accidentally found myself on the A29 autostrada (freeway) this morning — headed west from Mazara to Campobello — I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself getting pulled over by Sicily's Polizia Stradale ("Highway Police"). As I (pretty much) knew, it's illegal to cycle on an autostrada — and once you get on them, it's impossible to turn around, and impossible to get off until the next exit.
You can't travel around the world for a year, without expecting to lose or to have stolen a number of things. This morning, my camera became the latest victim of the trip. I knew I would lose it eventually, but I never expected that it would happen quite like this.
I was sitting in an Internet café in downtown Arequipa, blogging and e-mailing away, when a mother with a small baby — and her female friend — came out of the bathroom, and walked behind where I was sitting. The mother dropped some tissues (to my left), and asked me to pick them up for her. I picked most of them up; she asked me if I could please pick up the rest. Which I did.
Ten minutes later, I got up, paid for my Internet time, walked out and down the road for about 20m, and then realised that my camera (which had been on the desk, to my right) was not in my pocket. I sprinted back to the café, but alas: the camera was not to be seen anywhere. And thus, here ends my time as the proud owner of an HP PhotoSmart R707, 5.1MP (3x opt zoom) digital camera.
This afternoon, our three-day hike of the Cañon del Colca was almost finished. We'd finished our relaxing visit to the hot springs in Chivay (and the great buffet lunch), and all that remained was to complete one last bus journey, back to Arequipa. And that proved to be the hardest part of the whole tour. Because Arequipa is currently a city under siege: the protests that I saw on Tuesday, before I left on the hike, have gotten much worse; all roads in and out of the city are now blockaded by angry mobs, and every man and his dog is now up in arms about life, the government, and everything. This made our journey home very interesting indeed.
I was already mising Spanish when I touched down in San Francisco airport; but I wasn't missing it for long, because when I jumped on a shuttle bus into the city, both the driver and my fellow passenger were fluent Spanish speakers! The driver was an immigrant from El Salvador, and the other lady on the bus must have learnt it at some point. ¡Bienvenidos a Los Estados Unidos de America, amigo!