It has been a mad period of time after getting back from Peru, hence the reason it has taken so long to write this last post! It was a great last few days at the workshop, spending the last couple days listening to some talks and instructing on the use of our Raspberry Pi ultraviolet cameras. One evening we had some telescope time at the hotel we were staying at, pretty cool looking through and seeing the four Galilean moons around Jupiter which was clear enough to see the striping!
On our last day in Yanque we had planned to head back up to Sabancaya to get some more data, but alas, the weather Gods were against us, and it still involved a really early wake up time, before 5 am. Plume in the wrong direction and clouds over the summit. Thats the way remote sensing is sometimes! See the video blog below. In all I think we got some decent data from the first day of fieldwork, so not a disaster but its always good to get as much data as possible. A little disappointing but it did mean a visit to Colca Canyon! Quite an impressive area to visit with some condors thrown in too. After this straight back to Arequipa. Heading back down to Arequipa was actually a huge relief on the lungs as far as oxygen content was concerned, but certainly not for all the pollution! A relaxed time for about 24 hours before the trip home, which was a little unorthodox to say the least. Certainly learnt a few things about booking flights for the future, and certainly worth keeping in mind for an upcoming Vanuatu trip, must buy those flights soon.
Flights on the way home should have been - Arequipa to Lima to Amsterdam to London Heathrow. So, off to flight number one, at Arequipa discovered a 30 minute delay on our flight to Lima, leaving us an hour to connect to a different flight, this sounded tight to us (me and Tom)...but we were assured this was enough time and were even given row one seats. Pretty sure we sat next to a Peruvian footballer and someone who behaved like a politician. They were personally greeted, this is all the evidence we had, definitely concrete sightings. Landing at Lima, up like a flash, and....we had the joys of the bus journey to the terminal followed by a 10 minute wait to collect bags. Legging it from the domestic terminal to the check-in desks, we were too late. Shuddering to a halt in front of the security cordon we were stopped by a guy with a lanyard who immediately looked at us, stated "KLM - follow me!" and he was off at speed! Assuming that this guy was waiting for us we followed at a matched pace, until some alarm bells started ringing...guy tried to grab my bag to start wheeling it, we were moving away from the terminal, and he even started to get a little agitated when we questioned him about officialdom., pointing at his faded plastic lanyard. A brief return to the terminal showed us that the check-in was closed (in fact we would have struggled to make it if the flight was on time!), we therefore decided to follow, at an increased distance, until it appeared the guy was probably legit and we ended up at airport offices. After an hour of haggling and negotiation we knocked down a 10 day wait for a return flight (mental!), £4000 each for business class the next day, to flights 5 hours later with a lengthy Atlanta layover.
Anyhow, we got back, eventually, and that was it for Peru. Overall, an incredible experience and one I hope to repeat very soon.