I woke up this morning to a strange sound. After a few minutes I realized it was my alarm. It was 5am. I knocked gently on Yieber’s door and waited until I knew he was awake. We needed to get an early start so we could reach our destination by 8 o’clock. I was becoming familiar with both the city and the routine. As we traveled in the taxi toward the spot where we would catch the bus, I readied 4 soles to pay the driver. I handed it to Yieber reminding him that for same trip yesterday was 3 and half soles. We pulled to the curb and the driver announced, 3 soles.
Today we got a deal. We had saved equivalent of about 25 cents. If I went on my own it would have been 5 soles.
We sat in the front seat today to avoid motion sickness for Yieber. For me was a better view. We got out in the town of Lamay and had a warm drink made from quinoa and slices of banana cake. (It was so good, I had two slices.) Yieber spoke with the men and joked about traveling with a gringo. I look like such a gringo. (Green Go is where the original expression came from… American army green, and Go! The only 2 words the locals needed to know in English. In other words you don’t belong here) In Peru, I stick out like a sore thumb, lond hair and blue eyes amidst a see of black and brown.
Yieber negotiated the terms for the next leg of our journey. We had to wait until there were enough people for the car to be completely packed. It was almost 7:30 and the teachers (the other passengers) needed to arrive at school before 8am. The last passenger arrived and we headed up the mountain on yet another windy gravel road.
They say first impressions count and I can tell you Hanaq Chuquibamba made a lasting impression on me. The air was fresh with eucalyptus and the birds sang clear and cheerfully in the morning sunshine. The view was 360 degree beautiful. I was instantly impressed with the layout of the houses, most of which looked new.
We climbed a well worn path to a construction area where several locals were building what appeared to be a large home. It turned out to be a restaurant. Yieber spoke with the men in the local language and then asked the forman if we could i
nterview him. He graciously accepted.
After we finished filming we walked around to take more photos of the tiny yet prosperous village.
Before too long we met an elderly man who was on his way to feed the bulls. He invited us to come along.
Yieber helped a young mother water her garden then some locals came and played a song on flute and drum.
A bent over old woman appeared with a slop bucket for the pigs then invited us back to her home. She brought me fresh watermelon while Yieber chewed coca leaves with her husband.
I photographed a huge hummingbird in their garden which boasted a mix of vegetables, fruits and flowers. When I saw the white cali lilies I was reminded of my recently passed friend who’s ashes rested in a small packet in my pocket. I knew this was the perfect place to release her and made the decision to do so on our way down the mountain.
It turned out to be true. They also feed 180 students breakfast and lunch each day. We I asked the principal for permission to film he invited us to eat with them as well. IT WAS DELICIOUS!
Yieber suggested that we walk down so we headed towards the path that ran beside the creek. It took over 2 hours and along the way we saw incredible sights. I was happy when we reached a shady section near the bottom of the mountain that ran beside the creek. When I first saw this photo, I thought it looked like I was flipping someone off… but I´m actually giving the peace sign. What a feeling of accomplishment and how good it felt to finally be adjusted to the altitude.
Long day, but very rewarding. We have another early start tomorrow so lights out for me.