Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 2, on the Way to Colca Canyon

Our driver and guide picked us up at 9 AM, and fortified with coca tea, we set out for our next adventure. On the way out of town, we saw Misty, the volcano, in the distance. I did not get a shot, so bought this post card.

Most of the long ride was through open country of scrub turning into lush, marshland of ducks. For the most part, though, it was non-stop vicunas (never domesticated), llamas, and alpacas. There were so many, and from the distance, they looked a lot like rounded rocks.

Tiredness and lack of dinner or breakfast caught up with me....though I've always had difficulty staying awake in a moving car that I was not driving myself.

I welcomed every opportunity to get out of the car and breathe in what little bit there was of fresh air. There were handicraft sellers at every look-out, and I searched in vain for something a bit different. How could it be possible that they all made exactly the same things? Did they not understand competition? One of the places where I boldly ventured out to do my handicrafts inspection was at 16,500 ft. The fact that someone was lying flat on the ground being administered oxygen, didn't deter me. After all, I
figured, I would just have some, too, should I need it....thank you very much. I had selected one trinket with great care, but when I went to pay, it became immensely difficult. I returned to our van as quickly as I could manage, and only then realized how fool-hardy I had been. Simply administering oxygen is not sufficient in many cases, and people have to be quickly returned to lower altitudes. It's considered a medical emergency. I promised myself I would not jeopardize our trip like that again.

I was so relieved when we arrived at Chivay, a bustling little frontier type town. Give me my box lunch, I cried, and let me OUT. I don't think Doreen or our guide thought the busy square was a good place to eat, but I prevailed. Chivay looked truly foreign, and besides being desperately hungry, I wanted to get some photos.

I am not a really serious photographer, as I was too lazy to get my other lens to grab some good close-ups. Then, again, the lack of oxygen made each task seem too cumbersome. Lunch sure
helped, though!

We were now about an hour and a half from our hotel, the Kuntur Wassi, and we thought about a luxurious bath in luxurious surroundings. We had seen photos and we were definitely looking forward to it!

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