Friday, March 7, 2008

My socks are made of llama

Ok i´ll start with the obligatory apology for not having posted in so long. Since the last time I posted, I´ve had two more charming bouts of whatever is wrong with my stomach, seen more ruins than I can shake a stick at, and wandered through the most beautiful mountains I´ve ever seen. They were cold. There was snow. I´m currently in Cusco feeling a bit overwhelmed by how touristy the city is, I keep doing double takes when I´m walking down the street and hear people talking in English. Everything here is crazy expensive (relatively speaking) and bilingual and I don´t really like it, but thankfully with the crazy pace I´m moving at, my surroundings are never a problem for more than a day or two at a time.
I have been feeling like I want lots more time to travel, ideally months and months, and had come up with a really brilliant plan that involved selling a car I partially own (long story, don´t ask) and changing my ticket, and the only thing that stopped me was some assinine airline rule about not being able to change tickets if it means you´re staying for more than 120 days. So it´s only by the grace of airline beauracracy that you´re getting me back on time.
My four day hike around Chachopoyas was amazingly beautiful and amazingly wet. We started out walking along an old inca road and descended through miles of cloud forest. Because it´s the wet season, the views were mostly obscured by clouds, but occasionally things would clear up and you could see endless fields of trees draped in orchids. Which I neglected to take pictures of. I´m bad at taking pictures. But here are some:

when the guidebooks say that the wet season gets muddy, they´re not kidding....we hiked to a little village whose name I have forgotten and stayed in a hostel called Jesus is the Light of My Salvation and I met the pet monkey that lived there. At first I though ¨How cute, they´re friends!¨ But then it became clear that there was a definite one sided affection thing going on, and the monkey was not riding the dog in the most chaste fashion.

The ruins of Kuelap. I don´t know why, but Keulap might have been the single most tranquil place I have ever been. Maybe I´m just weird, but I find ruins strangely calming. This one was way up on top of a big hill, and it was covered in big trees and wildflowers. And grazing llamas. I tried to make friends with them, I made a daisy chain for a little one.

After Chachopoyas I headed for Trujillo/Huanchaco. Nothing too interesting to report there... I got really sunburned and felt overwhelmed about being in a big city again so I got a little drunk by myself and went wandering through the shopping district. I went and saw more ruins, this time the ruins of Chan Chan. The city is made of mud and everything is the same color. It´s a rather surreal experience to be surrounded by mud walls that are thousands of years old, makes you really think about what on earth people are going to make of the remains of our civilization when they find it (tangent-- read the book The Motel of the Mysteries, it´s about just that). Hardly anyone was there when I went so all you could hear was the background noise of the ocean.After Trujillo I headed for Huaraz and took off for another four day trek, this time through the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. It´s the most beautiful place I´ve ever been, so I forgive it for being horribly, horribly cold. I half killed myself halfway through the hike with a combination of food poisoning, altitude sickness, and a rather wicked hangover. I spent the next two days of hiking running off into the bushes every 15 minutes. It was lovely. Cold. So cold. All of us in this picture should have thought bubbles that say, ¨just pretend you´re enjoying this right now.¨Aíght enough of this... I´m going to head out in search of food. Until next time,


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