11.10.2007 - 11.21.2007 65 °F
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The setting was picture perfect: After hiking a 2 km altitude drop trail down a dry and dusty Colca Cañon, I crossed a bridge and suddenly found my senses overwhelmed. Small green fields and trees replaced rock and cactus, while the trickle of path-side irrigation canals and occasional sheep call displaced the crunching of hiking boots on loose rock. The distinct and memory-evoking smell of figs brought a welcome change from the olfactory void of the desert (if you discount the occasional smell of donkey shit.) Maybe it was pure relativism that made this place seem so special, but for a moment, I was sure that San Juan de Chuccho was the Garden of Edin.
In the middle of this small piece of paradise I stumbled upon a group of about ten locals who invited me over; middle aged to very old men and women in traditional garb, with few remaining teeth, sitting in a circle apparently drinking some midday moonshine. I felt like I was transported back to the Sapa, Vietnam motorbike journey, only this time the town was only accessible by mule and I was able to join in the banter. They were impressed that I could speak Spanish and were quick on the draw with a shot glass for me to try their own brand of ¨pisco¨ whiskey. Of course I am never one to refuse such an offer and drank down two shots amidst riotous laughter. They soon told me that their ¨special¨ pisco was made by fermenting the spit of old women chewing on some plant. Sure enough, the two old women across from me were chewing away on something with their spittoons close at hand. Oh well, it tasted decent and was probably strong enough to be sterile so I didn´t let it bother me.
Beside the three day Colca Cañon trek, there was some class 3-5 whitewater rafting in the Amazon headwaters on a boat full of Israelis where the common language was Hebrew (even the Peruvian guide seemed to speak a bit which was rather bizarre.)
After a long bus day, I arrived at Copacabana, Bolivia on the famous Lake Titicaca, which kind of looks like a dry and uglier version of Lake Tahoe, but the trucha isn´t bad.
That´s all for now. In the next couple of weeks expect death-defying mountain bike rides, creepy jungle creatures and a bit of playing with dynamite.
Don´t ask me what´s going on here
Another classic look on my face
View of Mt. Misti from Arequipa
Growing a beard specifically to piss Erin off
Confused looking sheep
Petting a big pig
Paradise found at the bottom of Cañon de Colca
Organ pipe rock formations
I think these irrigation channel shots are my specialty
Church in tiny Tapay
All decked out in my finest hiking outfit
The many landscape of Cañon de Colca
After the rain in Cabanaconde
These mountains didn´t have snow the first day of the trek
Andean Condor flying high above the canyon floor
View from the touristy ¨Cruz del Condor¨
These hot springs used to be five degrees hotter
An indigenous man runs to greet me at the public toilet
Looking out at the great Lake Titicaca
You gotta love this Bolivian war monument