So another Friday has come around with me making no real decision about plans for heading out of town. This pretty much makes Arequipa a no-go, but does signal possible salsa and cooking lessons, and a visit to a bee keeper & nature preserve.
I have names & invites in Lima, so I will plan a couple of days there before heading to Toronto in a little over a week. Shopping, museums, markets, coffees on the patio...
Time has flown.
When I last checked in I was headed inland for a few days, and that was, well, OK. Not quite the way I had understood it to be, but experiences were had.
We started with a trip back to Sauce. Now having been officially declared "family", I got to ride in the back bed of the truck while the "tourists" rode in the Cab. What a hoot. The sun burning down and wind blowing. There was a couple of 3" foam matresses put down to ease the ride, but let me tell you, once we hit the rutted dirt road there was no getting away from the bumps and buffets... Or going air bound. I am now a proponent of repealing the highway traffic law prohibiting such fun.
Spent a relaxing few hours on the lake, while the clouds rolled in overhead, had a not so terrible lunch and then it was back onto the truck for our trekking point drop off. Now seems as good a time as any to mention the extreme change in temperatures here when the cloud shade rolls in. A welcome relief.
But then... Cue the torrential rains. We hastily uncover and try to install a heavy tarp covering... installation failed, so we all held on to our corners to keep it down as we covered the distance on increasingly slippery roads. We climbed out at our exit point, donned heavy ponchos over our packs and headed off to skate our way to the hot springs. I say skate because walking on the thick red mud is very much like trying to navigate an icy sidewalk. Step carefully. Balance correctly. Expect to slide often. Be prepared to adjust balance quickly.
Our eventual destination was an area of natural thermal waters, compliments of a sleepy volcano in the Sauce area. I could smell them long before I could see them, and as I am rather sulphur sensitive I suppose stopping here would have been a good idea. We walked on and I found myself in one of the most bizarre landscapes I can remember. Flowing black rock down the gullies of the hillside. Dead zones in the midst of lush greenery. Tres cool.
I did a dip in the pools, with a quick rinse off. Healing properties and all that. We were joined by a couple of american guys I had previously met through Cindy, and we had a nice evening. Slept in fairy bug ridden beds, and I expected to move on at this point. The boys had a different plan for the morning, which involved sulpher & grit enemas, as it turned out. This actually morphed into an almost full day activity.
Cindy and I hung out on hammocks in a breeze, which was welcome because of the heat and mosquitoes. I watched warrior ants take each other on, and wondered at the fact there was life adapted to the lava. I became increasingly ill the longer I stayed and when we finally left to gather horses and head up the mountain I had to beg off. After discussion we all ended up sleeping at a hostel in Sauce because the heavy rains had returned and it was getting too late to make a daylight trek.
The new plan was to get up VERY early to do a one day trek and make it back to Tarapoto that night. Out come the cards and we play while the group decides to get extremely high. The night drags on and results in a 10:00 am wake up. The rest of the group decided to extend the trip another day and sleep up the mountain, but because I had to be back in town for an appointment, that left me with a 5 hour trek in approximately 7 hours of daylight. In the rain and mud. I passed and headed back to town.
So the ride back was accomplished in a shared taxi driving on muddy roads that were so slick that the comparison to 12" of snow in a toronto winter applies. I have photos of the main streets of Sauce that just don´t do the mud justice. Ruts and bogs 2 feet deep, no solid surface to navigate. Cars doing the sideways slide as they try to find traction of some kind. Just thick road soup. Another new experience.
Back to the hostal, and hello´s & cheek buses abound. I pass messages on, and head to my room for a badly needed shower. Much road dust and tropical sweat.
A stroll to the shiclayo area of town has me entertained by a troupe of about a dozen small marmoset like monkeys... At first I thought they were squirrels, but no, definitely monkeys... long tail, fingers, cool little faces and their fun chatter. They ran along power lines and jumped from tree to bush to tree. Very cute, and a lovely end to a long day.
Yesterday a lovely lunchtime visit at Millies turned into pretty much a full day affair. Millie often does outdoor catering, and a canadian film crew has settled in for their meals for the duration of their filming of a documentary on tropical medicine. Holas, intros, food and an evening on the town, loud music and dancing included. Not sure if it was the ice in the drinking water or the very strong local brew but my tummy decided to play another round of Montezumas revenge... called La biciclet here.
Well cleaned out, I am having another entertaining day around town and visiting with friends.
I will boast to you that my abilities and ëlan regarding the hailing of motocars has been almost perfected. :)
Yes, it is a valuable and transferable skill that I have gained while here for the past couple of months.
Time well wasted.