Thursday, November 30, 2017

From Jungles to Hot Pools - Day 3

Hitchhiking with Germans and a Peruvian out of
the hot pools to Santa Teresa
On the third day, we slept in until 06:30A, and outside of my tent, I could see our porter Alex already awake. I hear him speak Quechua with the cook. I always feel bad that they're up before us and the last ones to sleep. I know they're not getting paid enough. But Alex always smiles. The horseman is gone; there's roads now. So we don't need the mules and horses. He's a very shy guy and never says much, our horseman. Today, we have to make our way to the village of Santa Teresa, which is one step closer to Machu Picchu for us.

For breakfast, we have an omelet and coca tea and coffee and bread and jam. But the jam is always gone so soon; I don't have much, because the bread is rubbish.

Around 07:30A, we walk through the jungle, and we have to make our way down to the blue and white whispering river below. The skies are blue and clear and there aren't too many clouds. Butterflies and birds flutter throughout the air.

The scenery is much different from Salcantay, which was mainly rocks and grasses growing. Here, we have trees and vines and butterflies and lots of birds. Salcantay had birds too, but they were mainly mountain birds - like vultures - also known as condors. The birds here are more tropical - like hummingbirds; every once in awhile, in the distance you can see parrots.

I finally had some sleep; so, I open up more and do the first part of my walk with Elena - the Spaniard. I talk to her only in Spanish - and that's good. She has fair skin and really black hair. She also has big earrings and tattoos. She reminds me of gypsy. I call her, "My witch," in Spanish. She laughs. (The other people notice I can speak Spanish, at least better than I let on.)

Later, I end up talking to the Germans. They're around my age. We're the oldies in the group. They speak English, but sometimes I use German; it's not very good.

Today is the easiest day of our trek. We're only walking 5 hours.

Between our last campsite and our van stop - we rest at a soccer field. Some of us play soccer. Not me. I watch, though.

I wish I had learned, when I was younger. There, we eat a fruit called granadillas, which grow on a vine. It's orange. You rip off the top and eat the pulp and seeds, like you would a passion fruit.

Our last two hours, we walk to our van stop. There, we are in two vans. They take us to a lunch place.

For lunch, we eat spaghetti and some of the guys eat a guinea pig, which was roasted on a stick. I already ate one once, and I didn't like it, because it had too many bones in it. I cringed to see the cut little paws of the guinea pig roasted. Maybe, another time, I'll try it again.

At the lunch site, a couple guys have beer. I sit with the Germans. One of the Australians sit with us, and we all talk. We're sitting on the grass on a beautiful sunny day - the kind you wish never ends.

They have a coffee at our lunch site. So, I order one and drink it with milk on the grass. It's nice.

The Germans offer me some beer. I drink some.

From the lunch site, the vans take us to our next camp site, near some hot pools. Our guide wants us to take an overpriced bus to the hot pools - when we can walk. I tell him - No thanks. He's not happy with me. I think he gets a commission from each of us taking it.

We walk to the hot pools, which are in the valley of a few mountains. There, we stay a few hours, soaking in really hot water and splashing water and playing like kids would. We even play chicken. It reminds me of one of my elementary school field trips. Actually, the whole thing reminds me of one big adult field trip - except there is booze and more now.

When we walk back in the valley during the sunset, I hail a truck. He picks us up. We sit in the bed. We could see the open sky and the air and the mountains. The Germans have never hitch hiked before. So, they found it interesting.

After, we ask the driver to take a picture with us. So, he does.

We're lost. I find a little old grandmother and ask her for directions. She gives it to us. The Germans are so happy to meet the local.

Then we walk back to town. There, after a dinner of fried chicken, they turn on the dance music and serve us strong Peruvian tequila. I also bought some wine and finished the Johnny Walker's whiskey I brought with me.

I shared my wine with others. I specifically ask Alex, the porter, if he'd like some. He says sure. He drinks some. But no more. He won't be coming with us. He's going home tomorrow. I worry if too much alcohol will stymie him from working, as it does indigenous people.

The cook, another Quechuan guy, says good bye to us. He says he wishes us well and that we enjoy Machu Picchu. I leave him a tip, but the more I think about it, I should've given him more. (These are the people I'll remember in my heart.)

As the amethyst sky turns into a dark midnight blue, the music gets bumped up and the dancing begins. The Uruguayan lady is a good dancer; so, she teaches the German lady and me to dance. She knows how to move her hips and her shoulders and really flow to the beat.

She's a very good dancer. Her husband also opens up and talks more to me. He's funny.

We can wake up at 07:30A tomorrow, and tomorrow begins our hike to Machu Picchu.

I go to sleep at 11:00P. Others are still dancing the night away, but I need my sleep.

The next morning, I discover the truth. Alcohol, exhaustion, and dancing shows and tells you about how people really want each other.

That was the end of Day 3.

Hitching a ride on the back of a pickup
Uruguayan Couple in Hot Pools

Uruguayan Couple in Hot Pools

Local grandmother who helped us get back.

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