…its fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Llama went, Maria was sure to ask tourists for money for a photo
So having got back from the walk (on which we also learnt that women have a period once a month) we had dinner at the hotel, which was pretty good. They had a buffet with Alpaca from the barbeque and lots of other mysterious foods which were quite tasty. All to the sound of Panpipes play Simon and Garfunkel.
The next day we got up very early indeed, I think 5.30. The reason for this is that the condors only tend to come out early in the morning. Having enjoyed breakfast to the sound of Panpipes play Evita, we headed out along a very very bumpy road to Colca Canyon. On the way there we stopped at a village with an old church. There were lots of people holding birds of prey but our guide told us not to give them any money as it would encourage them to capture more wild birds. We then went to the canyon, which is supposed to be the deepest in the world although the bit we were at didn’t look that deep. We walked along for a bit to the Cruz del Condor. Fortunately we did see some condors, although it was hard to get a good photo as they were very high up. Am hoping I can get some good photos off of some of the others who have SLRs.
I should point out here that it was about 2hrs each way to the Canyon due to the terrible road. You would think they would put a better one in as there are so many tourists.
We then went to the market and were shown around by our local guide. ‘Here we have a potato, you can hold it’ Please don’t let it be all 4000 species I was thinking. Fortunately it was only 2. We did get to see some dead snakes which was quite cool. Some of the others saw a dead Alpaca head which was pretty grim. To be honest I thought the fish were pretty grim too. After the market we went for a buffet lunch at a restaurant in Chivay. Hopefully the restaurant doesn’t buy their produce from the market!
We then headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours before heading out to the hot springs.
This wasn’t quite what I expected, thought it might be a natural lake but it was more like a baths complex like Bath Spa. It was quite warm. Jeremy told us there are lots of these in New Zealand and that you shouldn’t put your head under water as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. Too late! So we stayed there a couple of hours. We saw one of the other groups there. There is one where it is 3 young girls and the guide who is trying to impress them and another guy called Dustin who is kind of on his own. Poor guy! He keeps coming to spend time with our group but at some point we will split as he is going somewhere else.
After the hot springs we went to another restaurant in Chivay. They had an Inca band and some dancers. the first dance , The guy came out wearing something akin to a giant tea cosy on his head. The second dance, he came out with a V for vendetta face mask and one of those woollen hats that hippies often wear. In this dance she gave him a lemon. He pretended to eat it and then pretended to be dead. She then beat him with her pompoms. They then swapped over. For each of these dances they got people in the audience to join in so Jeremy was beaten with the pompoms. The 3rd dance started off straightforwardedly but then the man and the woman swapped clothes. One of the guys in the 3rd tour group got roped into this and had to wear the woman’s dress which was quite amusing. I didn’t get roped into any dancing as I was in the middle of the table. Shame.
The next morning we had another early start leaving at something like 630 and it was 6 and a half hours to Puno. We were stopped on the way by the traffic cops. Apparantly this is quite likely to happen as it is the run up to Christmas. They were looking for something to fine our driver, the only thing they found was that the van was a different colour to the paperwork. Our driver bribed the cop 10 soles to leave us alone. You can only bribe the male cops here as the women are very upright.
Forgot to mention, at some point I did actually succumb and got a picture of myself with some little girl and her 8 month old Alpaca Jorge. Aww.