Published: September 16th 2008September 16th 2008
i love llamas!!
we all survived the llama trek!! It was brilliant, we left Ayacucho at 8:30 saturday morning, in a bus packed with food and gear by Pancho, luxury catered camping!! We drove for about 2 hours to a small village about 12000ft in the andes where we met out llamas, they were such funny creatures- proud and graceful with necks held high and huge black eyes. They were all decked out in colourful headpieces and ribbons, and big bells around their necks. Our bags were strapped to their backs and off we went with two herders on horseback to guide them.
The hike wasnt that strenuous but the altitude literally took our breath away. We were chewing coca leaves on the way up and stopping for water breaks so none of us got sick, but talking and hiking at the same time was incredibly hard!! The scenery was beautiful, we passed through parched fields and rocky forests higher and higher 'til we reached 13000ft. Then we stopped for lunch and Pancho produced a feast!! Chicken sandwiches, peanut butter, apples, bananas, plantains, crisps, cheese, chocolate and even a cake!!! We didn't leave much behind!!
We hiked a total
of about 5hours before we reached camp. The bus had gone ahead of us to someones house and our tents were pitched in their backyard beside the pigpen!! It turns out we didn't need the llamas after all but it was fun to have them with us all the same. Our cook had dinner ready so we all tucked into spagetti and afterwards had a bonfire. Julien and Pancho took turns telling us ghost and folk stories before it started to rain and we took shelter in the tents. We didn't sleep too well as we had Julien (who is the size of two men) in our wee four-man (or four crushed women) tent. We all woke up at the crack of dawn to pee and then had to wait 'til half 8 for breakfast, which proved worth the wait- chips with scrambled eggs, and toast with peanut butter, washed down with yet more coca tea. I'm really dying for a cup of normal barrys tea- I've been drinking coca tea since I've got here as it's almost like green tea.
After breakfast we packed up and met our horses to take us back to the first village. I
was given the quietest (Ñato) as I was the beginner which proved lucky as I was given the reins soon after we started, the others continued to be led by the locals who owned them. It was the best was to see the countryside but also a painful way- I still feel stretched!! We made it back in four hours- burned and covered in dust!! Then we had to trek down a very steep hill to another village to find our lunch being cooked in someone elses house!! We devoured the food to the amusement of three local boys who couldn't stop staring!!!
Later we were driven to some hot springs which were fantastic and eased all our pains, but couldnt stay that long in case we fell asleep, which we did on the bus ride home!! To our delight we had hot showers back at the CCS base (been cold water for the previous four days) and slept incredibly well!!
Still tired from the weekend, as I worked in the salud mental yesterday morn and afternoon (but we did a lot of diferent things so was worth it). I was with streetkids today and the novelty has
me and my horse, nato
definately worn off - especially with Karina the ¨teacher¨ there- still like working with the kids but just not as much!!
This weekend we are going on the jungle trip from 6am friday to 7pm sunday, and it's my last weekend in Ayacucho!!! Time is definately starting to fly by here!!
There are more photos below