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Published: February 11th 2012
The high pass
Help at hand for a stranded minibus!
Left Arequipa at 6.30 am after an early breakfast which was again, a really good buffet although the coffee is not to our taste and often comes ready mixed a la camp coffee but lots of nice fruit juices and yoghurt and at this hotel, a strange
looking but tasty muesli. Scrambled eggs and fresh bead with yummy jams.
On the road to Chivay crossing one of the high passes (max height around 5200
metres). Had a few loo stops as recommended to drink plenty of water although
these tended to be behind bushes or rocks or buddy system on a few occasions.
Stopped at a service station for Mata de Coca (hot water with coca leaves), a mild stimulant supposed to help with altitude sickness. Same plant as cocaine so we can be high on all accounts!! and then onto the high part of the pass where the side of the road still had a coating of snow....some of the party really not feeling well at that altitude although even Dave, one of the leaders, has had a jippy tummy so perhaps a multitude of reasons. Jo has had a headache on and off we both felt the
The high pass
Lots of llamas
difference and thinness in the air but we can cope!
Just started to drive down from the high point and came across a minivan which
had come off the road and landed in the ditch about 20 feet below. A JCB-type
digger had already attached a rope round its side to keep it upright. We stopped
and offered assistance. It turned out they had come off the road in the night while it was snowing and had stayed with the min van overnight so the minivan´'s occupants were grateful for water and a selection of nibbles we were carrying on board. We all disembarked so that when they eventually managed to work out a plan to get the van back to the road without it tipping over using both us and the JCB we were safe from any potential rope snap or similar.
Unfortunately, with poor Tia vomiting and really the worse for wear and with three
others also lying down sick on the road, it looked more like an a recreation of the
accident with victims ready to be treated!
Van hauled back after taking about an hour to sort out ropes, etc. and the minivan people were so very grateful, they gave our leaders a hug and the woman burst into tears with gratitude. Bearing in mind they came off theroad at night and it was now 1pm, it was fairly obvious there wasn't much traffic and very few had the capability to offer any practical help in hauling the van back onto the road. Surprisingly, the van was virtually undamaged and managed to drive away.
Onwards to Chivay: arrived there at 5.00 pm. Lunch in hotel dining room with food bought from the local Market as it was too late for anything.
Chivay is just a little provincial town with not much going for it. However, some of us went to the local thermal springs 5 km down the road for a dip in
nice water at 38 degrees which was so pleasant with the mountains as a backdrop in the cold afternoon air, then we returned to hotel.
Some of the group went put to local restaurant for evening meal but we were
both very tired so had a hot shower and a very early night.
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