4/20/09

Bowens in Wonderland








At night a million stars blanket the sky here in Curahuasi. The view from my room, even in the inky black night, affords a faint view of the distant Andean vistas. On one particular peak, there are two lights, perfectly aligned with the sky, that at first glance I mistook for twinkling stars.
Upon further investigation, I learned that this glow radiated from a tiny farming village illuminated a noche. Interest piqued, Michael and I, along with some new German friends from the hospital, straped on our hiking boots and began the steep ascent towards this land from another time (see the attached pictures).

Three hours after we began, the incline plateaued and we came upon rolling green chakras (plots of farming land) dotted with wandering pigs, cows, horses and chickens. Adobe huts housed curious copper-toned children who ran out to gawk at these pale-faced visitors.

One friendly farmer who was tending his corn with the help of his sons gave us directions to the peak we we seeking, and offered his 10-year old son, Antony, as a guide. The boy was hilarious. He told us that the peak was 20 minutes away, but after 30 minutes of straight uphill climb, we asked again and he said, "In gringo time, one more hour!" As Antony scrambled up the mountain with us lagging behind and begging for mercy, we finally reached the summit.

Utterly exhausted from the climb but exhilarated, we shared our powerbars and PB&Js with Antony and roasted in the Peruvian sun. The arresting view of the snow-capped peaks across the canyon proved worth the leg work. Antony explained that the soil was muy rico on this mountain, and that land offered abundant crops of corn and green beans (that look like limas, but 3 times larger).

As we faced the dreaded descent, quads screaming with every step, we bid adios to Antonio at his village. Along the way down, we collected a few more Quetchua children. Despite the aid of our expensive hiking and hydration gear, we were humbled by these joyful, precious kids-- outfited in dirty hand-me-down sweaters and rubber sandals-- who promptly kicked our butts in speed and athleticism.

Finally reaching flat land, we joined the vacas (bulls) in the river to cool our weary legs and take in the peaceful quiet of the afternoon. It was the best day yet.

Photo captions: Scary bridge we had to cross on the way up the mountain. -Antonio and me with his horses and cows - We reach the summit - Antonio on the summit

1 comment:

amy said...

I am fairly certain I would not have been able to make it up the incline. I'm impressed! What a cool experience though!