Hi All – Miss me? We just got back from a SENSATIONAL 4 day trip to the Peruvian Andes. We went to Hauraz, location of the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra Mountain ranges. I wouldn’t call myself a mountain person, but I may just be a convert after this trip. The beauty was absolutely out-of-this-world. Today’s feature is about the random little things that surprised/delighted me on this trip. ENJOY!
Highlight #1: The 8 hour overnight bus ride. We picked the “Business Class” section, which set us back $35 a person (one way). Quite honestly, I slept like a baby. It was even better than Business Class Flying. The seats went down nearly flat, they brought around USB devices with different movies loaded on them for you to play on your personalized screen AND we got a quilted blanket and pillow (that actually kept me warm). Two thumbs up for Movil bus lines. My only complaint, the crappy hot dog sandwich – handed out at 11:30 PM, consisting of one hotdog, sliced down the middle, opened up and placed on a hoagie. I know you can do better in that department Movil, otherwise keep up the good work!
Highlight #2: Donkeys on the Loose. Picture this, we get off the bus at 6:30 AM, hop in our transport, turn right out of the bus station and find this. A whole mess of donkeys just running through town. The best part was the 2 people trying to catch them! I knew right then that Huaraz was going to be a memorable destination.
Highlight #3: The Hitch-hiker. We hired a cab for a 2.5 hour drive up to Lake Llaganuco. We’re 2 hours into said ride, bumping along what is quite possibly the worst road I’ve ever been on. We come around a mountain curve (we’re quite high up by this point – maybe 12,000 feet or so) and this lovely Peruvian indigenous woman is standing by the side of the road, waiting to be picked up by someone. Before I understand what is happening, our cab driver has stopped our car and offered her a ride. Part of me was like, “Hello, we’re your fare! Who said you could pick up additional passengers?” Then another part of me was like, “Oooh, what a fun adventure. A mountain woman just hopped in our car!” I decided to keep my mouth shut about the intrusion and just ask for a picture instead.
Highlight #4: The $2 Hair Cut. I’ve been hemming and hawing about getting my hair cut in Lima, largely because a.) I have no stylist and b.) the lowest listed price I’ve seen at salons I’ve popped into has been around $30. No way, Jose. So I just let it keep growing. Nick brought up the idea of getting haircuts while in Huaraz. He ultimately changed his mind (chickened out maybe???) but I embraced this fun new cultural experience. Here’s the shop I chose:
One teeny tiny problem was that I haven’t learned my hair-cutting vocabulary yet in Spanish. Was I going to let that stop me? HECK NO! Perhaps I mentioned that I am a world class Pantomimer . . . well, I managed to tell her exactly what I wanted (including the fact that I wanted her to thin out the top with a razor and shave the back) all without words. Yeah, you can be impressed. I sure was. Let’s be honest, this could have ended very, very badly. Thankfully, it didn’t! Wanna know the grand total for my cut? 5 soles (or $2)!
Highlight #5: Fresh Cuy. What’s cuy, you ask? Oh, that’s the famous Peruvian delicasy of GUINEA PIG. EWWWWW. This was the first time I’ve come face to face with a dead guinea pig. While I do think it’d be wrong to leave the country without trying it, there was no way my stomach was ready for this yet. . . .
Highlight #6: The Paparazzi. You all know I love to capture pictures of our adventures. I even fancy myself something of an amateur photographer. Back in the Philippines, they’d fight to be in my pictures and I swear they’d practice their poses at home at night. Not so in Peru. They are pretty much on the other end of the spectrum.
If you’d like to photograph someone in traditional Peruvian dress they will typically, 1.) Require you to pay them, 2.) Turn away or wave a finger saying no or (as I found out the hard way) 3.) THROW ROCKS AT YOU. Yes folks, I almost got stoned for taking this picture of SHEEP. Apparently the two boys did not want their animals photographed! I hope you can now better appreciate the risks I take to get you “the shot”.