Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chivay - the gateway to the canyon

Up at 7am today to get our bus to Colca Canyon an 8am. Not all the other people that are on the tour have the same idea though and we don`t actually hot the road until 10am...we`ve missed out on so much sleep!

For 4-5 hours we journeyed zigzagging through the Andes and through miles of barren desert, surrounded by the snow capped volcanoes. We got out of the bus when we were at the highest point in our trip - we were 5000m up and the air was so thin that it made breathing difficult. It`s absoloutely freezing at that altitude, which is weird because in the city we were roasted. The breeze that blows through feels like ice.

Back on the bus our guide was telling us of the benefits of Coca leaves which are supposed to relieve the effects of altitude sickness and is highly important to the economy of Bolivia and Peru not least because it is what cocaine is eventually derived from - Coca leaves are legal in both Peru and Bolivia and the people in both countries are very adamant that Coca is not cocaine and there`s always loads of protests and you can even buy t-shirts saying I love Coca!.
So our guide is very keen on Coca leaves and tries to get everyone on the bus to chew some with ash which is an accellerant. There weren`t too many takers, so that left more for him and he was happily munching his way through the big bag. After 30 minutes or so he was completely whacked out of it, trying to make jokes, laughing randomly and not making much sense in general. He also started to come on to the Swedish girls - funny for us but cringeworthy for them!

Maybe we should have paid the extra US$2 and got a sober guide!

We arrived in Chivay, had lunch and checked into the hotel. We wandered around the town (not much to see) while the others went to the local hot springs. We were just at hot springs the week before at Machu Picchu so we didn`t go. There appeared to be some sort of religious festival going on because the church was all decorated and there was a band that kept marching around the main square.

That night we skipped the folkloric dinner and dance that was organised because, after Cusco, we`re fairly certain that the magical sound of the panpipes isn`t our thing! Instead we went for pizza, beer and card games with the Swedes in the local Irish Bar!

The band were still marching around the square when we headed home - they must be getting dizzy by now!


Post a Comment

<< Home