It was shivering cold, but soon we were in the taxi with the rest of our group to start our life time experience! My mind was not too good, as I got into the taxi between Johan and a very dirty man on my right. His blue stained track suit pants didn`t help me feeling any better, and the dirt under his nails, neither, especially when he dugged them into a packet with leaves, and shoved them into his mouth! Oh my, was I ready to do this thing?
About two and a half hours later we reached our first destination, Mallepatta! I felt better, and I couldn`t damp Marco`s spirit! We stopped at a little place where the rest of the group had breakfast, and we had the sandwiches our hostel gave us. I saw a packet of green leaves on the shop`s counter, and knew that it was the coca leaves I saw in the Medicinal Plants Museum the day before. I bought a packet with the solid piece of lime as well, knowing that these were going to come in handy some time!
Our horses was outside, being blindfolded, and loaded with all our duffle bags, and food and kitcen ustensils pots and pans and our tents for the five days!
We started hiking, and Srie and I forgot our hats for the scorching sun, and bought some next to the road from an old women. We followed the dirt road out of this little town, towards huge mountains. Only a tip of a very big mountain was visible in the distance, covered with snow!
It was hot! Jabu, our tour guide, showed us some plants and herbs and the white stuff on the prickley pears, Cochineal. It is a small scaled animal. We knew this as a parasite on our cacti and succulents in South-Africa, but over here it is a colorant used for make up for the girls! The dye carmine is derived from this. In Mexico food colorant are made of this. I allowed Jabu to paint my nail red, I really thought my cheeks were red enough.
We kept on hiking, and the sun followed us, and I really had a hard time going up the very steep hills, with the loose gravel. But no mercy, and especially when you see your little boy going strong right in front! I made it all the way, going up the hill for all the short cuts! But no one told me that these short cuts saved maybe time, but it drained me! I think some of the young people in our group were grateful that I was a little slow today.
Lunch! It was awesome to get flat onto the grass, horisontal! We were at Sayllapata! The horses were already grazing, and our chefs were busy! Did I tell you that the dirty guy with the blue track suit pants was our assistant chef? For some reason, it didn`t bother me now, I was starving!
We were impressed with our first lunch. We were served an entree of guacamole, soup, and then fried plantain, veggies and meat. I couldn`t believe that I had to get up after all this food, to hike another five or six hours.
Soon it started to rain, just lightly, but it soaked us gently. It was nice and cool, and not so hard to walk anymore. We got into all our colorful rain ponchos!
We passed a Mountain Lodge, with lucky guests sitting in a hot tub! We knew that we were heading for our camp, with no showers, no hot water, apparently being the coldest night of the Trek. But it didn`t bother me, I felt so alive at the foot of these beautiful mountains.
Pop Corn and salty crackers with tea and coffee was waiting for us, and it tasted as if it was from heaven. After getting to know each other, sharing stories we enjoyed a hot dinner with hot stuffed peppers and more! It was still early, but all of us had one destimation in mind!
|Johan, myself, Shrie, Sarah, Gordon and Marco|