Men in Tights
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
88Trip End Feb 01, 2005
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Someone had told us that Huaraz was cold, but our first day there proved this to be a lie. It was so hot that in the afternoon, Emily and I sunbathed on the rooftop of our hospedaje, Free Time Lodging. We had been met on the bus by the manager, Carlos, who presented us with such a good offer that we couldn`t refuse.
Walking on dead people
Not being hard core trekkers, we decided on doing the day trips offered in the Huaraz area, and the first was a visit to Yungay, where in the earthquake of 1970, a whole town of 16,000 had been wiped out by an avalanche, with only 240 kids and 92 adults surviving
After that, we made the ascent to Lagoa Quistacocha, an amazingly turquoise lake with snow capped mountains in the distance behind it, making for some spectacular scenery and a lot of photos added to my memory card. We only had an hour to stay there and I wish that we had longer, as it was amazingly and peaceful, if a little windy and cold.
We left the gorgeous lake to go even further out of our way simply for lunch and to try some manjar blanco, a dulce de leche kind of spread for bread or biscuits (kind of a thick golden syrup thing). This was a disappointment as we would have preferred more time at the lake.
Men in Tights
Emily and I were eating dinner when in came 4 young musicians dressed in tights. We had a good old giggle, and then they played a song. After one song, one of them came up to Emily and asked what her name was. They then said "Este es para Emily" and sang a song including her name
We were sitting in the corner of El Tambo, stoking the fire, when our men in tights came in. They sat next to us and I asked the guy sitting next to me, who I thought was the best looking and played the big mexican guitar, if he liked wearing knickerbockers and tights to which he replied "Sė". It led to a conversation and then he was telling me that it was love at first sight when he had seen me and what did I feel about him. We hadn`t even kissed and it was as if he was about to propose marriage on the spot!!! His name was Ricardo and I ended up telling him "Yo quiero un beso" (I want a kiss) and instead of leaning in for the pash like most guys would, he just sat back as if I hadn`t said anything. I think he was a bit shy so I had to just take what I wanted.
Meanwhile, Emily was being chatted up by the three others of whom she had her pick. Gustavo was showing more interest, but Emily wanted Arturo, so she was trying to think of ways to get rid of Gustavo and make a move on Arturo.
After a bit of dancing, chatting and kissing it was 3:30am and I was tired from the long daytrip and conscious of the next big day touring the sights so we left, with our men in tights escorting us back to our hostel and arranging to meet us the next evening at 9pm.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (minus the massive boobs)
After 4 hours sleep we felt terrible and were hoping to get some sleep on the bus to Pastaruri Glacier which we had booked
We got the back seat of the bus and I promptly closed my eyes. It took ages to get to the ruins, stopping off on the way for some pictures of another lake, not as pretty as Quistacocha. Some enterprising indigenous women came running up with lambs in their arms, `selling` their lambs for a photo. I had no intention of holding a lamb in South America when if I really wanted to hold a lamb I could just go to my aunt and uncle`s farm.
We then had to wait to go through a single lane tunnel at 4,500m. On the other side of the mountain there was a big Christ statue, in the middle of nowhere just looking up at the mountain range.
Emily and I were tired and just wanted to see the ruins, but our guide was extremely enthusiastic and proceeded to explain every single line in the carvings found at the 2,500 year old ruins. As the explanation was in Spanish, Emily and I tuned out, our brains not able to cope with so much Spanish at this point. We were dreading the 2 1/2 hour circuit of the ruins.
The highlight of the visit was getting to go into the tunnels in the ruins, a labyrinthine underground affair. We felt like we were Lara Croft or female Indiana Joneses exploring the tunnels and climbing into small light passages to have our pictures taken. It lifted our mood considerably.
Too tired to go out that night, we stood up our men in tights.
Glacier Girls at 5,400m
Our day started much earlier than the others, at 7am, and we were on the bus (back seat bitches again) when on came a Spanish couple with all the hardcore equipment, walking poles, proper boots, ice shoes etc etc. This kind of scared us a bit as we were expecting a gentle climb up a glacier and were suddenly worried that we weren`t prepared enough.
We had a quick stop to purchase some coca leaves to chew on and help with the altitude, and then it was up to the glacier. We were told to walk slowly and get acclimatised to the altitude. I felt great and wasn`t adversely affected at all, although I had to take lots of little rest stops when climbing steps.
The Pastaruri Glacier was awesome, and at the bottom, where it meets the rocks, we could hear the trickling of melting ice. After taking some pictures of the stalagtites at the bottom, we decided to climb it. By this point, the guide had gone off with the hardcore couple to climb to the top and left a French couple and I to do it at our own pace.
I thought that there would have been snow at the top, but it was hard ice, and I managed to cut my finger trying to make an iceball to throw at Emily. We crunched our way up, and I decided that I didn`t need to get to the top. All I wanted was a rock to sit on. We eventually made it to the rock which comes out of the middle of the glacier and forms the summit, so we sat at the bottom and waited for the guide, while the French couple climbed the rock to the top
On our way back down we slipped and slid, and at one point, Emily kept falling down one of the cracks. If she had have walked 2cm to the right, she would have been okay, but she kept falling down the crack and I couldn`t stop laughing. My feet slipped from under me at one point and I slid on the glacier, reminding me of when Betto took me skiing for the first time and on my first day she took me on a blue run where I did a massive stack and slide.
At the bottom, we found the guide setting up iceclimbing stuff for the hardcore couple. We hadn`t been given this option, so I hope that they paid more than us. After watching the guide climb up to secure the rope, we spotted the French couple heading down the path so we followed them.
They were annoyed at having been left at the top not knowing the route down and so we took off on our own to see where the glacier was falling into the lake that they had spotted from the summit. It was a little way, but stunning. The ice was blue, and it had just fallen in big chunks into the lake and still remained frozen. I am now definitely looking forward to going to Perito Moreno in Argentina.
The guide and Spanish couple were waiting for as at the van and on the way back down we stopped to take pictures of the puya raimondi plant which is a big green spiky ball, that shoots a big tree trunk out after 20 years, and then dies and turns yellow and looks like a volcano with the leaves drooped down. The golden dead plants dot the hills and look like little huts.
Our Bus Cave
We had a message from our men in tights at the hostel and laughed about it. Then Carlos took us to hail a bus to Lima which he said was cheaper than buying a ticket from the bus depot. Unfortunately all the buses were full, so we went to the Movil Tours office where they had one seat left. Carlos used his charms and spoke to the driver who offered us the front seat next to him and a little cave where the second driver obviously sleeps. The cave turned out to be great and so comfy for sleeping so we took it in turns to sleep the night away to Lima.
What I Learned
* I can handle altitude
* It is funny (and possible) to kiss a man wearing tights
* Huaraz might be dirty, but it has beautiful vistas