Wherein we start our grand adventure.
We drove and we drove and we drove out on our grand adventure over hill, over dale, etc. etc. across a pretty good cross-section of Peruvian landscape. Our destination was Quincemil. I had no idea where Quincemil was on the map and so contented myself to ride along in the front seat ('cause I get carsick) and take the occasional picture out the window. I couldn't knit, so I just kind of watched the scenery and took pictures.
Anyhow, there was a weird Incan wall...thing. We weren't sure what that was about. I'm just certain that building walls is some sort of compulsive Peruvian thing because the entire country is made out of rocks. You know, more than usual on the surface.
There were a number of "Urban Zones" with big speed bumps, presumably for the Enormous Fuel Trucks of DOOOOooom (more on that later). They use the term "Urban" really loosely. Pictured here is one such "Urban Zone." This one is one of the larger ones. Wherever there stood two buildings and more than one chicken, there was an "Urban Zone" and a dead policeman. No, not an actual dead police officer, a really big speedbump. They're called dead policemen in the vernacular.
We went up the mountains and just when I thought there wasn't any more up to go, we went up some more. You can really feel the change when you go up so quickly. At 15,000 feet, I fell asleep for just a minute and woke back up on the way down. The view was breathtaking, and not only because we were way up the mountain and there was no air. It really was beautiful. Never have I been so close to the clouds and still on the ground.
There were alpaca everywhere. Even where there was apparently nothing else, there were alpaca. There were also sheep, but mostly alpaca all over the place. Peru is silly with alpaca. I hadn't found any yarn at this point, so I made up a little rhyme:
Fiber, fiber everywhere
and all the wool did shrink
fiber, fiber everywhere
and not a stitch to tink.
I saw women there with their herds carrying (and using) drop spindles, though I didn't take pictures of them. I just feel weird about taking pictures of people without asking their permission and I didn't want to be disrespectful. Anyhow, it was really kind of awesome to me to see people living this very simple life and making yarn like people have done for thousands and thousands of years. One of these days, I'd like to do a fiber and fabric tour of Peru. There is so much to be learned here.
Also, there were quite a few horses, though Andy couldn't fathom why. I'm not entirely sure myself, but he asked me kindly to take a picture of them for him, so I did. You can see the shape of the earth behind this one where animals have been walking up and down the mountain for gods only know how long. It seems on the surface that most of the animals were quite healthy and while we did see the occasional mangy sheep, it was a rare occurrence.
There is a huge project to pave the road we were traveling - I'm talkin' HYOOOGE - as in, there's a city that was built just to house the road crew. While we were traveling, we had to stop for about thirty minutes or so while some enormous machinery was moved up the narrow gravel road. We did get the opportunity to see the beautiful cloud forest. This is not just a name. It is literally in the clouds. It kind of reminded me of the Smoky Mountains, except...more up. Much more up. I got a good chance to look at the vegetation and realized that I recognized absolutely nothing. I found something in a family I recognized, but that's it. It was a weird feeling not to know the plants.
So, the fuel trucks of doom... DOOM I tell you! And on such a narrow road, there's extra doom. Have you ever been on a narrow mountain road where one side is sheer cliff and the other side is mountain? It's like that, only x1,000. So, one of these fuel trucks is coming up the mountain as we're going down the mountain and we, being in a tiny little compact car, were obligated to move aside. Bigger gets the road. So we move aside to a tiny bit of space on the cliff side of the road, but we were not quite far enough over. So, Andy backs the car up and we feel a little bump. We're stuck. The fuel truck guys get out and try to help. Josh gets out to help. and we manage to get the car back up on the road. We thank the fuel truck guys, Josh gets back in, and we go on our merry way. "Do we want to know how close that was?" says Andy. "No. No you don't." says Josh, who at this point has the big eyes. You see, we had one wheel off the cliff and it was nothing short of a blessing that dear Josh didn't go tumbling down. There are times when you pray, like when someone you know is sick or when you have a difficult exam coming up, and there are times when you pray, like when you almost drove off a cliff.
Having narrowly averted danger, we proceeded down the mountain into the jungle. We hadn't really intended to go to the jungle, but there we were anyway. We finally found Quincemil at night in the jungle and managed a place to stay. It was a little hostel in this backwater town and to say that the room had four walls would be exaggerating. It was more like a stall with two beds. We had some dinner and beer before we bedded down for the night. Dinner consisted of french fries and microwave pizza, but it was hot and it was food. We walked back to the hostel and as I climbed into bed, I thought to myself. "Gee, I hope there are no bed bugs."