View from the hill!

View from the hill!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Inca Jungle Day 2

I was pleasantly suprised to wake up to a clear sky on day two of our Jungle trek. After an early breakfast of "pancakes" (more like a crepe with nutella and banana- which was cold but delicious) we began our day of hiking. It was hot, sunny and muggy in the jungle, much different than the previous days weather. We were breifed that the hike would take 6-7 hours and we would begin with a 2 hour uphill climb then the rest would be relatively flat. As we headed uphill we had several stops along the way. After about an hour we arrived at the Monkey House. This little jungle house had a few pet monkeys, parrots and pupies and provided some fresh juices for us to purchase. The passion fruit juice was amazing, the fruit was picked that morning and was very refreshing after an hour of hiking straight uphill. We were also able to pick bananas and try the purple corn juice. After this much needed break we were back on the trail and headed back uphill. As we walked we saw lots of tropical fruits (papaya, passion fruit, mango, banana, guava, orange, lime), coffee beans and more. After another hour of climbing we had our second rest stop. Another house, this one did not offer any juice but we were able to go inside and check out their home. With guinea pigs running around the kitchen floor i was sad to learn that one of these cute pets would be dinner tonight. It is so strange to me that they let the little guys run loose through the house and then one by one eat them. I was offered guinea pig several times, but every time all I could think of was our childhood pet, Piggly Wiggly, there was no way I could eat one of his relatives...especially when they are served whole, with head and teeth and everything!

We then continued on our walk seeing and talking to local people along the way. I cant imagine living like the locals here. They are miles away from any civilization and live simply off of the nature surrounding them. We stopped at little village on the way for a spagetti lunch and a 15 minute snooze in the hammocks. After a quick break we were back on the road for what we thought was the last leg of the day.

Due to several huge landslides, we had much further to go than expected. When we were 2 hours away from our next town, Santa Teresa, we learned of the massive landslide that had closed the road. No one was permitted to cross because the day before a couple had been injured as huge rocks came crashing down the steep cliff above. What this went was that we had to decend down the cliff and then walk about a mile down below and then go straigh back up once we had passed the landslide zone. The trek down was steep and it your foot slipped you would fall straight down the cliff. As we began to desend the afternoon rain began. Sanuel started yellow "Vamos, Rapido Rapido!!" as we started to run. After an hour down we arrived at what seemed like an endless sea of rocks which we had to travel along until we aƧhad safely avoided the landslide zone. I was so delirious at this point (4pm after 9 hours of walking with our backpacks and insuffiecnet water and food) and got a really intense headache from dehydration. After another hour it was time to go back up the cliff that we had just descended. After the toughest climb of the day we were back on track and back on the main (flat!) road. At 7pm we finally arrived in Santa Teresa, another very unimpressive town.

This "hostel" was even worse than the previous nights but they did have a shower, which was supposedly hot. We were so sweaty and covered in bug spray and sunscreen that a shower was essential, however, I had not brought a towel or any shower supplies (no room in my bag). Augustina, the nice Argentinian girl said I could use her towl after she finished. So I waited and waited and finally was the last one in the shower. By the time I got in there there when I went to turn on the water about 3 drips came out and then there was no more water. Exhausted, stinky, and hot I started to sob standing there in the waterless shower. Not only was the day really tiring, the fact that there was no one in my group that spoke English made it an extremly tough day.

On this trip I have come to realize how essential human interaction is, especially when doing something so physically demanding as this trek. I was lonely and my emotions finally caught up to me. This was the 2nd 4 day tour I had done with a non-English speaking group and I had had enough. I pulled myself together and went out to dinner with the group. I could not bring myself to eat any more rice and llama so instead just sat with the group and day dreamed as they had conversations that I could not understand. After a shot of Inca Tequila and our guide trying to convince me to come to the bars with the group I instead opted to go straight to bed. I woke up the next morning in a much better mental state and was ready for another full day of walking.

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