La Bamba… Part three

July 14, 2006

It´s weird when I arrive in Quillabamba. There don´t appear to be any other extranjeros (foreigners) in sight and I am a solo women. What´s more, it seems to be a place where Peruvians visit and find time to stroll through the Plaza de Armes (there seems to be one in every town) hand in hand and dressed in modern clothing. It´s quite a change from the Andean village of Urubamba and feels like a place where middle class Peruvians go to visit the start of the selva. It´s also a place where some tourists, (later, I spot some, but no lone women), get together in groups to head down the river to Kiteni. Apparently, Michael Palin went into the jungle here in one of his travel programmes. The temperature, at 30 degrees centigrade or so, means that some women and young girls are clad in strappy tops, sometimes with midriffs showing and it provides a stark contrast to the layered, woven and brightly coloured Andean dress I have become accustomed to in the Sacred Valley. I´m told that, as you descend towards sea level, you gain one degree centigrade for every 100 metres. Still, the warmth is wonderful and, after a false start, in which I book into Hostel Don Carlos (45 soles), I find the far more comfortable and cleaner Hostel Quillabamba (45 soles). It has a TV, two beds and a balcony overlooking, of all things, a small, algae-ridden swimming pool. But, at least the windows close properly so I am not at the mercy of the countless mossies here. Jungle Formula and 50% Deet to the rescue. I unpack, take a shower and head out to the market to buy a local bag in which I can hide the camera which Garry so kindly lent me before I came out here. I would be lost without it now and am enjoying taking photographs rather than just writing about everyone else who snaps and shoots.  After searching for a veggie pizza, I settle for Papas Fritos and a Coke – the drink not the plant. Though coca mate (tea) is on most menus in mountain areas, we even have a bag of leaves in the volunteer house Casa Naranja on Plaza Pintacha, Urubamba. Chicken and chips, odd-looking meat cooked on skewers by street vendors as well as a host of strange meaty food abounds. Later, after reading an Insight guidebook about the Machista culture, politics and the Shining Path group, I return to room 404 and watch a bit of American cable TV about home decorating and rival US chefs in Las Vegas. When I sleep it is with only a sheet, rather than the usual silk sleeping-bag liner, sleeping bag and two blankets plus hot water bottle, which I have in Urubamba. Tomorrow, I will visit Siete Tianjas (Seven Waterfalls) which is another 40 mins along a dusty road still following the Rio Urubamba.


8 Responses to “La Bamba… Part three”

  1. Nikki said

    How weird it is reading your reports sitting hear at my desk in Sydney wondering what act to book for a Kia car dealers event. It transports me just for a moment away from the everyday – just a snatch of time where i feel connected to you. Miss you heaps – see you in September.

  2. miranda said

    Hey my love, it was so good to read your comment last night when I came to the internet cafe after drinking red wine….
    This is surreal, isn´t it? I can just imagine you in Sydney, and that is a nice thing to think about. I hope that work isn´t too demanding and time consuming and that you are getting some time to do the things you want. I think of you so often and would love to teleport you out here, rather selfishly, for a while or even a few hours. There´s so much I would love to share with you, as things unfold, but I am dealing with being on my own out here and being single, which is weird….
    I have packed everything away and some is in storage and the rest at my brother´s. Will be on the hunt for somewhere to live when I get back but, fortunately, I still have some work at BAA, even though a Spanish co bought it a month or so ago (they managed to acquire 90% of the shares) and, with the big boss resigning, I wasn´t sure whether internal comms would be stripped down and jiggled about…
    It´s a day-by-day kind of life for me at the moment and I have little idea of what the future holds or what I will be doing, or where I will be, or who, if anyone, I will be with again… I can´t wait to see you in September, let me know when, and for how long, you´ll be in the UK. Send my love to T and the kiddies, hope they are all doing well. Till our next chat, all my love my dearest friend, a million besos XXXX

  3. Andy O said

    Hello Luv,
    Sounds like you are having another invaluable experience, with a ‘little challenge’ thrown in for good measure. It’s absolutley roasting here, heading toward 39 degrees by Thursday?? global warming on the march. Had to put the fungi survey with Geoff on hold for the time being, because of this prolonged hot weather, bring on the rain. It makes me laugh when I see these dozy news readers trying to appease people with good news about the weather,”its going to be another heatwave” with smile on their faces. This hot weather is not good news, and not temporary, “everything is gonna burn, we’ll all take turns, I’ll get mine to” what a stupid lot we are. I’ve been burying my head in the trivial, smoking to much and winding myself up. Oh the joys, the joys, the joys. But we have it pretty good don’t we, (bollocks). Another ‘O’ saga has been running for the past week! Saw the Davey F, he came round to take a look at a computer problem I’m having, it was very nice of him to come over, most appreciated, but unfortunatly it didn’t fix the problem. And so it goes on. Funny Dave just text. which brings me to another weird thing that happened the other night, I heard your voice say ‘Andy’ in the middle of the night, I thought you were outside the flat, it was that clear, weird hey? maybe it was the same night you had your nightmare?? Anyway you seemed to have recovered.
    OK I’m off, take lots of stunning pics, and keep the great writing up, definitley a book in there, worth some serious thought.

    Take care out there and send my love.

    Stay well and safe.


  4. Miranda said

    Oh my, that´s weird, really weird. It doesn´t surprise me though, across space and time little atoms can be everywhere and nowhere, baby. I do wonder what night that was, can you remember? Yes, it was a quite terrifying, vivid and incredibly unsettling dream, or rather, a near nightmare. I only wrote the sketchiest outline of it as it was too disturbing to go into in detail. Things have been very odd here and very bizarre and unsettling. Thanks for the post and kind words, have thought about our travels while out here and some things have been reminiscent of Mexico and Guatemala. I thought I spotted some shrooms from the bus window but wasn´t sure. There were also buzzard-like birds, with black wing tips(?), circling over the Rio Urubamba in Quillabamba, but I couldn´t ID them, so I haven´t been able to enjoy the fauna, on that level, in the way I have previously.
    Not good on the global warming front, is it? Hope that there is some rain soon and you can get the survey done. I am giving up ciggies tomorrow, before I head off to Machu Picchu on Thursday for three days. Hope all is well in your life and thanks for the comments and words of support. Keep well also, besos MXXXX

  5. Nigel said

    Hello Gorgeous!
    Thought you might like some stuff from the homeland? Just had lunch avec votre maman et Rod dans Lewes – ah, O-level French, it never leaves you! They’re both really well & gave me a great birthday.
    “Women glow, men perspire, horses sweat” -rubbish! Anners is the coolest woman in Lewes today – nary a drop, not even a nightlight’s worth of glowiness! Me, equine (oh yes!) & Rod – sleepy… It’s like the “Wizard of Oz” here – everybody’s “melting, melting…”
    It’s officially the hottest UK July day since records began – 36.3 at Gatwick – better(??) than Malta, Rome, Athens & Bermuda. Schools are closed, workers are encouraged to “dress down”, & everyone has to drink lots & lots of water – during the worst drought for 30 years?!?!?
    Different governments, same s**t – different problems to those you’re facing, but people suffer anyway – these people (the world over) couldn’t organise a p**s-up in a brewery…
    Ok, over-simplified rant over. (Damn that 1664!)
    You’ve got SOME cojones (yes? Spanish as well!)
    Looking forward to more great read from you, & thank you for opening our eyes a little wider & enabling us to see a little further…
    You rock!
    Love, Nigel! xx

  6. Sarah said

    Hola !

    To I am too hot to write much or feel inspired, and been on the computer all day, but just wanted to check in,

    Can’t wait to hear about the trek to Machu Picchu as it has been on my wish list since I saw motorcycle diaries, I am sure the reality is not a deserted landscate with two gorgeous dirty men on a motorbike, but lots of tourists with cameras and sunscreen, but I am still jealous,

    love for now

  7. elsa said

    dear miri,
    saturday morning coffee in front of the computer, drifting away into your world, i like that. nothing much else to like right now, am stuck in the grieving process and don´t know how to get through. feels like lady luck is ruling my life, lady choice has gone far away, to antarctica at least. energy level is low and i´m waiting for it to return, but it seems to have missed the last flight… feels like i´m in the the misty zone close to becoming a victim, which i dread. that´s when i need the dear lady choice.
    miri, i miss him so terribly and i know you do too. i know that the gap can´t be filled but i wish it would stop hurting so terribly. hope you don´t mind me writing these depressing lines, but i think you understand as i know you knew and loved him too.
    hope you are doing alright and long to see you sometime.

    a big and furry one from elsa. or maybe you would rather need a cool and spidernetlike…

  8. miranda said

    Dearest Elsa,
    Please write to me and express anything, I do understand as much as I can, really. My next blog was going to reflect on a few ways that I have felt connected to Rob, including Quillabamba on my last day. However, I am also so aware that he is no longer here with us in the flesh. I have thought of him often on this trip, and I thought of him and chatted to him in my head, and you, my dearest Elsa, from Macchu Picchu this morning. Visit me soon, or let´s meet somewhere in Europe, for a few days of companionship… we can take it as it comes and I can try and share some of what you are going through and maybe when the time is right we can have an adventure. Am thinking of you and sending a llama-style hug with bells on it, I will write a blog tomorrow, which I wanted to dedicate to you and the dear Sadgrove, so will do it asap…
    Sarah, Machu Picchu was more the ‘loud tourists and snap me on the camera type affair’, but magnificent, nevertheless. Will write a blog on it as soon as I have posted the next two, which are all lined up and ready to go first, enjoy the heat.
    Nigel, happy birthday and I still haven’t come across Paddington, though Stephen Fry is championing the speckled bear from darkest Peru. Besos amigos MXXXX

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