What's another year

Trip Start May 03, 2005
Trip End Oct 31, 2005

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Saturday, August 6, 2005

My week in Lima went by in a flash! It actually worried me as I think the next 2.5 months are going to do the same. Arghhh!

It was good to see everyone in the office again and catch up but I can't say that I did any work. What's new I hear you say? Cheeky monkeys!

Stayed in a really friendly hostal that Renée's friends had suggested, Rodas I. Roxanne, the girl who looked after the place was a real sweetie.

For the big 32, there was a walk organised by Quebreda Valley along the Lomas Walkway in the Lurin Valley. This is an annual event that most people in work came along to. Having completed the walk once, roughly about 2.5 hours, I had just had something to eat when Eric, the tourism team's manager asked me whether I was going up again. It was about 5pm and would be dark by 6pm so I initially thought - there's no way! It's too dangerous in the dark. When I heard that there was going to be a celebration to mother earth and mother nature on the hill, I changed my mind. So, in an attempt to race the light, I bolted up (well, walked quickly) up the hill. It was pretty scary at times as I didn't have any light personally and was realiant on others close by with lanterns and torches (why or why did I not bring my torch???). At one stage the guy in front of me was struggling to keep up with the light in front of us as he didn't have the best shows on. We were then plunged into darkness and I have to say it was a bit hairy. Thankfully there were guides at the most dangerous parts to shine torches so that we could climb down rocks. Was good fun though - honest!

At the top I heard someone call my name, which I thought was a little strange but it turned out to be Fernando. Everyone was asked to blow out their lanterns and turn off their torches and after a long wait for everyone to join us on the hill, the ceremony started. There were traditional musicians playing flutes and a 'maestro' who conducted the Inca ceremony (after berating the Peruvians for not knowing their native language, Quechua - only 4 people in the crowd spoke it). This involved lighting a great big fire and throwing various objects, such as, cocoa leaves and corn, onto the fire. We then all had the chance to do the same. Who needs candles on a birthday cake when you've got a great big fire to throw things onto? We then had a bit of peace and love - we all joined hands and walked around the fire throwing on 'media' (it looked like a little block of wood but I'm not sure) and then had a little spout of clapping hands and chanting in Quechua. God knows what we were saying. Rather pagan ritual though but interesting nonetheless.

After a hairy walk back down the hill (thankfully this time I wasn't too far from light this time), it was time to crack open the vodka and celebrate my birthday properly. It was pretty low key as birthdays go but good fun. A group of us stayed in a tent in the valley but I have to say that I barely slept all what with music in the night and then the animals from about 5am in the morning. I can now understand why Orsen Wells decided to write animal farm - I could swear every cock in the village was having a serious conversation...and then the donkeys started. Well, it was a different alarm clock and, to be honest, much nicer than the one that I have but not when you haven't had any sleep!

After breakfast we played pool again and then cracked open a bottle of rum. I was a little reluctant at first but after the first one, felt ready for another. After a few hours, as some of the others had not been up the hill yet, we decided to climb the hill again - just for the heck of it. I really do need to climb the Mourne Mountains after this weekend as it is so much prettier that what I saw in the Lurin Valley. It was good exercise though and good to work off that vodka and rum.

It was then back to Lima to try to sort out the last of my bits and bobs. It is unbelievable the amount of stuff that you gather over 3 months. Annoyingly a lot of it was kitchen utensils and a fridge (which I still haven't sold!). Grrr! Poor Renée was lumped with a large bag of stuff and asked to do with it as she pleased.

Next stop Iquitos!
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