Follow the poop of the llama
Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
13Trip End Aug 08, 2010
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(1) Chilean sunsets rock my world.
(2) At night, I sleep in hats, three sweaters, wool socks, llama gloves, and am learning Aymaran methods to heat the body during the day.
(3) Gallitos en Ingles (chickens in English)
(4) If I climb that, can I get back down?
(5) Coca leaves aren't necessarily coke, right?
All of these titles describe the past week or perhaps my latest addiction: life in the Andean Highlands
As for Gallitos en Ingles as an alternative title, this is descriptive of my 900 games of thumb wrestling, hangman, rock paper scissors, and peliculera (a game similar to hair salon where my little sisters learned my hair was really attached to my head). Personally, I’m finding I am putting far more importance on family in my life. Mom, Dad, Bri, I miss you guys a whole lot, especially in this past week. Chilean families are connected, warm, and affectionate. In the south, my host family and I huddled around the woodstove joking until midnight. In the North, my family (my mom, dad (a policeman), Fabian (15 y/o brother), Thiare (9 year old sister), Yaiza (6 year old sister), and Damir (9 month old brother)) showed me how simple and fulfilling it is to just play guessing games for hours every night. It really brings everyone so much closer together. I know, I know, it’s simple, but I feel like it’s a new rediscovery.
Follow the poop of the llama has been my mantra for the past week. Yeah, it’s kind of gross, but I swear it works. Putre is settled up in one of the most beautiful places of Chile. By poking around in a hostel, I found a book of hiking trails near Putre
Which is probably why I’m now sitting in a hostel in Parinacota with 8 layers of blankets, three sweaters, wool socks, a hat, and ten numb fingers. In a long random story, I ended up traveling up to 4500 meters above sea level with a bunch of Austrians rather abruptly. I spent much of the car ride hoping there would be an open hostel and a bus to take my back to Arica the next day. My Austrian friends headed back to Putre and I set out hiking by myself. After about 40 minutes, a sinking feeling settled in my stomach. Being lost and alone had lost its novelty and now I was looking at a vicuņa carcass thinking about being eaten by a puma because my hemoglobin couldn’t carry oxygen to my starving muscles. Did I bring enough food or clothes? If a puma were to attack me, would my knife be useful or should I go grizzly bear defense style and curl up? Where does one learn puma defense anyways? The wind lost its warmth and the sun seemed to be trying to set awfully fast. I gave up on making it to the lagunas in front of the volcano and sat down to think and turn back to Parinacota. I wasn’t really lost, I knew how to get back…I just wouldn’t make it to where I wanted. That’s when Franklin Maximo showed up. Yes, that powerful name belongs to the llama shepherd who lives along the trail
Anyways, tomorrow’s plans of returning to Arica have taken on yet another spin. A couple of Irish guys showed up at the hostel and have offered to give me a life back to Arica from Parinacota..but oh by the way, they’re stopping to climb a volcano. So Volcano Taapaca, volcano number two, here I come.
Oh, and why should you follow the llama poop? Every time I got myself stuck up on some rock face or shaley mountainside, I decided to follow the llama poop… They had to have gotten up some way, right?