Sunday morning, el Domingo  11/9/14.  Huchuy Q’osco

I woke up at 4:15 to the sounds of the neighbors and the family and the farm waking up and getting busy;  mother and daughter’s voices just outside of my window were low and punctuated by the sound of whatever they were doing with their hands.  It sounded like they were hitting something, maybe mats or blankets.  I didn’t try to look because it was still so dark.  The cows moo-ed, roosters crowed, and sheep made their voices heard also.  Last night we walked up to the homestead with a horse and a couple of burrows, but I haven’t heard them yet this morning.  I hunkered down under the covers some more.  At 5:15, it was quite light and I got up to use the facilities.  I brushed my teeth at the little courtyard sink while a duck watched me, and the cow out back moo-ed loudly.  Another cow close by was still asleep on the ground.
The Señor and Señora of the house looked like they had already been up for hours.  We’re supposed to be having breakfast this morning at 7, but judging from our “7:00” dinner last night, which actually occurred at 8:30, I’m not so sure that we’ll be out of here by our hoped for 8:00 and back to the ruins.  Then we are hiking the 4 Km down the hill to Lamay.
Oh, there’s the conche shell wakening “bell” to signal time to get up, at 6:30.  I was given hot water to drink and am sitting again on the llama skins bench with Rolando and Patrick, 2 compadres from our trek.  Apparently we are the only residents at the homestay today, and we had a nice breakfast of banana filled “pankekes” with carmel drizzle, and bread.  And then began the questions regarding the traditional musical instruments in the corner of the room, the “Choclo” corncobs of many colors lining the room, and the traditional headdresses and “trajes” or clothing of the family members.  So the family gave us demonstrations of traditional Quechua music and dancing, and talked of the corn and ceremonial costumes, as well as the point that, when they go to town to speak with administrators or anyone in authority, they where Western clothing, because the government officials apparently totally diss the native Quechua citizens.  Bummer.  Kinda sounds like something. That happens in a lot of countries.  Then Rolando asked me to break out some Zumba music and we all danced and that lightened the mood back up a bit.  By 8:00, it was nice and warm in the sun as we were dancing in the courtyard.  We left the homestay at about 8:15, I think, and headed back to the ruins, where Rolando provided more info about the ancient Incas and their architecture, in his funny broken English.  He did a really good job and helped me with my Spanish too, so that was nice.
Ok, so 4 km didn’t sound like much to do to get to the bottom of the mountain, but let me tell you, an hour and a half after we left Huchoy Q’osco, when we stopped for a snack and some water, and Rolando told us that we were halfway down, everybody was pretty bummed.  Needless to say, it was very steep, very rocky and slippery, and very slow going.  And we were all blown away when the little 6-ish year old Quechua girl, that we had seen working in the quinoa fields up on the hill, went running down the hill past us.  Literally running and skipping like it was nothing, in her llama leather sandals!
WE MADE IT!  I can’t tell You how grateful I am to be all the way down the mountain!  And even more grateful that I don’t have 2.5 to 3 more days to walk these very steep and rocky trails!  There are Inca trails all over these mountains, and Inca ruins too.  You could walk for days through the Andes and not walk all of these trails.  And some of them really are tough.  It’s really been a great experience so far, and I haven’t even made it to Machu Picchu yet!  And I feel like I have dirt in soooo many places!  Yes, two days worth, cuz I know that wipey bath last night only just barely got the important places.  Fortunately, until late this morning, it was too chilly for me to be sweating on this trek, so was just doing that for the last couple of kilometers coming down when we would get on the side of the mountain that protected us from the wind, but not from the intense sunshine.  And tonight…..   Hotel!  Yay!  Warm running water, flushing toilets, hopefully adequate lighting!  I may even be able to shave my legs, and pluck my eyebrows!  Yay!  At least that’s what I am hoping.  We’ll see.
Wow!  Again, thank You for a really great trip.  I think we’re all working on a few endorphins right now!  Feeling pretty good to have accomplished our little slice of the Inca trail.  It has been a really great trip overall, and I’ve met so many wonderful people, really nice, all of them.  The couple who have the homestay at Huchuy Q’osco are Silverio and Navidad, and their 10 year old daughter Marivela.  They have two other children who are living in Lamay.
This morning’s walk, after we finished up the ruins, was kinda grueling, really steep rocky switchbacks sprinkled with the ruins of a few ancient stairs, because it is still part of the Inca trail.
Not something that I want to continue to do for the rest of the afternoon into the next two days.  Whew!  Really fun, but I am out of water, and the sun is so intense!  Rolando gave me a bit of what he had left (see?  Really nice people). But he only had a few swallows so didn’t want to take that all.  The clouds are starting to move in more this afternoon.  I am still hopeful for a sunshiney day tomorrow in Machu Picchu, after the fog lifts, and it can rain as much as it wants to after about 3:00 pm, cuz I think that’s when I get on the train back to somewhere that the bus will pick me up and take me home late Monday night.
We are currently sitting under some eucalyptus trees just outside of the little town of Lamay, hearing and feeling the wonderful breeze as it blows though the branches.  We all took off our shoes and are sitting in the shade just enjoying not walking for a few minutes as we wait for the driver to pick us up and take us to Ollantaytambo for lunch.  And then we’ll catch the 3:30 train to Aguas Calientes, the little town that is a half hour busride from the Machu Picchu ruins.
   

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