Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mythical Misty Mountain Journey

I´ve made it to Cusco, so you don´t have to contact the US embassy! The past two days have been really extreme, dangerous and exactly what I was looking for. Until I get more time I am going to withhold the awesome photos I took (and videos).

Some jerks at the Restaurant Touristico gave me food poisoning and I´m in the chills phase of it.

Katie and I parted ways at 7am after breakfast of coffee and bread in Pisco. I miss my translator! I carried on to Nasca winding through desert dunes, crushing every vehicle I came across. Driving: it´s in how you pass. The light kept changing and I felt as if I was on another planet. Stopping at the pitiful Nazca lines, I saw they are much smaller than I imagined. Didn´t stop me from picking up some sueveniers! In Nazca I got 2 tiny sandwiches and got onto highway 26.

If it wasn´t for GPS technology, none of this would be possible. At first the bumpy road wound through desert mountains and landscapes. I stopped a lot to get pix and videos. The videos will really do the describing of this, because my words won´t do it justice.
A couple hours later I was in the thick of it. As I wound up up up the air got cooler as I weaved back and forth through rolling hills as far as the eye could see. My head was in the clouds! haw haw. The mist was heavy. I picked up a hitch hiker - a Quechua woman. An awkward 20min later I dropped her at at destination. Later I learned that only buses, trucks and taxis drive this road. The way people were looking and waving to me, I felt as if I was the first gringo to do this. Nobody has cars so these white station wagon taxis traverse the mountains picking people up and dropping them off.
I drove through a small rainstorm which was really scary. My head was beginning to hurt from the elevation. Lunchtime came and went. Then...I began seeing mountain people. Was I in a drive through safari? Traditional Peruvian people wandered about their mountain towns. Children herding livestock along the roads. Crumbling structures from ages ago. Dogs sleeping in the road. THIS is PERU! I would wave to the short, round faced, brightly dressed people as they stared at me. What an experience!!
When I coughed I felt like I would pass out so I took some Dromamine and headache pills. Worked well.
The terrain was getting creepier and the sky shifting from rainbows to rain to sun to dark clouds. I got a quick lightning storm and accepted my fate: this is where I am going to die. I literally didn´t know what was coming around the next bend. A stunning view of green mountains? A herd of cows blocking the potholed road? Water flowing over the road?
I went through the largest llama preserve. The would appear along the hills in packs, meandering around ancient stone walls in the shapes of squares.
Perhaps I was hallucinating late in the afternoon, but I saw something from a dream I has a couple months ago. A triangular shaped mountain with a stone square in front of it (the mountain had a significance to ancient peoples). I remember telling someone this dream- I´ll have to check my reference.
Rolling in and out of crumbling towns I grabbed up more water and a few bannanas which saved my life. I was determined to reach Abancay. Night fell round 7p. Those dark hours of driving were freaking scary. Everything falls into chaos at night. Dogs chasing cars, livestock in the road, roads built through streams?! People hitch-hiking eerily in pitch black. Rockslides leaving big rocks in the road. Flanked by mountains, I followed the river till I rolled into Abancay! Found a hotel, coachera, got junk food, and passed out round 11p.

Katie´s blog has me in it.

1 comment:

  1. Truly amazing! I have to ask, do I resemble the Quechua woman? I've heard that some folks don't drive with their headlights on in South America. What an amazing adventure, although the terror of driving in such unknown situations is exhausting-I hope that you're getting some rest.