Peruvian Adventure 5/18/2006-6/28/2006
Steamboat à Denver à Miami à
Lima à Huaraz à
Cordillera Blanca à Huaraz àCordillera
6/8/2006: Huaraz: Café Andino: Yesterday just chilled, ate and did laundry. Actually the laundry may have been the highlight of my day. I took two weeks of seriously dirty clothing to the laundry man three doors up the street. He weighed everything out and said they would be cleaned dried, folded and ready to go by 1 PM all for the astronomical price of $1.10.
Not being prone to idleness, I flagged down a taxi and went to Huantack for an afternoon of bouldering. A twenty minute ride in to the hills dropped me off at the bouldering area that I had visited with Walter a few weeks earlier. The Huantack bouldering area is actually a pasture with a small village on one side and a stream running down the middle. No one was there, but I had a good time working on some problems before deciding to head back.
Since the afternoon was beautiful and there was no option of a ride, I decided to work my way down the inter village trails from Huantack to Huaraz. My Spanish was adequate enough to enquire as to the best camino back to Huaraz. As I wandered in and out of small clusters of homes I enjoyed the slow rhythm of the hills. The trails were well worn, but I imagined that few visitors from outside these Quechua hill people had walked these trails.
A couple of hours later I was back in Huaraz and headed for my laundry and a large dinner.
When I got back to the Café Andino I related to Chris the story of an encounter I had at the Refugio Peru: As I approached the Refugio de Peru from below I could see a person standing on a small out cropping of rock near the refugio. When I got to the lodge I met a smiling, plainly dressed Peruvian gentlemen who looked at be in his early 60’s and stool about 5’4’. He held out his hand and introduced himself as Joaquin.
He indicated that he was impressed with ho fast I hiked and
asked more about my trip to the Cordillera Blanca. His facial expressions indicated that he was
impressed. He said he would be climbing
Pisco with a couple of young people in two days. I assumed he was the caretaker of the
refugio. When I returned from my attempt
on Pisco he greeted me and said that he knew Chris and Isabelle and to say high
when I got back to Huaraz, which I was now doing. Since I have met a number of people who say
they know Chris I didn’t take much note.
When I finished my story Chris told me that Joaquin is a living legend
and is so strong that he has climbed almost all the 6,000 meter peaks in the
Cordillera Blanca including about 100 ascents of Huascaran, the highest peak in
Yesterday had most of the day to blow, so I walked to the city centro and toward the north of town where Eduardo and Eloy had introduced me to a local hang out called the Andean. They had a climbing wall so I figured I could burn a few hours waiting for Mo to arrive at the bus station.
The Andean is located by entering a passage way between two buildings where it opens in to a court yare surrounded by high brick walls. What would otherwise be a small vacant dirt log has been converted in to an open air bar, grill, reading lounge and small climbing gym. Antonio, the bar tender, chef and DJ was the only one there at this hour. Tony’s proudest possession is his bootlegged collections of music. He is justifiably proud. He had everything from Blind Lemon Jefferson to Hendrix and the Dead to the Dixie Chicks. He also had a fine collection of traditional Peruvian hill music and everything in between. Tony claimed to be part Peruvian, Basque and Italian and could cook up the best fish tacos and Ti food I had ever eaten. For an hour or so I climbed around on the wall, sipped beer and listened to music. Tony them whipped up an order of his fish tacos, which were probably the best fish tacos I have ever eaten.
Just as I was getting ready to leave four Peruvian kids entered the Andean to climb on the wall. They had great enthusiasm and strength, but no chalk or shoes. I threw them my chalk and let one kid use my shoes. After watch for a little bit I couldn’t resist getting in to the action on the wall. It was great fun, but finally I was worn out. After a few good byes I headed back to the Andino to pick up Mo at the bus station.
Mo had just completed the very trip I had done three weeks earlier and after 24 hours of continuous traveling was a little beat, but still game to enjoy a little Huaraz night life. After getting our stuff checked in we headed back to the Andean where Tony prepared a potent alcoholic concoction and local snacks. We sat around the open fire pit in the courtyard for a while just relaxing and then headed for the Bistro for a proper dinner.
I had gotten to know the owners of the Bistro over the previous several weeks. They had a seven year old daughter named Sara who wanted to learn English, but they could not find an appropriate kid’s level Spanish English dictionary to assist her. Mo had located a wonderful illustrated dictionary in the states and at dinner we presented the dictionary to Sara and she was thrilled. I had needed some fishing equipment for our upcoming trek around the Cordillera Huayhuash range and Jacque loaned me his gear. After a great dinner we headed to our lodging for a nights rest before Mo started her acclimatization for our Huayhuash trek.