Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Huaraz Day One

When we first got to Huaraz, we booked our four day adventure tour with a guide for $30 a person, not per day, just per person! We traveled throughout the night on an eight hour bus ride and arrived at six in the morning. Our first day in Huaraz we spent touring through popular local towns and at lagunas lakes up in the mountains. Unfortunately it is the rainy season and the clouds came in and blocked the view of the massive 22,000 foot peak, Huascaran, in this photo. It was incredible. The whole area was absolutely gorgeous. This town is called Yungay, and was permanently marked by tragedy. In 1970 there was an earthquake (7.8 on the Richter scale) that was followed by a landslide/avalanche, that completely buried the city. The disaster killed 20,000 people in this city, almost the entire city population, and in total killed 70,000 people. The few survivors settled in a nearby area a half a mile away and farther away from the mountain. Now this city is only visited and serves as a large burial ground. It sure was pretty, regardless its tragic history.

This is a really big Jesus! Here you can see Adam at the bottom of the statue, showing how massive it is. This statue rests at the top of a large burial site for the victims of the 1970 disaster, in Yungay. Hugo and Sarita are a couple of our close friends at the Albergue. They are a married couple, that take care of 12 little boys. They have been saving up for two years to come on this trip and invited us to join them. We have had many game nights and movie nights over at their casita. They are a very neat couple. They are always doing special things for us, like cooking us a meal and leaving it at our door while they knock and run. They have taken us to a "Mexican" food restaurant, that was really good, but different, when we missed our food. They have brought us pizza and are always thinking of ways to do something special for us. This trip was a good time for us to repay them for all the wonderful things they have done for us. For us, things are very cheap, so we helped them out financially by buying some meals and their hotel. It was the least we could do for all they do for us. We will miss them very much.

This photo was taken at Lagunas de Llanganuco. It is a brilliant turquoise alpine lake, at about 13,120ft high. It rests at the base of the Cordillera Blanca's highest peaks, like Huandoy (20,976ft) and Chopicalqui (20,841ft). It was very cold and the rain came in, so unfortunately we missed the clear view of all the enormous peaks. It was still very beautiful.

After rowing on the lake, we walked into a sheltered area, where a Peruvian woman was making bread, coca tea, and alpaca hats. She used a pile of heated rocks as her stove and Adam and I warmed up with some coca tea. It was some of the best hot tea I have ever had. Don't worry, it is not processed, so it is not the drug. One thing I had troubles with is everyone uses the same cups. There are only a few cups, so when someone is done with their tea, the lip part gets wiped down (not really cleaned) with water and filled for the next person. But hey, how many times do you get to try coca tea? Here I am at Lagunas enjoying by coca tea and warm alpaca hat. It is recommended in our Frommer's travel guide book to drink coca tea for altitude sickness too. We didn't get altitude sickness, but we tried it anyway. Not bad.

1 comment:

Kim and Brian said...

I can't believe you drank out of the same cup as who knows how many people, Kristen! What ever happend to the germophobe we know and love! :-)
I loved reading this blog with the story about the town and how it has such an incredible story.
You are two are always doing good! I think it's great what you did for your friends! I can't believe they saved for twelve years to go on the trip. What's crazy about that is how we can see the difference in our cultures just from that statement. You mention how everything was so inexpensive, and they saved for twelve years to afford it. Crazy.

I love the alpaca hat!! What an experience you must have had on this trip! Kim