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day 16 @ 11:23 pm

Day 16

there was wind blowing

there were roosters crowing

there were dogs barking


and i wrestled myself back to sleep.

and Jim talking..
he misses Gene terribly..
so he has been telling me stories (over&over)

i lay in bed reading "the power of now" while he talked to me
occasionally listening
occasionally reading.

we had a late morning: didn't need to go til 9:30

i remember
in my early-morning-throwes
seeing the moon in the sky
and smiling..

we'll be back in the USA right around the time of the new moon
but damn, it does feel like Mercury retrograde is doing a number..

Sagittarius..

no wonder i signed the contract a few days ago to travel the rest of my life...
Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius while having my Saturn Return

today i've felt tired
kinda lifeless..
maybe kinda like when i first got into the high altitudes
... but even less
just no excitement
feeling like i want to hide.

what's that about?

i

we got a local guide named Sulema
she lives here, knows the local language of Aymayra

she took us for a drive to a small town to buy presents for a family we were going to visit..

a plaza in the town..
cement town
quiet
empty
seemed so strange
graveyard
where are we?

bannanas. crackers. frosted-flakes-like puffed pasta coated with sugar. pop-corn... but local monster style.. with sugar. apples. coco leaves...

we got back in the bus..
oh
our new driver is Enrique
yeah, kinda stocky
yeah, i bet Gene would like him (it's how Jim and i talk)

we drove to a small hillside with an arch on it..
all got out and played with the kids...
giving them the pasta and popcorn
they held up their skirts and shirts to make a basket for our offerings..

Jim and Jim and Metche stayed in the van
the rest of us walked up the hill
giving popcorn and pastas to all the kids we saw
with their parents
sheeps
cattle..

the men here have released the traditions
wearing second hand US clothing and baseball caps
the women wear all the traditionals
three skirt minimum!
a long colourful hat denoting their single status...
or
an English introduced Bowler hat
once they are married.

we walked down to the other side
and the van met us
the rest got out and joined us
... we walked in the sand through the fields of Fava Beans and Quinoa (the young plants look almost identical to Lamb's Quarters.. and they do use the leaves as a spinach as well as the grain)

There was lots of complaining about the sand [fleas] and the walking
i began closing myself and distancing myself because of it, i guess..

took pictures of Lake Titicaca..
big.. small waves... the boats... the sand fleas..

here... they bury the dead where they liked to spend most of their time...
so in these farmer's fields
we have seen a few graves
big cement blocks on top...

back in the van
we continued on
i felt hot
tired
we got off the cement onto dirt roads
constant conversations..
the dust... somehow coming in through the windows
i felt like i was choking

the van would stop various places while Sulema explained things
at a house-building party
a man walked up to the van while we were stopped
and the driver pulled away from him..
Judy and Elizabeth spoke up and said
" what did he want to tell us? "

most everyone got out of the van to go visit the party... give some gifts..
i didn't feel good about it
i was tired
and hungry
and feeling encased.

sat in the van with Jim and Jim
and they both complained about various things.

the rest got back in the van
we drove another couple hundred yards
and parked...
this is where Lunch would be.

we got out
and walked through the farm fields
red soil..
purple gravesite
zaging through the plots
up against the high rock wall dotted with altars...

E & J accosted me about why i didn't get out of the car
.. commenting that anything would have been better than sitting there with those two
...
i felt tired.

we all went to out-houses
some complaining all around

we walked back out
and some sat down..

a woman was piling eucalyptus leaves into a small round oven..
Sulema explained that only the front "door" rocks were made of stone..
the rest were all clay..
the fragrant smoke filled the air
and another woman brought over a blanket wrapping up a bushel of potatoes
we all threw in a couple of handfuls
then the women closed the door
and banged in the top of the oven a bit
then poured in the rest of the potatoes through that hole
THEN
banged down the rest of the clay rocks on top of those
and smashed them up with sticks for a while
til all that hot clay was snuggled in tight around the little tatters..

then we saw weaving demonstrations..
how the women made the blankets they carried their babies in...
the belts that held their many skirts up
their fancy hats..

then we shopped..

much cheaper here than anywhere else we've seen..
the only danger was
Alpaca did not grow well in these parts
so the women used a lot of synthetics they bought from town
.. still
i found a few alpaca pieces that were cheap and wonderful
more presents for the folks back home..

we ate a few potatoes by hand only 20 minutes later
then lunch was served:

potatoes (burnt skin covered in dirt)
and a clay slip-like substance to garnish it with
(yes, folks, that is: Watery Clay on our potatoes)
(a greenish-grey clay.. probably would make a lovely facial mask as well)

a sheep's cheese fresh... or fried
three types of bread
one wheat
the other two Quinoa

we sat and ate
some complained
... which made me sad
but i enjoyed it the food.

the little boys all pointed and laughed at me..

all the aymayra people piled up together in the middle and ate off a big blanket stacked with tatters and beans and bread.. maybe?
a pot of hot chili in the center...

then a quinoa (grain and leaf) soup came out

lovely..
washed down the sandy potatoes

then coco/mint tea

me and the ladies realized that this Was our ThanksGiving Feast!
so fitting: us foreign tourists being fed by the Indians...

soon after
we all gathered together for a question and answer session
- still feeling remote, i wanted to give them their privacy
i just watched...
but it wasn't really us asking the questions:
it was them.

they wanted to know what we did, where we were from... what our names where.. how old we were (most wouldn't tell their age)
then we piled in with them and got some pictures taken...

and it was time to go.

walking away from the high-cliffs behind the houses
we wondered if we could climb them...
but there was huffing and puffing and feet stamping
refusal...
so
just back to the van
where Enrique was working on the engine..
waiting... Sulema realized that she forgot to pay them..
a bit of panic ensued about money
we waited a bit longer while she run back to give them some.
(it was something insanely low... 90 soles? 90 dollars? i think soles. insane)
meanwhile
i tried to convince some goats in the road to let me pet them:
they'd have none of it
but the people walking by found it humerous

when it was finally time to go
we were all quite exhausted

i remember Jim telling a long story to Dietmar about his father's (grand father's?) Model-A Ford engine he'd rigged up to churn butter
-- when he came back from the Service, his dad had sold it for incredibly cheap.



countryside on the way back

white lime stone

fields
fences
little houses

my day's lethargy followed me home.

we had about an hour before dinner...
we were excited with Anticipation:

Walter had not come with us on today's excursion
-- we suspected he had stayed here to prepare a ThanksGiving Feast!

and we were right!

he couldn't get turkeys
but roasted three chickens
with stuffing!
& mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
excellent bread
gravy
Wine!

there was enough wine left over that i took some back to the room for later musings

we all felt very thankful
and certainly well fed

Judy and i walked over to the hotel across the street to use their land line
(the only land line in town)
to call friends..
i got Leo on the phone for a minute or two
just enough to say ' i love you '
-- left a message for my parents...

listened to the waves
the wind

and walked back with our heavy bellies
(my poncho blowing in the wind)

ready get a nice long sleep...









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