Where are we?

On the road to Ollantaytambo - and finally all kinds of Camelids!!

Spent the morning in Nasca to get the welding done on the hitch. Problem that needs to be fixed is the bracket for the hitch had to be welded back up.  It was tearing away from the body so had to be lifted up and the tear welded. It would have been easier to weld if the hitch could have come off but the nuts were rusted and couldn't get to the top of the bolts.  So while the boys were playing with that I walked into town to find some groceries and look for an internet place that I could print off our tickets for Machu Picchu and for the train.  Didn't find any internet place that had a printer. But did find a couple of things I needed in different little stores. When I was walking back I found a tourist info place and asked there about internet with a printer, and he told about one place but it was back 4 blocks and I didn't want to walk back because getting to hot. Plus it was just after 11 and maybe the welding job was ready. So I continued on but then I came across a little outdoor ceviche vendor and had to have some!  S/10 ($4) was a good price. Once I got it had al sorts of fish and also octopus šŸ˜‹ pretty tasty! I knew I didn't have to bring any back for Dwayne - not his kind of food! LOL!!

Ceviche came with some sweet potato topped with fried calamari and also those roasted corn kernels

I get back to Vanna and the welding is done but one of the guys left so now waiting for him to come back to lift the storage box, spare tire carrier back on. It is VERY heavy and needs at least 3 guys to lift and bolt it in place. After hanging around in the heat for 30 minutes I decided to go to the internet place and see if I could get the printing done. This time I took an umbrella which helped keep the sun off me. Found the internet place but he doesn't have the printer connected to a computer, needs to download onto a memory stick and then he prints it off in another room. Took quite awhile to get the 10 pages printed because they couldn't remember all the steps to download onto the stick and I sure as heck couldn't help them! But it did finally get done and charge was S/10 ($4) a little expensive but had to get it done. Really only had to print the MP tickets off,  I later read we could just us our phone for show the train tickets šŸ˜•

By the time I got back to Dwayne he was ready to go so we head out to the highway and start climbing towards Ollantaytambo. We have three days to get there. Its close to 600kms and with the winding roads, it will take longer then the 8 hrs it shows on Map.ma šŸ˜‚ We're only going to drive up to 6000' and spend the night. See if that helps get use to the change in elevation.

We're out of the sand dunes now


you can see where we came from by the little white dot on the upper right side - that's a truck coming down 

We find a nice spot after 2 hours of driving. While I'm making dinner a local lady comes up to us and starts talking to me thru the open window.  Of course I have no idea what she is chattering about but eventually I turn off the stove and open the door.  She's dressed pretty poorly and had an arm full of sticks. I eventually figure out that she is talking about her cows which are just behind us. She also wants to see the inside of Vanna and says it is very beautiful. Can't believe there is also a bathroom!!  Before she leaves she asked for S/10 for some food. So we give it to her and she heads home.

The carrier on the back is not drooping as much as before the welding was done. Dwayne's happy :) 




The sky is so beautiful tonight!!
Next morning we stop at her shack to give her one of our empty 7L water bottles and she tells us to come and look and waves for us to follow her. She takes us to where she keeps her 4 cows and shows us the baby calf that she said was born last night! So cute!  She lives alone, no esposo.  I ask if I can take her picture and she agrees and I take it at her doorway. She even smiles - lucky keeps her lips together because she only has a few teeth left :)  I then go to the van and get a little more money for her and she is very appreciative, even giving me a hug and kiss. Made my day šŸ˜„


The new baby calf 
Then it's back on the road to see how far we get today. A couple of hours later we are driving thru a VicuƱa reserve. We see lots of vicuƱas!! Similar to alpacas and llamas but think they are just smaller and their fur is very soft. VicuƱas and another camelid called guanaco are wild, the llama and alpacas are domesticated.  Then we stop to visit the museum along the highway and we see all types of stuffed animals.  VicuƱa, guanaco and alpaca along with many stuffed birds. The ranger doesn't speak any English but I can understand him enough to make sense of the displays. There is one display showing how the locals roundup the vicuƱas in June every year. This is called a Chaccu Ceremony and it involves rounding up the vicuƱas in a temporary fenced area and then shaving the ones that have fur long enough and also tagging them. Then they are let go. All the fur that is collected is exported to Italy! I think he said that some of it goes to Lima, or he meant it gets shipped out from Lima.  None of the local women get any of it to weave.  Then we went to see a few vicuƱas that they have in a corral behind the museum. Not sure why except I guess for tourist to see them. We could also drive to a condor lookout but since we are here late morning the birds will be out hunting.  He said the best time to see them is at 5pm when they return for the night. Guess we won't be seeing them here, hopefully elsewhere.

VicuƱas



Two of them were rolling in the dirt  

Grasses in the altiplanos 


Inside the museum 

Guanaco - they have a dark face

VicuƱa - the smallest

alpaca

Condor

Picture of a vicuƱa being tagged and shaved

VicuƱas being rounded up

This little vicuƱa was in a pasture behind the museum - look at those eyelashes! 


Reason why it takes us at least 2 days to get to Ollantaytambo 
Yikes!! Glad we didn't see this happen! There was a backhoe that had a jackhammer on it trying to chip away the rock. Since it probably can't be moved it will be chipped away from the pavement to open both lanes again
Saturday must be laundry day at the creek



This area has strange looking rocks

Plus cacti in bloom



I really like how they divide up the land with rock walls. Dwayne says its probably because there are so many rocks in the land that when they remove them to work the land it's easier to stack into walls then haul away


As we continue our drive the landscape becomes very wide open and bare - this is actually called the Altiplano - high plains.  We can see lots of vicuƱas now and even have to slow down so they can cross the highway!!  We drive by a few lakes and get to see PINK flamingos!! We are at 14,000' and it's cold and windy! How do these "tropical" birds survive? Wonder how they got here? Googled and found out that these flamingos have been living in the Altiplanos of the Andean mountains since pre-Inca times as found in their drawings. There are 3 types Andean Flamingo, Chilean Flamingo and Jame's Flamingo.  These beautiful birds love the saline waters of the Altiplanos and have few predators at theses high altitudes.  The winds and the cold keep them away. But the locals are a predator because they collect eggs for food, feathers for their celebrations and their fat to rub on arthritic joints, but with conservation people coming into the area those uses have dwindled.  Now mining operations in the areas are threatening the birds by using the water that is so sparse in this area. And that's your nature class for today! LOL!

These were the first one we saw and they were quite a ways away.


These were a little closer

By looking at the dark face I would say this is a guanaco


The fur on this one is so soft looking as it blows in the wind



Altiplanos



They just wonder thru the villages



adobe house with grass roof - don't see alot of these 





Not sure about the tags in the ears if these are owned by locals or the tagging that is done in June

Not sure what these little girls are selling


Did you know that llamas, alpacas etc are all part of the Camelid Family?? I didn't until now

on the right it shows the difference in heights - Llama the biggest then guanaco, alpaca then vicuƱa 



We drive until 4:30 and are still 345km to go! Today we drove 245km and we started around 9:30 but there were a lot of stops today because had to see all those vicuƱas!! Plus the museum and lunch stop šŸ˜„
We find a nice little spot by the river for the night. Only have a couple of cows walk around the van :)  Tonight we are at 11,300' last night it was 6000'. The head is not too bad. I was able to buy some pills which I think is mostly made of coca leaves. Making sure to drink lots of water. I'll see how the sleep goes tonight.



Cattle here are quite hairy - must be because of the altitude??


We woke up at 6:30 and decided to get going early and were on the road by 8pm - early for us!!LOL!! We slept good other then my constant getting up to go pee because of all the water I drank!!! Did wake up without a headache so that was great!

We drop 4000' and drive through a beautiful valley along side the river. Driving thru lots of little villages with people going about their daily routines tending their crops and cattle, even on Sunday. Seems just another day to them.





Love how the clouds fall here


Interesting coloured mountain


As we are driving out of the valley we must have passed at least 100 dogs just sitting along the highway watching the traffic just like the locals do :)  Or they were hoping to be picked up and taken to a new home??









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