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Old 03-20-2013, 01:03 PM   #376
RexBuck OP
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
Oddometer: 1,090
Mar 7 Finally to Chivay

Horrible nights sleep last night. Was in my long johns and a shirt, had three wool blankets on the bed and was still cold. Must have been below 10 C in there. Guess I should have stuck my sleeping bag under the covers.

Looking out my window from the back of the Hospedaje/Restaurant. Pretty bleak

Went down to the restaurant which was just as busy as last night with truckers and had fried chicken for breakfast.

Then headed for Chivay. Started noticing that the snow level on the neighboring mountains wasnít that much higher than the plain.

Pretty country up on the altiplano with huge herds of Alpacha and Llama. Very open and sparse.

Hit a new altitude record Ė finally, 16,000 feet.

Now Iím thinkin that the snow level this morning would have been well below that peak and had I decided to go for Chivay last night, I probably would have been camping in the snow as I didnít have enough gas to turn around.

When I was near the peak I walked down a 20 foot embankment and the climb back up had me wheezing after about the second breath . . . the lack of air just about frickin killed me. Wheezin Geezer rides again.

Beautiful valley with Chivay at the bottom. This is the start of the Colca Canyon. Some rock fences with a stream coming down the ravine

This whole area, well into the canyon, is covered with terraced and rock fenced farms. Pretty.

The town of Chivay

Stopped to take one pic and as Iím getting off the bike, it decides itís tired also and proceeds to lie down - again. I usually get on and off the bike from the right side and have a bad habit of sometimes dragging my foot over the seat (can't get it over the bags on the back) and if its parked on a right hand slope, doesn't take much to get it going.

I swear for a moment then proceed to take most of the luggage off and as I was getting ready to lift, a guy stops to help me. After we get the bike righted again, he says to me ďare you Steve?Ē and Iím looking around for a sign on my back or on my bike with my name on it. Howíd you know that? Turns out he is the guy at Tradicion Colca Hotel I had corresponded with for a hotel reservation . . . that I didn't show up for last night. Nice guy.

Entering the town and stopped by the police manning a gate. Want 70 Soles ($27) to enter the canyon as a tourist. Dig out a hundy and hand it to the cop and he tells me they donít have any change. I was tired and grumpy and said, ďwell, neither do IĒ Ė Fees like this irritate me but I understand them to a point. If you are going to charge to enter an attraction like this then be prepared to accept any denomination bill, even credit cards . . . every other tourist attraction does. I think this guy wanted me to walk off and leave him the change. Uhhh, Finally his sidekick stepped up with some change. Didnít make me less grumpy.

Tradicion Colca is a pretty nice hotel. They try to provide a lot of activities (hiking, horseback riding, tours) to keep everyone happy. They have a bar . . . kept me happy.

Was thinking I might just extend my stay another day or two until I found out they have no WiFi. Thatís a no go for me for a longer stay so will head out for Arequipa tomorrow.

Had a nice meal of alpacha and then they had a couple of kids from town come and do a traditional dance. Apparently, the tradition is that boys weren't permited to be at these dances so they would dress up like the girls and hide their faces with a bunch of straps. Interesting that the boy is wearing a somewhat similar hat to the "lampshade hats" I saw yesterday.

__________________ - RexBuck's Latin America
Information on travelling in Latin America.
Includes links to ride reports to Mexico and to South America
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