We only had to go 7 km to get to the larger (and hopefully more hygienic) village of Huacullo, where we planned to rest out our respective ills. It was not ideal as it was still at 4600m and it is hard to heal at that altitude. We were blown away at what a beautiful setting the village is in, two lakes, interesting sub alpine valleys & snowy peaks in the background – if it were Europe it would be a major destination. Instead it is a small town of maybe 400, no power lines and thankfully no really bad television being played when you eat out.
Before the sun drops, the playground is full of wee ones, and the older youth are playing volleyball on the hard court in the centre of the village. The older folk, like us, are sitting around the edges watching and enjoying the last of the sun. Most of the younger children had never seen the likes of us and they would edge closer to me, and run off laughing when I roared at them like a lion, only to edge in again, before another roar- it got the adults laughing as well.
We rested in the clean hospedaje, my chest started clearing but Alan was still not making major splashes in the toilet bowl and he felt pretty wasted. We still had high roads to traverse before we dropped to lower altitudes for the first time in a couple of weeks. On our third morning he was on the loo early and he heard a truck revving. This place has (on a busy day) a couple of vehicles heading through it so getting a lift out is not easy to find. It was before 6am and we both went out to investigate. It looked like we were in luck and we thought the truck carting a large broken digger was going our way so it was a fast and furious pack up. Some of the locals were there to see us off (we were the news of the week there).
Alan was all smiles in the large comfy cab, and even tho’ the truck was going in the opposite direction to where we thought we should be heading, the scenery was outrageous. Five hours later I plucked up the courage to ask what time we would get to Abancay, and what I suspected was realised, we were going to be dropped off 180 km from Abancay on the main west/east highway where our unsealed road met the paved road. Our truck driver was going to Lima. We were no closer to Abancay than we had been at Huacullo but we were able to use local transport, and bikes thrown on the roof and we made it to Abancay after 11 hours travel.
Suddenly we were in a busy city, at only 2500m, biking around sorting accommodation. Felt like a time and altitude warp had happened.
Alan’s appetite and waste disposal system is now normal, and our flash (about $15 each a night) hotel is total luxury. Can you believe it, a hot shower at night AND there is hot water in the morning for another one! The only dodgy thing was the cock fighting ring we looked down on next door from the rooftop. Will forgive the birds for crowing all the wee hours.
Tomorrow we head off again, there is only so much lemon pie one can eat!