20th September 2015 by emmadurnford

20th September 2015

We spent today taking it easy - it was difficult to do little else as the affects of the altitude make you feel like you are walking through thick mud extremely slowly whilst getting incredibly out of breath along with lips and fingers tingling - it is a very odd feeling. The locals drink Coca leaf tea all the time which is meant to help with the altitude and it turns out that this is a very mild dose of cocaine! 7-8 leaves in a cup with boiling water poured over them and then leave to ‘stew’ for 3-4 minutes. They look a little like dried privet leaves and although I have never tried privet leaves, I am thinking that the taste is probably similar - not unpleasant just rather ‘leafy’!!

Ollyantambo is a lovely town though and we managed to explore albeit at a slower pace than usual. We saw all the stereotypical Peruvian sights in one day - pet llamas in a field and I managed to get in to give them a stroke. They were a bit nervous so I crept up in stages and hummed as that calms them down (learnt that on a llama farm in Dorset many years ago!) and they hummed back - yes honestly. We saw lots and lots of dogs wandering around, most of which were very friendly and obviously well fed although they could all do with a wash and shampoo. By chance I also spotted Peru’s largest humming bird from our hotel window and actually managed to photograph it from quite a distance. Tuk-tuks fill the streets and are more underpowered than in Thailand. They consist of a motorbike with a sort of metal shell on top to carry passengers and luggage - we may use one to get us down to the train station tomorrow if we are brave enough.

Finally we saw many people in traditional dress, not put on for us ‘gringos’ but because they were attending some sort of big celebratory banquet. Their shawls, skirts and hats are very colorful. These sights are overlooked by the incredibly high mountains of the Andes on all sides with the Inca ruins rising vertiginously above us. There cannot be anywhere else in the world quite like this little town.
It does sound and look like a very different and rather lovely sort of place. I love the clarity of the light in your capture, your pov and the wonderful textures. Fav.
September 26th, 2015  
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