Monday 29 March 2010

A brief struggle

After the match, fuelled by a few cervezas, we climbed one of the hills to drink some mate and admire the view. I'm admiring these guys' patience as I stutter out my ill-conjugated Spanish.

The sun is slinking down for a well earned rest as we decide to circumnavigate the village via the paseo de los colorados. Night falls about half way round. I am starting to feel properly shattered by this point. The best I can manage is food (llama) and sleep.

The llama and I have a post digestive disagreement and I spend most of the night awake with stomach cramps. When I don't have stomach cramps, my sun burnt shoulders are rubbing against the sheets in agony. Check out time arrives and I am done for. Sun, altitude, cerveza, exercise, lack of sleep and llama have combined to put me in the hurt locker. I skip breakfast, sink a gatorade and board the bus for Tilcara.


I'm headed for Humahuaca but wanted to stop here on the way. I step off the bus into yet another dusty little town, though it's bigger than Purmamarca. I'm in no fit state to do the place justice. I buy myself some food and water to take on the walk up to el Pucará, a pre-Hispanic hilltop fortress that overlooks the town.

View from el Pucará

The walk is okay but I start to feel a bit of altitude in my weakened state. At the top I settle down for my sandwich but it is inedible. I trudge back to town having admired the view and scull another gatorade. I trudge around town a bit more before making a snap decision to skip town, and bundle my things on a bus that is about to leave.

I must have crashed on the bus, since before I knew it I was in Humahuaca, rucksack cutting into my sunburnt shoulders and no idea where I'm going. I don't care what desperate shithole I stumble into, the first place I find with a bed for me I stay in. There are signs up everywhere for places, but the hostels themselves are nowhere to be seen.

I inexplicably cross a bridge, and find myself ringing the bell of the Hostería Camino del Inca. $220 a night! ¡Gracias a dios! I was thinking I'd have to settle for $10 and they give you a bucket to crap in, but no. I nestle down between the soft sheets and sleep for a thousand years.

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