30th June - 13th July
So the Nestle application had now gone and life can begin again. I have named it “Life after Nestle”.
James decided as there was a lull now for him until his greenhouse grant hopefully comes through, him and Femke would go to the jungle so he left on Thursday afternoon or that was the plan. As it turned out he couldn’t leave until the Monday because he picked up dysentery so a 10 hour bus journey was out the question. He got as far as Cusco and came back. He had been partying on Wed night and his rum and cokes had ice in them so he thinks that might have been it! Urubamba seems to be the worst for the parasites. I assume the water supply here is treated to a lesser degree but who knows. At our Friday meeting I burst into tears as they presented me with flowers to thank me for all my hard work and Sonia told me how much they loved me. She then took Jess and I out for a celebratory meal to a very nice restaurant and some bubbly which she paid for. What a real treat. They then persuaded me to go to Cusco and dancing with Jess and her husband for the night..well that turned out to be quite a night!! Jess had to go somewhere first so I bought a couple of things I needed, a carry out and watched television until she was ready around 10.30pm! I was nearly going to bed!! She had a bottle of wine in her by the time I met her. We went to Piscaria which had amazing Pisco cocktails. Her husband Raphael joined us there. We then went to a cool Cuban nightclub where it was happy hour and the mojitos were very nice. From there it was salsa club. By about 4am I needed to go back to my hotel so Raphael walked me back. I had to be out the hotel by 11am so went home and climbed back into bed for a few hours!! Normally I walk everywhere but, 1. I was still hung over and 2. It had been raining since Friday so I took taxis everywhere..the hour’s drive in an old collectivo which stunk of car fumes was a major struggle. Back at the house..which was freezing because of no sun and my hangover, I went to bed for a few hours with my hot water bag. I started to feel a little better by mid afternoon.
The weather was terrible for 3-4 days and not what is expected at this time of the year. Although it is winter, it is the dry season..supposedly. This is when I have found the downside of having a central courtyard. Although the stairs and walking areas are covered the rain bounces off the railings soaking the walkways! It is also absolutely freezing. I think I am going to invest in a small heater for my room and a desk and chair so I can work in a lighter environment. I can work upstairs in the covered area where I hang my washing but often it is too windy and there is an infernal dog that keeps worrying something and whining all the time!! That with the noise of the traffic makes it less pleasant.
I relaxed on Sunday and met up with Carol and Paul for lunch. They had been in Urubamba checking out a hotel they were supposed to use. It was supposed to be finished for May and still looked like a building site so they have had to find alternate accommodation for about 30 people in 2 weeks time!!
Sonia had also suggested we all take a rest and I definitely need it. With the rain and cold weather the treks – Inca and Lares- have been closed with snow. Those set to travel only got so far before having to turn back. The weather didn’t change until Tuesday. Everyone was complaining of the cold!! I spoke to Carol and Paul and have signed up for a White Water Rafting trip for 3 days next weekend. It’s much more energetic than the one last weekend but I thought I would give it a try. There were no treks I can join that wouldn’t frustrate me Carol thought as they were too easy for me. I’d still like to redo Lares proper..the one we didn’t complete properly 2 years ago so I have suggested if there is one in September/ October to keep me in mind. Knowing I am going has brightened me up no end and will hopefully help me chill out. Being in the company of Carol and Paul is really good and usually cheers me up. Carol said she has a book of the mountain walks around Urubamba so I will copy these. I have told her about my bad sense of direction!!! I’ll maybe try and persuade some of the locals to join me.
My Spanish had been put completely on hold so I started taking lessons again. I want to do some intense Spanish over the next 2 weeks if I can with the Living Heart stuff on hold. My Spanish is definitely getting better. I managed 3 sessions that week before other things took over again. I went to the gym on Monday to help improve my upper body strength for rafting and boy did I pay for that. 3 days it took me to feel better. On Tuesday I walked to the mountains to try and chill out and as usual ended up on a nonexistent path. I managed to pick my way back though. I looked into a desk, chair and heater but couldn’t find anything in Urubamba. I decided it was also time to find a new place to live. The constant peeping of horns (as I live on a junction that all the motos seem to travel along and peep all the time), the dogs barking and howling, the children screaming....need I go on!! I was lying in bed one morning thinking do I really want all this upheaval..am I making a mountain out of a molehill but the noise was particularly bad that day? I got up for a shower and the water pressure wasn’t high enough to kick the thermostat in so I had plenty of signs telling me now was the time to move. Ccatan is a hostal that caters for long stay residents as well as transient people. It is on the way to Living Heart offices and is in a quite area next to the mountains. It has its own grounds albeit they are a little overgrown. A bit hippie like. I visited on Wednesday and decided to move in the following week when I got back from my trip. There are upsides and downsides to it. The kitchen and my bathroom are outside. The bathroom is mine though. The room is not as nice but the quiet makes it a must to move to. I am now typing from there with a little cat sitting on my knee. There are a few long stay guests. I have met a couple of them and it all seems lovely. If possible showers are left to the afternoon as there is lots of hot water from the extra solar heating here so some taps have hot water through them during the day. ..Lovely. There is a lovely area under a grass pitched roof that you can work in. Periodically you hear the next door donkey let out 4-5 very loud brays but very little else disturbs you. You can hear the distant sounds of Urubamba but not enough to frustrate. This and some massages have really helped me to find my “mojo” again. I feel as if I am now on a new adventure.
I will set up a separate blog about the trip as it deserves its own blog.
If I had been in doubt about moving it was reinforced when I returned. Two new people had moved in while I was away. They were not particularly clean. They hid in their room and only came out when I wasn’t there. They have pinched the only mugs in the place and used a few of my things that I hadn’t started to pack. It all felt like already it wasn’t my house!
With the terrible weather and the stress I’d been under I caught a cold that is actually still not completely gone (3 weeks now). I shouldn’t complain though as I heard about the problems in one of our communities (and I am sure in others too). With the heavy snow fall – up to their waist in the high altitudes – the animals were dying in large numbers. In one community lower than ours they had lost 50% of their llamas so we suspect the tragedy will be much worse higher up. The roads are impassable so there is no way of checking. I am sure we will find out soon.
I have now brought you up-to-date. I am back with Living Heart on Friday. By that time Sonia should be back in her house and hopefully some normality will resume.
The next blog will be rafting and hopefully some more pics for you all.