Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Retreat from Cancha Cancha

7:30 am, heading down - sad sigh!
As it was - my stay in Upper Cancha Cancha didn't last long .... only just under 24 hrs - I loved being there, I was amazed that I had made it there and I sat and wove with Juana and her daughter many hours on the day I arrived. The pattern was not exactly easy peacy pumpkin pie, it did make my brain curl and twirl but once again I had a most patient teacher sitting right next to me keeping an eye on my hands and the finger manipulation of warp threads up and down mostly not in the right sequence. Supper was eaten in the kitchen house as the dark had fallen outside. Two of Juana's daughters had come to join us, one had herded sheep all day and the other had been out with the alpacas and the llamas.
The little red dot at the bottom is the roof of the school
 I was taken to my sleeping quarters (the door in the photo above where you can see the tail of a hen) and tucked in well and thoroughly, I was warm and comfortable in the storage house, surrounded by skins and hats for special occasions, supplies .... it was lovely. And I was in my sleeping bag under lots and lots of warm blankets and covers.  I woke in the middle of the night with a funny tingling in my upper lip and I realized that.... my face was beginning to swell again - that is, it was only my lip at this point - I got up in the dark with my headlamp guiding me to antihistamines and cortizone cream and then.... I had a long discussion with myself - would it be enough eat antihistamines and to wear hat and sunscreen to prevent another swollen face or.... what was the likelihood and .... how would it be if I had to walk all the way down the mountain with the swollen face! It was hard to decide, I knew that there was a special dinner planned for me with alpaca meat the next evening but.... in the end I took a deep breath, made a decision and rolled over to sleep until it was time to get up and ask to be taken back down the mountain again ASAP before the sun got too high in the sky.

 After breakfast we headed down - this time my back pack was packed in Juana's carrying cloth and although she is 5 years my senior and she gave birth to many more kids than me .... well, she was much more of a mountain goat than me. She was moving at a good clip, for she wanted to get me down and out of the sun before the day was very old. I took a few photos on the way down, with sadness, I would have loved to have stayed - perhaps next time I will bring a sunscreen which is more than 45 or a hat with a bigger brim. For make no mistake I am planning and scheming on a 'next time' only when next time comes... I will also bring my husband who would love and thrive to go and experience the magnificence of the Andes and their people.
Juana with my backpack wrapped in her carrying cloth. 

About half way down we met a pre-teen girl out with her sheep for the day, stopped for a brief chat with her and then it was again onwards and downwards!
I made it all the way to my house in a little less than 5 hours and that included bus and taxi ride - going down is definitely faster, although, my legs and hips were some sore for quite a few days after.

It was a privilege to be allowed to share a minute detail of the life of a 'mountain dweller'  - Thank you for welcoming me, Juana, Dorothea, Alejandro and Jose!

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