John Mahar's Blog

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I´ve been in peru over a week, and developments are developing. By the time I leave, I´m sure lots of opportunities will be in place too late to take advantage of them.

I met a guy named Grahm, and he has been coming here for 12 years. He guides a trek through the Hauyhuash range. His clients are doctors and they do two free clinics in the pueblos on the backpacking curcuit. To start acclimating, we took a hike to Laguna 69, which sits right beneath Chacraraju, a mountain he wants to climb after his trek.

First thing was getting a cab. We negotiated a fare with Cesar and he did a good job. Or I did a bad job, both, I guess. For about 5 hours or so (total) in the taxi, we paid around 70 dollars. And he waited for us at the trailhead.

We started out, and Grahm told me about an awesome water purifier. It works with UV rays to destroy any bacteria and/or creature that may be in the water. It doesn´t kill them, apparently, it alters or destroys their DNA so that they cannot bother your intestines. Wow, cool. He also brought a multi-plug adapter for some unknown reason. We passed everyone, pretty much. About 3 people got there ahead of us, and who knows when they started. One of the guys we passed was a deaf Israeli. He was sitting on the ground, Lenny Kravitz sunglasses on his face, tongue out like he was about to pass out. As if there wouldn´t have been language barrier enough (I only know how to say hello and 'I am a beatle'in Hebrew), he couldn´t hear what I said anyway. He typed me a text message on his cell phone in Hebrew. I couldn´t read it. So we tried some sign language. I was under the impression that his head hurt, so I indicated he drink more water. He indicated he didn´t have any. We offered water, he seemed to indicate he had already drank a whole bottle. Apparently he thought that was enough. I indicated he should go down. Neither of us really probably understood the other. Oh well.

This was my first hike here, and my head hurt a bit too when we got to the lake. It was blue blue blue. See photos at my picasa site (See previous blog for link). Wow, everybody (eventually about 25 or so people arrived) was very impressed. The climb up Chacraraju looked quite straight forward to me, unexperienced with snow and ice climbing. I´m sure it isn´t.

So, it was cool. Cesar was there waiting when we got down, and he flew down the dirt roads like a bat out of hell. When we saw the little bus in the ditch on the side of the road he slowed down for a bit. Once we were on pavement again he was doing 140km/hour. This on a 2-lane road in the mountains. I slept in order to stop having to deal with the terror. I awoke to the taxi stopped on the side of the road. Cesar was not in the car--Grahm said he got pulled over. A very friendly smiling police woman poked her head in the window. ¨Where did you come from today?¨ ¨What time did you leave?¨ "Did you see the Llanganuco Lakes? They´re very pretty, don´t you think?" Confusion reigns here. When Cesar got back in the car, he told us that she had asked him for money. "But I didn´t give her any," he said proudly.
"Muy bien," I told him. That was actually the second time he had been pulled over. Que mala suerte.


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