Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bus Strike = Hike

Luckily there was a bus strike yesterday (Wed. 7/14) in Lima. Basically the mayor of Lima is pushing for newer and fewer buses in Lima, and the smaller bus drivers are saying that she's trying to drum up foreign business from the countries that make buses, and put them out of business. So the drivers went on strike. With past strikes turning ugly, the Peace Corps was worried that it too could turn ugly, so they didn't allow us to leave our host communities or go near the Carratera Central (making it impossible to travel to the training site). So that meant I got to go hiking!

Richard, Adrian and I headed out around 8:00am, and just hiked up the dry river bed that leads through town, until we hit the trail to the hieroglyphics. This trail also sube (goes up to) various illegal gold mines. We started in the clouds, but made it to the sun half way up the mountain. By 9:00, we were well aware of the heat, and tried to stop only in the shade.

Adrian passing the hard to see hieroglyphics.

Richard showing the way.
As you can see, it wasn't easy to find shade, and I was drenched.

 At about 9:45am, we were passed by a miner with a portable radio and tennis shoes (without socks). It was obvious that those shoes have probably climbed the mountain at least 900 times (judging by their condition). Needless to say, I felt kinda like a dork wearing my nice hiking boots and comfy hiking socks. At 10:15am we reached the summit and met this 4 characters. The one in the blue shirt was the one that passed us. 

 As with almost every Peruvian I've met, they competed for being the friendliest people I could ever imagine. Not what I'd expect from a miner (I guess I'm too use to those form Butte, America and not from Grassy Valley or Yanacoto). Anyway, they allowed us to interrumpir (interrupt) them during their morning coffee and coca leaf (chewed for more energy and appetite suppression) to hacer preguntas (ask them questions). Basically they shared that: 1. if you climb higher (i.e. 8 hours more) there are trees and small ponds. 2. There are animals (foxes, snakes, tranchulas, condors, and some bunny rabbit-type thing) but they either are really rare or usually only come out at night. 3. The guy on the far left sleeps there every night to gaurd their stash or cash rocks (bags seen behind the tent). 5. This crew digs a trench, but others dig holes. 6. The pile of rocks seen behind them are what they taken out of their 3' (W), 12' (L), 10' (D) trench (also behind them). 7. Its better to subir mas (climb higher/more) to see more and return to Yanacoto via a different ridge... so we did and we were able to make it down by 1pm.

I took the following videos (however, need to clear up two points from video #2):

Mine Hike Video 1

Mine Hike Video 2

1. I've cleaned my lens due to the obvious dirt.

2. I mention Pachamama (mother earth). This is a big deal in the Sierras. Many people believe in making offerings to Pachamama in all kinds of different ways. The most common way I've seen is the offerings made by miners (coca leaves, ciggerettes, wine, and/or flowers) before they try their luck... the other way I heard of is in a drinking circle (which will be covered in a future post).