Beatriz, Andrew & Melody at Chilli Heaven
Saturday was a relax day. I went to Café Andino and updated my blog while drinking the fabulous fresh roasted coffee (that was free as a perk for my South American Explorer’s Club membership). I chatted with the owner who like many ex-pats, came to Huaraz
, left, and then returned to live here. There is a certain pull to the mountains that is irresistible and it’s easy to see how many can come back, unable to stay away. He was a really nice guy and he asked me a bunch of questions about my laptop as he is in the market to buy one on Craig’s List and have one of his buddies deliver it personally. Some of the other foreigners we met who now live in Huaraz include the girlfriend of the owner of Zero Drama bar who is from Wisconson, the owner of Chilli Heaven, who is English, and the owner of California Café, a towering bearded hippie married to a petite Peruvian half his height, who obviously hails from the Golden state.
They are just a few of those that can’t resist the enchantment of the Cordillera Blanca. I plugged away at my blog and wrote some reviews and checked my many emails that had accumulated from the 4 day trek before heading home to eat some leftover curry from Chilli Heaven from the night before.
Later on I went back to the Peruvian Andes agency that had organized our trek with violin in tow and told them that I wanted to present it as a gift to Manuel. I wrote him a letter, asking him to keep in touch with me and to tell me about his music lessons, school, and all of that. I really felt an affection for that boy and I thought that the violin was a great gift for him. When we were in the mountains, his uncle asked how much the violin cost me and I unthinkingly said, "oh, very cheap! Only 320 soles (about $80)!" and then afterwards realized that it's an enormous sum for that poor mountain man.
Ben, John & Friend
Manuel also only had a beat up pair of slippers to walk around and climb in those cold mountain peaks and valleys. I'm sure they didn't even have enough money for a proper pair of shoes. So for me to present him with a violin was something that he wouldn't have ever been able to afford and it seemed like so little for me to do, and that would give him a lot of happiness in making music and having that as part of his life. So the agency assured me that they will have him write to me and keep in touch. They said other have left gifts for guides and people in the mountains so that they've done it before. I really liked the people at the agency and I trusted them that they would deliver it.
After that I walked over to Chilli heaven to see Melody and her mom, Beatriz and see if they needed help.
It was very slow, slow enough that Beatriz could sit down to talk to me for awhile and Melody too. I had a scrumptious beef burrito and a cold Cuzquena beer. Melody was sick and apologized that she couldn't go out, but I was tired too and it was ok just to talk. I loved the story of Beatriz, meeting her boyfriend who is an avid motorcyclist and traveling around South America with him. She has family in Canada, France and Greece and Melody will go to Montpelier in January to visit her uncle, stay and learn and work for awhile there. I promised to return to Huaraz and see them soon and we all took a picture together.
I didn't intend to go out, but back at the hostel Coqui and his friend were drinking some rum and cokes and talking about Italy. So I got my iPod and Sadhbh's speakers and played some songs that we sang along too. After awhile it wasn't hard for them to convince me to go out with them on my last night. The Tambo club was all the same though and as hard as tried to have a good time it just wasn't happening. Finally I just succumbed to common sense and went home to get some sleep as I was leaving for Trujillo the following morning.