Monday, December 17, 2012

day 558: it's the end of the year, now what?


So anyway, it's December and just a few more days until 2012 culminates. It's only 4 days away from the world apparently sinking into darkness and there are tons of Peruvians pretty preocupados with that. Personally, I've been kind of swamped with work and a little too busy to even remember what day it is.

Still, here are some updates!
Last week, I made the pilgrimage to the city of Otuzco for the Virgen de la Puerta. It's a 2 day hike from Trujillo to Otuzco, but my friends and I decided to do just one day, starting in Shiran. When we initially asked Barry, a guy who runs a vegetarian restaurant in Huanchaco, how long he thought the hike might be, he gave us an estimate of roughly 14 hours. Uphill. All the way.

We raised our eyebrows, straightened out our shoulders, and agreed that we would walk the entire thing. And then we show up in Shiran, when another friend says her host sibling estimated it to be a 4 to 6 hour walk and that last year, they did it in 5.

Wait. What?

We figure, whatever it is, it is what it is, and begin walking from Shiran. A few hours later, it's sweltering hot and I'm reapplying sunblock every 30min to an hour. We take a nice break in a small town, refill on water and find there is ice cold gatorade for sale, eat a few of the snacks we packed, and continue.

Every time we stop, we're told that Otuzco is only 5 more hours away. But, I mean, 2 hours later, it's still 5 hours away. We finally make our way up dirt road, sometimes climbing rocks to help cut the journey a bit shorter, until we finally hit pavement! How much further away are we? 5 hours, say the locals.

There are cars and trucks and buses passing by, filled with people who didn't want to walk or decided that it was enough walking for the day and they just wanted to get there. Some people handed us rosaries, others passed us oranges, there was even one bus who threw out virgen de la puerta t-shirts (one I was not lucky enough to get, but ah well).

Eventually, we find ourselves in a place where the girls who live in Otuzco tell me is a recognizable marker and the people are now telling us it's 3 hours away. My knees are not taking this very well (recall, they are fairly damaged from trying to run that half marathon last July) but I keep trekking and by this point, all of us are quite starved and ready for some polla a la brasa once we get in.

It starts to get seriously chilly and the sweaters get donned as the mist rolls in and darkness begins to fall. Just as it gets really dark, we see the sign- Otuzco, just ahead! We make it in as the sun has fully set, grab some food, and make our way to one of the volunteer's house for some slumber party fun.

The siesta fiesta turns more into brownies before bed and we all immediately pass out...

We wake up the next morning, hurting but not as badly as you would think. The party in the street is going already and we decide to grab some cheese (delicious, sharp, queso suizo) and some delicious tangy yogurt from the cheese lady, a few pork sandwiches and this goat cheese tasting cow cheese sandwiches and sit in the plaza to nom.

The rest of the day involves walking around to look at all the cool stuff and enjoying the atmosphere before heading to the burrocross and watching children race donkeys. That was pretty interesting and such a sierra event, haha.

My friend and I eventually head back to Trujillo, grab some Pinkberry (new! so good! I love froyo!) before heading back to our respective sites.

It was a seriously good few days of rest, but now I'm back in site and the week is full of last minute december/2012 things before I can take a few days of vacation in Ecuador with friends.

I'm not really going to go on about work and stuff just yet, but things are going well. I have high hopes for my final few months in site, and I'm getting ready for the crazy that January will bring. I won't be coming back to Peru until the 5th of January, will be leaving for Lima to visit my host sister from training who'll be having a babyshower then, and the 19th is not only a regional meeting, but a world guiness record breaking down for most marinera dancers on the plaza! I might join. I need a partner, though... and learn how to dance marinera. It should be interesting.

Then there's Carnival for february and possible friends or family visiting. Before you know it, it'll be my last few months in site and I'll be trying to figure out how time went by so quickly.

Man, that's a strange thought. Time, huh? Freaky.

Well, that's all for now! Update you soon enough.

Peace and Love, y'all.

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