Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 23 - Relaxation is Divine

The four layers of wool blankets kept me warm enough through the night. I woke up refeshed, and looked out my window to see a breathtaking lake wish me "good morning".

At 10 am, we went for a boat ride. It was a sailboat, a tiny blue thing that still smelled of fresh paint. Maolo, our boat driver, rowed the sailboat. The air was windless so the sail wouldn´t have worked. For the next two hours, Nikhil and I were insignificant creatures in the face of a magnificent tranquility. Maolo´s wooden oar creaked rhythmically as it galloshed gently in the smooth water. Slowly, we left the sunlit fields of Llachon behind, the donkeys´ braying becoming a quiet echo. White seagulls swooped toward us and glided away just as gracefully. We moved toward the snow-capped mountains of bordering Bolivia, surrounded by a silkly sea of rippling silver. Each little crest caught a ray of sun, bouncing it back instantly and creating a play of light in which hundreds of specks glistened like diamonds. We floated toward nets set up to catch fish; the familiar scent of pescado didn´t take long to find my nose. Two men worked busily, filtering small trucha into a larger net. A rosy-cheeked boy in a woolen hat half-heartedly watched them, his focus being the yellow toy in his chubby hands. On our way back, Maolo put up the sail, and we drifted back so comfortably I thought I would fall asleep. I didn´t want ot miss a single moment of this meditative experience, so I resisted the urge. It wasn´t until I read a few George Orwell essays in the sun for an hour that I took the much awaited nap.

Evening was much chillier than the afternoon had been. We sat in the cafeteria an hour before dinner, enjoying a cup of mate de coca. Nikhil was doing a lot better, I could tell by how he was speaking. Valentin stopped by to chat, and the conversation soon turned political. He was a big supporter of Fujimori, as the weaver in Huahlvas had been. "A dictatorship is better. Democracy is corrupt." That was a shocker. If a dictator gave my town an ambulance, hospitals, and schools maybe I´d support one too. This viewpoint was world´s apart from those I remembered hearing in Lima from Mayra and Manuel. They supported Alan Garcia, the current president. They despised the Bolivian leader, Evo Morales, because of his friendship with the Venezuelan Hugo Chavez. Why did the middle class in Lima think so differently? "They are afraid all of Latin America will have indigenous leaders in the next few years." Valentin had all the answers.

We ended the day with a walk on the moonlit beach. Tomorrow we head to Puno, from where we´ll take a bus back to Cusco. These two days have been a vacation within a vacation. I´ve eaten, slept, and eaten some more. It would be nice to come back here some day. I´ll look for the red roof.

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