Day 364: Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon is where the condors roam. Unfortunately for us, I think we timed it all wrong. In the middle of winter in Peru, farmers are burning off excess brush to make more room for future farming. I don’t think the condors were keen on the smoke anymore than we were. Despite waking up early and being one of the first at the viewing platforms, the condors didn’t get close and it was a little bit hard to see what all of the fuss was about. We heard that condors flew over other viewers and were awestruck by how large these birds are… We simply didn’t have the same experience.

I entertained myself with the beautiful local women selling snacks, jewelry, blankets, and other crafts instead. That is, until one of my lenses stopped working. Now, keep in mind that I’ve already sent two lenses home that have stopped working for one reason or another. Momma actually sent one away for repair and was able to bring it with her to Peru. I should have been optimistic about the timing that she had brought an additional lens for me just in time for another one to go kaput. But I wasn’t. All I could think about was how expensive it was going to be to repair or replace this professional lens… and how badly I wanted to have it for Machu Picchu. I was crushed, to say the least. The irony of this third lens breaking on this trip was that I’m pretty sure it happened when the camera bag I had my mom bring – was dropped – with the lens in it. I tried to make do with the wider lens, or trying to manually adjust the zoom despite the sticking. Tears escaped my eyes throughout.

The worst part about being so crushed about something when you’re traveling is that there’s this very strong struggle inside of you willing you to let it go and enjoy where ever you may be at the time. When you have a bad day at home, you can kinda scrap the day, right?

I like the show, Suits, and got a kick out of Lewis saying “I need a day.” and leaving the office. You can’t do that when you’re traveling. You can take a nap, and then you have to brush yourself off and see what you want to see before you leave the next day.

Which is exactly what I did- or at least tried to do, and we all walked through town and towards another viewing area of Colca Canyon from just outside of Cabanaconde. On our way to the viewing, we saw some farmers using a telephone pole to help them put a yoke on some cattle. It looked a little dangerous and I thought it was wise of them to use the telephone pole and some ropes to keep them safe.

The view was vast. That little line snaking around the mountain on the opposite side, that’s a road. Would you want to travel on it? The city of Cabanaconde looked a lot bigger from this vantage point than it did when walking the small streets within. We walked past an arena on our way back and wondered if bullfights still go on today or if it’s a thing of the past.

When we got back in town, Momma went to a mass that was being held in the town’s church. She said there were only two other women at the service. Afterwards she had a nice conversation with the pastor of the church who held the mass.

“Oh did he speak English?” Andrew asked. Mom laughed.

“No.”

And then we might have laughed, imagining how the conversation sounded. To give you an idea, Mom’s favorite words in Spanish are “No necesito” and “hija” and “paRdon” pronounced en français. Granted, she probably knows more Spanish than I do (before we enroll in classes after she leaves) but it makes for some really entertaining conversations with the locals.

I had my Polaroid on me and was able to snap a picture of this little girl with her baby. She was the sweetest thing, and was quite unsure of what I was up to, until I handed her the picture. Once she got a good look at it, she was pretty excited and later asked me if I could take another. Unfortunately she might have been at school the next morning when we walked past again… and I didn’t see her to take another.

(where we slept)

(where we slept)