August 12, 2012
Today we saw VICUNAs!!!!! My ungulate triumvirate is complete! Llamas and alpacas are pack livestock native to Peru and derived from the wild – and still present – vicuna. Our driver Raul said we would see them and we did!
Our field site sandwiches a colonial complex of ore processing and livestock and living areas, all built hundreds of years ago. I’ll be looking for sponges then think, Oh, Damn, this is man-made! And find myself walking on a wall hundreds of years old. I mean, to me, that’s not much time. But my dad will be impressed. See the group photo in the last post.
Our driver is from this little mountain town that has the only hotels and his grandparents still live here. Seriously – he saw them on the road tonight when we arrived in town and he stopped to chat a moment. They live in the Andeanas – the terraced slopes of the high plateau where the Incas developed agriculture. When the Spanish asked about the mountains, and pointed, the locals answered, “Andeanas”. They grow a ton of flowers to send to Lima, but they’re also used for an annual Easter festival here in town. Raul told us all about it. Now that he knows we enjoy cultural information, and that my Spanish is improving so I understand more – he’s been very informative.
Other fun things right near our rocks – cows at pasture across the river, sheep together with their human shepherds and sheep dogs – real sheep dogs! Most dogs are mutts here. And people gathering grains. Raul explained but I understood nothing until he said, “cervesa”. Ahah! Hops!