October 2, 2005
After we got of the bus, a tout lead (a guy who tries to get you to go to his hostel) Morad and I to his guest house in Huaraz. It turned out to be a nice, cozy, quiet place owned by the guy's family. We got our own room with a private bathroom for only a little more than $3 per night. I'm liking this place already.
After watching the sunrise from the guest house, I immediately went to my room and crashed for a few hours. Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well on the bus.
As I was walking around, I noticed two women dressed in traditional native costumes with alpacas. I gave them half a sol (16 cents) each, and they let me pose with the alpacas. While getting ready for the picture, I made a big mistake. I didn't know this at the time, but apparently alpacas don't like to be bossed around. As I attempted to move the taller one into position, he turned his head toward me. I still didn't think anything was out of the ordinary until I heard a familiar "hocking" sound. Next thing I knew, my face was covered in alpaca phlegm. While everyone around the plaza had a good laugh at the gringo who just got spat on, I shook it off and still managed to eek out a smile for the picture. Next time I'll try to be more careful.
After dooming myself to smelling like alpaca spit for the rest of the day, I walked through the town, including a fascinating market. I would have loved to have taken hundreds of pictures of all of the food and natives in their Quechua garb, but I was told that it would be very disrespectful to do so. Just trust me, it was a great experience.
I'll probably spend a day or two acclimatizing to the altitude (which really just means being lazy) in Huaraz before going trekking in the surrounding mountains. We are going to try to meet up with Tom and Henry, the Brits we were hanging out with in Lima, and hire a guide. Going in a group of four or so is probably the best happy medium. We will be able to split the cost of a guide, yet we won't be in a huge group, which I think would take away from the experience.