August 17, 2007
A few days ago when I was satisfying my ceviche addiction at a street vendor, I had a nice conversation with two local girls named Hilda and Yuriko. They are students waiting for school to start in a week and offered to show me around town. I didn't have any energy for that yesterday, so I met up with them today.
Appropriately, the first place we walked to was the only part of the city not destroyed in the 1970 earthquake that killed 70,000 people in this region. The houses were all white with small balconies, and the street was cobblestoned and restricted to pedestrian traffic only. After walking only about two blocks, we were back to the rebuilt part of the city.
Next we walked to some ruins at the edge of Huaraz. The few stone buildings were nothing special, but there was a lady dressed in traditional folk dancing attire being interviewed by a couple of guys who said they were putting together a video. We all danced together on camera, so now maybe I'm going to be a famous dancing gringo.
Our next stop was to the fish hatchery. There were several tanks where thousands of trout were being raised from eggs to adults to be sold to the local restaurants. Hilda dug deep into the water to pull out some baby fish for me to see. She couldn't get her hands on any adults, but eventually she was kind enough to find a dead one for me to hold.
After the hatchery, we took a bus up one of the hills near Huaraz to Willkawain, another archaeological site. There was a big house with four-foot ceilings for us to walk around in and for me to bang my head on. There was also a museum with some artifacts from the Wari culture that used to exist here.
On the way back to Huaraz, we saw the simple lifestyle of the farmers living on the hills outside the city. They went about their business of herding alpacas and donkeys, and plowing fields by hand while we waited for the bus. One lady who was also waiting for the bus next to us was carrying a bucket containing a butchered pig to sell to any restaurant in town that would take it. She hadn't heard about the earthquake because she didn't have a radio or a television. The people living in those little towns are always friendly and interesting to talk to.
Hilda and Yuriko were very kind for showing me around their town. I really appreciated getting to know some of the places most tourists never get to see. The people around here are incredibly nice.
A guy responded to my ad to trek the Huayhuash Circuit, but he's going to do the Santa Cruz trek, which I did my first time in Huaraz, beforehand. We only got to meet briefly, but we'll have a day to plan the trek when he gets back from his trek. In the meantime, I'll try to do a shorter walk around here to get better acclimatized to the extremely high altitudes that I'll face in the Huayhuash.
The photo album for this entry is here.