Journal entry, June sixth.
I’m on the peninsula that jets out into Lake Titicaca, right smack in the middle of the Titicaca National Reserve. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision. As I was leaving the hostel I stayed at last night, the sweet mama of a women owner suggested I make a visit to the peninsula. I didn’t think too much of it.
There was a steep, steep climb out of Puno, and as quickly as a smile crossed my face at reaching the summit, seeing the climb end and turning the corner, I didn’t see it coming! The wind slapped my smile right off my face.
Today I’ve thought a lot about the wind. It has a personality the other elements just don’t have. You can anthropomorphize this $h*t out of it.
It can be hateful and vengeful and wicked! Right in my face! Not only strong and cold but full of dirt and gravel. And tricky! I was riding at an angle at one point today; the wind was coming from the left, I was angling and riding into it. And I can almost hear her laugh! Because its not a constant wind, she’s like that bully at school who makes you push and push and then suddenly let’s go. And you fall with your face in the mud. But this bully, this wind of mine, is dangerous. Biking into the wind, pushing into it, when she suddenly let’s go, I found myself biking right into the highway. And today’s road was full of buses and taxis and motocarts and all sorts of honking and beeping things.
So I found myself biking tense, and slow, for several hours.
When I got to the turn off to the peninsula, I looked at the map. I functionally cut out the rest of the highway, until my next stop, by turning off. Good bye ruta!
I then found myself accompanied by my best friend, Wind, as soon as I made that decision. The road was not only flat, but the wind was suddenly to my back! She pushed me along. I put on music and we sang along together, the sound of the rattling wheat, high and golden, Wind and I.
At one point, there was a decent little climb ahead. I kid you not, the wind picked up and pushed me up. It was great!
Wind has so many personalities.
Right now, at this moment? She is pissed. She’s pissed at something, and one of them is that I found a place to hide from her. I’m in a church, near the end of the peninsula. A beautiful old church, more than a hundred years old, with remnants of its original name sake in front. The last remaining tower, said to be five hundred years old, stands in front to remind you of where we come from, and where we all will go. From the earth and back again.
I had really wanted to camp ON the lake, but as the sun was setting the wind picked up and there was no way that was going to happen. I saw the church in the distance and road right up to the mud/adobe compound to the side of it. I clapped and yelled “Permiso!” until a little ol’ lady hobbled out of a different door. The houses are like little compounds, with walls on four sides of little enclosed areas. I’m sure Wind has been part of the rational for that set up.
I pointed at my bike and asked if I could set up my tent along the wall of the church. She kindly replied in a stream of Quechua. I smiled and laughed and got nothing. She asked me if I spoke any Quechua, which I only understood because I heard her say “Español”, and said no! We continued chatting, as if that was going to stop us. She suggested I stay in the church and not outside of it and pointed out a neighbor that had the key.
A really nice guy, he hung out until I had the tent up, in the church, and gave me the key if I wanted to walk around and lock everything up.
Nope! By the time the tent was up, the wind was stronger also. She is now at full tilt, rattling the metal door and pushing past the little glass windows. I said a quick prayer to the Santisima Trinidad, the saint of the church, crawled into my tent, and had my dinner. Left over stew from lunch, bread and cow cheese. Which I say because the lady who sold it to me laughed when I asked if it was goat. Goat?! Who eats goat cheese?! Ah… if she only knew what she was missing. But there are no goats around these parts.
I’m now in the church, in my tent, curled up in my sleeping bag and wearing most of my clothes. I take back all of those moments when I begrudgingly packed up my heavy bag and my unused winter items. They’re all being used now.
Good night Wind.
**Side note: the pictures do not directly match the blog because, well, my camera/phone has stopped working. Let’s see what Cusco has in store for me!**