Back To Huaraz July 4th - July 5th
I'd been pleasantly surprised by the calmness of our ride up to Vallunaraju and had assumed the guy working for Chris might be calmer than the ones we had encountered in Lima.  I was very wrong.  Apparently he was slow because taking a 2WD Toyota station wagon up a potentially 4WD road just slows you down.

On the way back however he was nuts and it was here, while looking at his eyes in the rearview mirror, that I nicknamed him 'the lazy eyed psycho'. Since I was still pretty violently ill from altitude this made for an interesting ride.  To get down the road the driver basically floored the gas pedal and would only slightly brake on turns.  He would accompany the braking by loud honking just in case someone/thing was in his way.  At one point a flock of sheep was being herded down the road and he simply drove through them honking.  A bit farther down the road he ran an old man, walking with TWO canes off the road, then proceeded to run several women and small children into houses and jumping into ditches.  At one point he skidded to a halt, with a tire touching a dog, only because Jaime asked him not to kill it as it belonged to his friend.  I can only describe myself as feeling vastly relieved when we were back at Cafe Andino.

Taxi Driver Herding Sheep

Once back at Andino Jaime headed off (he wasn't going to meet us again until after Pisco) and we met up with Chris and told him we wanted to postpone leaving for Pisco until Thursday morning.  I felt that I needed an additional recovery day as even dropping back to lower elevation hadn't made me feel much better.  As it would turn out I had caught a fever and intestinal bug that I still had even when  I wrote this report two weeks later.  Chris was quite flexible and we arranged to stay at the Hostel Paris for another night while Chris set about procuring a tent for the guide and porter to use as well as resupplying our fuel.  

I had been a bit dissapointed by not meeting up with Enrique earlier in the week so we headed to Monte Rosa to see if we could try again.  Enrique was quite amiable and told us he would meet us at 2:00 the next day to show us his house.  After a bit to eat at Patricks followed by a drink or two at Monte Rosa we turned in.

The next morning we did a bit of shopping and headed out to have some lunch and get Brian his Ceviche (lime soaked fish, shrimp, and tentacles).  After lunch we headed over to Monte Rosa where Enrique picked us up.

Lunch In Huaraz

Many Pictures From Our Trip To Enrique's (The Owner Of Monta Rosa) House

Now the whole trip had felt pretty surreal to me.  The high peaks, the markets, the restaurants, the rooster waking me up every morning but somehow having a conversation with a guy when I didn't speak Spanish and ending up at his beautiful house just to look at his parrots, and all thousands of miles from home, seemed the most surreal.

To say Enrique had a beautiful house would be an understatement.  He owned two Blue and Gold Macaws, a Scarlet Macaw, around five amazons, several finches, and a turtle.  One Blue and Gold and the Scarlet were pair bonded and the other Blue and Gold was a juvenile.  One of the amazons could sing 'Happy Birthday' in English, and the group of birds just hung out in his gardens making any number of silly noises.  

His yard was filled with a pond, flowers, and gorgeous landscaping and had a view of The Huscarans and Chopicalqui.  The inside of his house (which was newly built to his design just two years ago) was entirely laid out in beautiful timber and he had a collection of hundreds to thousands of year old Incan artifacts. The whole place was idyllic and it was a pleasure to be able to see it.

After a beer, Enrique had to get us back to Huaraz so he could work.  Since he had been kind enough to show us his home we figured eating dinner at Monte Rosa would be in order.

Enrique's Yard

Enrique's View

A Couple Of Enrique's Birds 

Inside Enrique's House

Enrique's Scarlet Macaw

Myself and Enrique, with a baby Blue & Gold Macaw and Several Amazons

Enrique's Turtle

Apparently Enrique's wife is  quite a gardener, these were a couple pictures of particularly beautiful flowers they had in their yard.

A Rose

Another Rose

Once back in town Brian and I did a bit more shopping.  While I had already bought a ton of gifts for Jen I decided a few more could never hurt so I picked up a matching necklace and bracelet with turquoise stones, a matching necklace and bracelet with Cat's Eye stones, and a set of earings.  We then headed to Monte Rosa for dinner.  Brian had decided that his prusiks were the wrong diameter for the rope we were using and we tracked down the Casa de Guia shop so he could buy two Petzl Tieblock ascenders to replace his Texas Prusiks with.  We also restocked on a few things like bread, yogurt, and water.

I'd say Monte Rosa probably had the best food we ate in town and we spent a good while there eating and drinking before finally heading to bed. During the night I slept fitfully and coughed up blood several times.  As much as I tried to ignore my sickness it just kept getting worse.  When the morning came I even contemplated staying in Huaraz because I knew that going to altitude would only make my condition worse.  Chris assured me that I could catch a ride back Sunday when the driver was returning with Jaime for our Chopicalqui attempt and even gave me a roll of single sole coins with which he assured me I could barter my way back to Huaraz if I got very sick earlier. Since I had come so far I figured I needed to at least give the climb a shot.  

At this point Marco showed up and introduced himself. We left food and fuel with Chris for Jaime to bring in as a resupply Sunday and dropped our bag of gifts at his house for safekeeping.  After this it was off to Llaganuco Valley and a another terrifying cab ride.  I thought it was a particularly poignant moment when the driver handed Brian and I a news article describing three Americans who had just died in the mountains a couple days before. The most memorable part of the ride (before entering the national park) was picking up enough of the cab driver's conversation with Marco to get that he only stopped running over dogs because it made his wife cry.

More Shopping In Huaraz

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