Tales from Jujuy - Part III

Written by Michael Curcio
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There was a pretty rainbow around the sun. Alright, now it's time to walk back. In the ensuing trek back, which was actually pretty long, I finished my water and started to feel pretty darn exhausted and light headed. Almost there, but there's water, so I drank me some. The risk of heat-exhaustion and dehydration, trumping the possibility of getting sick in a day. So keep walking in the now blazing sun, see the ranch hand with a friend and ask if I can pass. “Si, chow fuerte” he replies, through a creek and to my camp site, yay, food and potable water, I think as I sit me down for a well deserved rest. But the sun is hot, and I have gotten sick of my food and I just want to get back. The only problem is you have to walk at least to that road over there and hope you can hitchhike. So with that plan, I walk and walk and walk, surprised that I can still walk. And now there is a storm, two to be exact, one ahead and one behind. Well hopefully the clouds will blot out the sun a bit and I can sleep.

Well, after laying in my wind swept tent for awhile, I figure, in the wonderful logic of one who is exhausted, that I should just keep walking. So I walk, the storm in front of me having gone far enough away and if I keep walking that one behind me won't catch up. Then there is a lake with Flamingos and ducks, huh that's something I was not particularly expecting, but I had seen the lake from the mountain and figured I was getting close Just keep on walk, through the desert, which had stopped becoming pretty and has become a place that needs to be escaped. Up and down some valleys and then, yes, oh my god, I can see the power lines of the road, way far away over there, although it could just be a mirage. But another half hour and I am nearly there, just one more river to cross. Hello birdies, I made it to the road, took off my pack and determined to never put it on again. I think I started singing, half-happy and half-delirious. Now I just need a car to come. Which one did, eventually, and drove me back to La Quiaca in about ten to fifteen minutes, a trek that would have taken me three to four hours and inexorably exhausted me. I thanked them profusely, and walked the final few blocks back to the comedor.

Fortunately, Anita was there and gave me warm food and a warm shower and then sent me to sleep for about fourteen hours. How exciting. So looking back, it was kinda really stupid. I had had enough food and water but had not counted on how exhausted I would be and how inescapable the sun is out in the desert. But, there were houses around and worst case scenario I could have asked for help. Ah well, now I know not to wander around in an unfamiliar desert by myself. Still, I can still walk out the door and say that I made it to the top of the mountain. Alright, done for now, it certainly is a long post. Hope life is good in whatever country you happen to be in. Tally-hoo.

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