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In Lima,Peru, before heading out I booked a cool sounding hostal, Monkey Wasi. The climbing wall out in the back patio area sold me plus the chill looking atmosphere seemed good; not your typical chain run backpacker place.

The Lima, Oltursa bus terminal was packed  but I found a seat and waited for them to call for boarding of my bus. Several backpackers were among the masses but some were in pairs and some seemed to be either tired, in their own minds, not wanting company or a combination of all of the above. I saw this tall brunette girl with messy hair walk in. she seemed like an interesting person but felt weird just walking up to her so I let it be. when they called for my bus i got on and took a seat.

I woke up freezing the following morning around 7am, collected my things and got off of the bus, shoving my way past the vulture like cab drivers and walked up hill without direction. eventually making it to my hostal. after repeated banging on the door two surprised backpackers heading the opposite direction let me in.

Afraid to make too much noise I just left my things on the patio and hung out in the hammock for a while  instead of heading into my dorm room. As I was eating oatmeal a kid offered me the girl from the bus station wandered in. We introduced ourselves. It turns out Belen is Spanish and lives near Barcelona and works as a snowboard instructor though she was an elementary school teacher before. when she said she didnt really have a plan I told her about Hatun Machay, the place in the mountains where I was going climbing and encouraged her to come along with me, though she didn’t need much convincing.

Her and I along with some others from the hostal headed out to a village beside Huaraz for the last day of some festival for Andinismo or the equivalent of mountain sports. There was a Cross country mountain biking race and some down hill bike jump contest too. IMG_0052 (640x417)

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I think the leader was lapping people. it was nice to see some normal people competing too in their normal clothes and normal mountain bikes but they didn’t stand a chance against this guy.

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I couldnt really figure out the event. it was a mix of a two person sprint downhill, over two jumps. i was told they were judged on their time down the hill, who won the race and their style over the jumps. when we were in the combi mini van on the way to the town we were transporting on of the competitors. He was so nervous but Belen talked with him and tried to distract his mind. I don’t think he won but he did better than the other guy who was almost carried off in a stretcher and the other one who missed the ramp and slid into a  barbed wire fence.

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Belen and i were sort of anxious to get back to Huaraz to talk with the travel agent about reserving our trip to Hatun Machay plus we wanted to watch Spain play against Brazil but we ended up staying and listening to some live music at the festival. we mentioned to some guy we met and he said no problem just a minute and went and got the owner or manager of climber land the travel agency we were going to go to. He happened to be at the event too so we just told him there at the event and he said no problem we could reserve later that night.

On the bus back to Huaraz there was a very friendly drunk guy who just wanted to keep shaking my hand and asking if Belen was my girlfriend and said why not she is beautiful and going on and on. Then he was talking about how he was in an Andean Music band and traveled to japan and the US back in teh 70s or 80s.

When we got back we confirmed our reservation and watched part of the Soccer game up til when Spain was being destroyed 3-0 so we headed out to grocery shop. the lodge where we were going to stay was in the mountains with no stores anywhere nearbye we had to bring all of our food for 3 days. packed our bags and headed to sleep.