27 October 2012

Day 7 - It's About The People

We awoke today to brilliant sunshine that felt like it was warming you from the inside out! Just like the past few mornings, the local women and children had set up a mini market just outside our tents. Selling everything from gloves and hats to bottled water, they have been our first point of contact in getting to know the people of Peru's ancient highlands.

It has been a fantastic experience sharing smiles (and sweets) with kids, a few passing words in the local Quechua language with the moms and dads, and a laugh here and there with our guides and incredible support team.

If anything, this human element has definitely made the intense trekking just that little bit easier. Today we trekked for eight and a half hours, starting with a major ascent to over 4,500 meters at the peak of the mountain pass. The higher we went, the brilliant sunshine and the heat that came with it slowly became biting winds before turning into, yet again, heavy rain.

For good reason, spirits were high today. We are just two days from Machu Picchu, the crowning achievement of our epic trekking effort. In addition, that "family" feel has started to emerge. As I write, the sounds of laughter a billowing from the mess tent as the team take each other on in a rousing game of UNO.

Today we offered stones to the Inca gods for safe passage to our next top, building a pebble tower at the top of the pass. We referenced what are now countless inside jokes, poking fun at each other in ways that only family and close friends can. Above all else, we gave each other nicknames, perhaps the greatest notion of "mateship" in Australian culture. We have:

Matt - GI Joe/Commando

Abel - Aarki

Nick - Doc, from Back to the Future

Rory - Roro

Nikki - Cafe con Leche

Lizzy - Sultana

L.J. - Barbie

Emma - Moving Forward

Naomi - No Money

Emma - Lovely

Shazza - Mamasita

Geraldine - G Money

Kyle - Kiki

It's dinner time yet again, which means we are two sleeps away from Machu Picchu! Where are we sleeping tonight? Oh, just in the shadows of Incan Ruins. No big deal

Go team!

P.S. Stack of the day goes to Geraldine, who somehow managed to collapse her chair at lunch in slow motion, slowly sliding lower and lower until she was flat on the ground. It almost defied gravity. Well done G-Money!



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