Day two started with breakfast at the very civilised hour of 8.30. Afterwards our guide talked us through the crops that are farmed in the area. I don’t think I’ve mentioned coca before. It’s the raw material for cocaine and the leaves grow everywhere in Peru and Bolivia! You can buy bags of them in shops all over the place and most hostel have free coca tea. The locals swear by it for combating altitude sickness and apparently the leaves contain way more calcium than milk. They’re also used as an appetite suppressant so people can work longer and have natural anaesthetic properties. The leaves are legal here but the farmers have to sell them to the government. Apparently a major narcotrafficing centre was recently closed down a couple of hours away from our hostel. It took the army and helicopters months to find it because the jungle is so dense!
Anyway, it was interesting chat. Our guide also painted our faces. Its a natural die made from mashing up the seeds of a plant. It took a long time to get it off my face! I was walking around looking orange for a day.
Afterwards we headed off for 7 hours of trekking. After the first 20 minutes up hill it wasn’t too strenuous. We’d walk for half an hour then stop for 10 minutes and so on.
Lunch sucked. I said I was vegetarian so that I didn’t have to eat any nasty meat and end up with 3 tiny roast potatoes and a load of fried veg. The others didn’t get a lot more but at least had chicken!
After lunch we had an hour to sleep in the hammocks at the restaurant. I felt about a thousand times worse when I woke up but managed to get going.
The next challenge was crossing the giant river in a tiny cable car. It was crazy, it’s just a basket with 6 inch high sides that a man pulls across the river.
I had to travel with another person and hang my legs over the front. I was petrified but the local rode it standing up!
After that we had a couple more hours walking to some hot springs where we swam for an hour or so. They were very warm. So warm in fact that we decided that they couldn’t be natural!
Afterwards it was a short but pretty tough hike to our hotel for the night (we could have taken a collectivo for about £1. I would do this next time, the last 15 minutes is a killer uphill!)
We got to watch some of the Oscars at dinner then went to sleep at about 9.30! The beds in the places we stayed were always super comfortable so I blame them for my complete inability to stay awake!
The decoration in our restaurant was very festive. I loved it! They also have me something like halloumi and plantains for dinner so I loved them even more.