Day two in Colca Canyon. Whereas yesterday consisted of a short day with a lot of descent into the canyon, then a 400m ascent to the village we slept in, today was much flatter but longer. A 23km hike with almost 3 days worth of supplies ended up being tougher than expected. We were guided by a local dog (which we named Colca) from Fure-Malata-San Juan where we were treated to well-deserved showers and food. Shoes stayed well outside the room.
Accom: Gloria, Colca
Colca, the second deepest canyon in the world. I'm not sure what the definition of a canyon is, but it's not as spectacular as I expect the Grand Canyon to be (despite that being considerably less deep); it's more like a very deep valley. Still, the views were spectacular and the trails were nice (and quiet!) In fact, we only saw 4 people on the trails all day. Considering the canyon is the must-do thing in (or rather a 6-hour bus from) Arequipa, we were impressed. With a 3am start and a 6.5 hour walk behind us, we found ourselves in a small village at the top of a valley where we were fed and given a mud hut to sleep in.
Accom: Mud hut, Fure
"You either learn to swim, or you drown." - My Dad // Bukit Merah Kampong, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
This is next to where my mum grew up, in the same kampong that my dad was from. This was where my dad learnt to swim, and apparently my brother too. It looks so still, but it's claimed the lives of many, way before fences were put up. It's next to where I "grew up", spending every holiday in a single storey house, sleeping next to cousins, not understanding a single word they said. I grew up a lonely child, too annoying for my siblings, too needy to have friends, with only adults remarking how cute or pretty I looked (yes I know something went wrong as I grew up), not doing well in anything in life. It's a place we don't go to anymore. It was sold after my maternal grandfather passed, a man that I remember to be distant but doting, who gave me my first lotus seeds to taste and generous angpaos for his daughter's children who were living so far away. I remember my maternal grandmother to be a strong, loud, happy and smiley grandmother, not the oblivious and senile shell that cannot recognise or remember me today. I was not close to them - I was not really close to anyone. But I remembered the village to be dark and dingy and grey and brown, the colours of dirt roads and dust - and as an adult, I cursed myself for not noticing the beauty that it had. Perhaps beauty is only something that we can appreciate when it is temporary or it has passed. My dad always emphasised on work ethics, something I wasn't good at - I never studied hard or practiced hard at something. I didn't have the focus. But at 34 years old, that statement above he made regarding this pool when we went back a few years ago to show my brother's kids to my grandmother now clicks - literally, and also at work, in relationships, in life. It's 400 feet deep. You fall. You swim, or you drown.