Tuesday, March 13, 2012
A Taxi Tour...
Last time Mum and Dad were in Ollantaytambo they hitched a ride with a bike tour bus up to Abra Malaga and got to enjoy the scenery while the cyclists rode down - they loved it and so we tried to organise the same trip when I was there. Unfortunately the bike tour didn't go ahead but the hostel we stayed at arranged a taxi to take us up and back again - yes a taxi....
For US$30 we had the taxi take us on a spectacular drive up to the Abra Malaga pass and back down again. Along the way he'd stop and tell us "good place for photo - vista!" which he did many times. For about a 3 hour round trip, US$30 was a good deal I reckon!
The scenery was spectacular (yes more spectacular scenery!)... At the top we are about 4400 metres above sea level so most of the landscape is tree-less, with snow at the top of many of the mountains. And scattered throughout the landscape were houses and huts and lean to's showing that people really do live up here - but many of these didn't have roads to them (why would you need a road if you don't have a car...)
But what was harder to see was the kids along the side of the road with their hand-out looking for food... These kids were little - one would have only been about 3 - and there were no parents in sight (they were probably further from the road tending to animals as there are no fences here). When Mum and Dad went up last time the tour operator took a big bag full of bread to handout, but we only had a few muesli bars and apples which were gratefully accepted by tiny hands but didn't extend far enough to all.... And whilst they stood with their hands out, they weren't in any way greedy or pushy - each child took the food but didn't open it - no doubt their instructions are to collect what they can and bring it home to share out.
This is Sunia - we think she would have been about 7 or 8...
And this is Giselda and Virginia. Virginia would be about 3 and Giselda is probably 5... They crossed the road to talk to us (Mum and I were very carefully watching the road for cars - although I'm sure they are more road savvy than most Australian kids their age) and told us their names.
It was quite an incredible experience to meet these children and very humbling to think that we'd spent $30 on a taxi when that would probably feed one of these families for a week... But I'm glad we did the trip and would do it again - next time with a big bag of bread!
at 11:39 PM