- 26 Oct 07, 12:02 PM
Posted from:The Source
Last time I blogged Almu and I were on our way to an Alpaca Shaving competition. The competition was in the beautiful and very rundown town of Ran Ran. Many people were dressed in traditional Andean outfits, and there were obviously a lot of alpacas around. The shaving competition was saved until the end of the day, and despite chewing lots of coca to combat the altitude we both felt less than good. Almu was soon dressed in traditional clothes and, not wanting me to be left out, someone soon found a spare poncho and hat for me to put on.
A traditional dance in the Ran Ran festival
Feeling the part we struggled around panting for breath, trying to understand the rules used to judge the alpaca in the various competitions - best wool, nicest eyes, best colour - we were also asked to give out a couple of prizes.
Alpaca judging competition
Almu was introduced as Bruce Parry, and despite feeling fairly sick I think that she pulled it off quite well. Eventually, because she was clearly suffering, we had to excuse ourselves before the big finale but not before Almu, dressed as a Quechuan woman pretending to be Bruce, was dragged from her seat to take part in an energetic dance. Drained of all colour we helped her to the car and drove back down to the hotel to recover.
After one more day of preparation we left the comfort of the Colca Inn at 4am and headed for the source of the Amazon at 5200metres on Nevado Mismi. Nevado implies that there is always snow or ice on the top of a mountain - unfortunately that's no longer true of the side of Mismi we finally got to although local people informed us that it always used to be capped with ice.
Getting to the source itself was well worth the struggle with kit for the last mile or so. I think we all found it quite overwhelming - a combination of finally starting filming, lack of sleep and oxygen, and sheer amazement. Water sprayed forcefully from a fissure in the rock.
The Amazon team arrive at the source
Bruce found his way there first and we followed as quickly as we could afterwards. Filming went well but was slower than we had hoped, and we determined to come again the next day to get some crucial shots before Bruce headed off on the proper start of his journey.