Infernal cold

Once the sun goes down Chivay is bloody cold. ‘Twould freeze the ass off a woolly mammoth (which I’m coming to resemble more and more each day). I guess when you’re almost 4km above sea level, there ain’t nothing but space left to keep you warm. It’s definitely the coldest I’ve been since I’ve last had to brave a wintry day in Berlin.

The old women (fast becoming a favourite subject) wear big thick blankets around their shoulders to fend off the cold. Tied around their necks, the blankets fly like capes behind them. Little superheroes trying to fight off the infernal cold. Infernal cold being the most contradictory of them all.

Despite having six or more blankets on the bed, it actually woke me up a few times during the night, body shaking but not grooving, teeth chattering without words. The cold or the smell of piss from the blankets; I’m not sure which it was, but I was presented with the cruel dilemma of huddling closer into the piss-scented blankets, or staying away from them and freezing my woolly mammoth ass off some more.

Earlier we found ourselves in an Irish pub, just to escape the chill. Yes, here in the middle of the Andes, surrounded by volcanoes, canyons and inaccessibility, M’elroys was able to offer a home from home. There really is no escape. I wasn’t complaining at the time however, being secretly delighted to find a warm comfortable den in which to escape the weather – just like home.

It really was a proper Irish pub. The cat, gas stove and wooden floors were all there. I even forgave the signed Dublin GAA jersey on the wall. The Guinness was expensive at S/.25, four times the price of any other beer, but the Pisco Caliente was a more sensible choice in any case. Hot pisco with cloves, cinnamon and lemon. Aahh! For a while I was happy it was so cold outside.

All the pictures of Chivay can be found here:


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