Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Last Leg

Got a call from the Unknown this morning (Tuesday). Literally, that's what it said on my caller id: "Unknown". Very mysterious, though I had a feeling it was originating from somewhere in Bolivia. Sure enough, Katie had hijacked a greenhouse in the heat-like phone booth to check in. Was she safe and sound? Yes. Was she well rested? Sort of; between new surroundings, a racing head, and the hotel television in the background, she didn't get much sleep.

She did meet up with Dorinda, the doctoral-getting, China, Paris, Montana, Bolivia-living guide of guides who is showing Katie the ropes, as it were. It sounds like she's done more in her life than most people could even hope to do. She currently resides in Independencia and will be working with Katie during her stay.

She said the food had been good; cafe con leche (espresso with steamed milk) and bread baked with cheese for breakfast. Lunch yesterday was a vegetarian melange of various.... vegetables, I guess. Plus fava beans, she did mention fava beans.

The forecast looks to be pretty predictable (and warm). A far cry from the snowstorm brewing maliciously outside my window, but a welcome change I'm sure.


It's now Thursday, sorry for the delay. Spoke briefly with Katie just a moment ago and she is safely in Independencia. The dreaded bus ride was largely as anticipated; hairpin turns through the Andes Mountains, etc, with one rather harrowing twist like a cherry on top. Apparently, as they were crossing through a pass, the earth above (and ahead) of them let loose, disgorging a mass of dirt and rock that rumbled down the mountainside and across the road ahead. The landslide caused a rather lengthy delay, until a bulldozer could be brought into service and clear a path through the rubble. During the wait, as passengers caught some fresh air outside the bus, another smaller slide sent rock shards and other debris in their direction, as they quickly raced across the road to avoid the collapse.

Now, however, things have taken a more leisurely pace, and Katie has settled into her room at the local hostel. For the kingly sum of $15 a night, she is guaranteed a private bathroom, a real luxury in itself. She said that outside her room there are peach trees, and all that surrounds is green and lush. She and Dorinda made a peach crisp for dessert last evening, in fact, direct from the trees out back. She hopes to have internet access via the local school intermittently, so anyone reading that would like to send her a message are encouraged to say hello.

Now she will be getting down to business, teaching the local women (and men, I guess if they're interested) in weaving and spinning on a wheel (I mean like spinning yarn on a wheel, not like a weird game show or anything). Also, dying textiles using natural dyes, and whole host of other textile related 'things' that I don't have the vaguest idea how to do or explain.

She wishes everyone could see what's she's seeing, but alas, we'll have to wait for the pictures...

(No word on if she'll bring us back stylish hats.)

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