Here I find myself again. In between the massive mountains of the Andes. To think I was departing this place exactly 5 months ago is such a bizarre thought, so much has happened since then – it feels like years have passed. Although I must say, it does look quite different this time around. What I recall being flourished with lush bright-green foliage, is now tinged with brownish-green patches of dirt and dried grass. Don’t get me wrong, the visual difference in no way takes away from the magnitude, and the beauty of la montañas (the mountains).
The difference is understandable considering the change of seasons; the last time I was here was during the tail-end of Peru’s rainy season. I think that the observation of the juxtaposition was a kind of lesson for me – the momentary disappointment I felt from the land not ‘looking the same’ as before was then checked by an acknowledgement and appreciation for change; of course some things have to wither and die in order to create space for new growth, it’s the cycle of life after all. It shone a light on my desire to preserve, which I think is a natural human tendency, even in instances where it may not be the most practical or realistic thing to expect.
We drove into Ollantaytambo around 7am, but because of our 24 hours of travel and maybe 5 hours of sleep, our sense of time was totally off so it felt like it was mid-afternoon. I settled into my room, freshened up and decided to go for a stroll. I found myself walking the cobblestone streets, surround by brick buildings that were painted a creamy dusk-orange in front, and sides exposed raw with rectangular patterns of caulking. Around me were men, women and children, both locals and tourists. Most of the locals were working, recruiting patrons for van rides to Cusco, selling handmade bracelets, or sitting in front of the restaurants and markets with visual displays of the different selections for purchase. The tourists were people-watching, seated on outdoor tables eating, and shopping for souvenirs. All of us, nested in this particular part of the valley de sagrado (the Sacred Valley), surround by the enormous beauty of the mountains.
There is something about this place that makes me want to stare off into space and attempt to process every bit of information coming through my eyes. I think I see this sentiment in the eyes of some other tourists as well, an awe and curiosity for the town, its dwellers and its dwellings. Although I’ve spent the last 5 months living my ‘regular’ life, it feels as though I never left. Like the me that is here has been here this whole time and I’m just now coming back to her. ❤
It feels good to be ‘home’.