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March 24, 2007

Can you cataycha weasel?

Kalle returns from ancient and exotic Peru! Here she is posing from a vantage point in front of Machu Picchu with the peak of Huayna Picchu (Young Peak) in the background. Machu Picchu means 'old peak' in Quechua. Read on for further adventures!

First, Kalle is cleared for boarding her 5-seater cessna to fly over the desert and see the zoomorphic figures drawn in mindboggling large scale by the Nazca people. Will there be a weasel?

She enjoys the view as the plane soars over the desert.

Safely grounded again, Kalle practices her best lurk in the hedges of the Plaza des Armas in Arequipa, the white city in the south and Peru's second capital. Most of the buildings there, like the cathedral in the background, are made from white volcanic rock.

She refused to be intimidated by the fierce boats on the floating reed islands of Los Uros on Lake Titicaca and determined to make off with the blanket - it gets cold at 4000 metres.

Once on the trail, Kalle was most attached to the cairn she had built single-pawed and wouldn't budge, even when 'encouraged' with a trekking pole. We think she caught sight of the peak, in whose shadow we would make camp, looming above the clouds. A daunting prospect.

Finally! She crests the pass over the shoulder of Salkantay mountain, 4500m above sea level. How many weasel paws is that? Salkantay means 'the wild' in Quechua, 'cataycha' is Quechua for weasel, so should this pic be captioned 'salkantay cataycha' in pidgin Quechua?

Enough work climbing, time to play. Caution thrown aside, Kalle refuses take the glacial crossing seriously and threatens a snowball fight…

…and goofs around in a fissure in the ice. "Help, my tongue ith thtuck to the glathier!"

Here Kalle poses by a typical Inca trapezoidal house (at the bottom of an also typical steep flight of Inca steps!) in ruins in the cloud forest near Machu Picchu

She shatters the legend that the Inca stonework at Machu Picchu is so fine, a knife blade may not be fitted into the joints between the stones. It is fact possible to fit a weasel. Inca stonework is inherently flawed and unstable and riddled with weasels.

Halfway up Huayna Picchu this time, the peak next to the Inca city. Can you spot the weasel?

Wooooo-eeee! Kalle the Fearless at the top of Huayna Picchu, beside a drop of thousands of feet, looking down at Machu Picchu. The very mountains bend to her will!

There's plenty more to be seen, don't miss the rest!

Posted by dmd at March 24, 2007 10:50 PM