Woooohoooo! Rise and shine, baby! The best day of my #LNgoesperu-travel finally has arrived: cuddling with (baby) alpacas! Every year we head to Sante Fe, a little village at 5000m in the Peruvian Andes, to cuddle with these little cuties and laugh with their funny faces.
These alpacas… they just make me happy. Their faces, body shape, way of moving and especially ‘haircut’ are all so different! There is no alpaca a-like, but I must confess I do have an alpaca-twin. Check out Instagram or Facebook if you’d like to see what I am talking about. It’s pretty hilarious!
But let’s get back to the main topic of this post: the alpaca farmers. Such nice people… Such a hard job, though! Herding & shaving alpacas is a very physical and heavy job. These alpacas are their life, though, and they treat them as royals. So, in case you have any doubt about the care these animals get, I can reassure you right this instant: you have absolutely nothing to worry about, they are treated very nicely. The quality of their alpaca fibers is of the utmost importance. The ‘happier’ the alpaca, the better the quality of their precious little coat.
I have received many e-mails on this topic, so I feel I have to set things straight: alpacas are shaved, or ‘cut’, and not killed for their fur. This question came as quite a surprise to me, though. Being a vegetarian and major animal lover myself, I would never (ever) even consider to kill an animal for its fur. And, just for the record, even if I would, the Mini Marias or Cosy Charlenes we love would be very (very!) expensive. So: shaved. Not killed.
Here are a few alpaca-shaving facts:
– Alpacas need to be shaved on a regular basis, usually once a year. This in order to prevent parasites to nest in their fur and, so doing, to keep the quality of the fur high.
– Shaving or cutting an alpaca is done in less than 10 minutes.
– It’s important that the alpaca is not shaved too much. Not only would they look very funny, they would also have a higher risk of getting sunburned (and believe me, the sun is crazy at the altitude they graze!)
– Whilst they get shaved, they also get a mani-pedi. Well, sort of anyway.
And so, I cuddled. And posed. And cuddled some more. What I forgot because of the intensity of the hugging – the little baby alpaca was a bit confused since I was wearing the new AW 16/17 hand knitted 100% baby alpaca vest, the ‘Marvelous Martine’. It almost fell asleep! – is that these alpacas are wild animals and wild animals… carry fleas! OMG. I literally got attacked! As I am writing this last but one blogpost at the airport in my PJ’s, I’m scratching myself like a maniac. But hey, I cuddled baby alpacas high in the Andes. It’s worth the (infected) bites, no?
Since I didn’t want to stay too long at this altitude, we headed back down to the valley to have some local fried ‘trutcha’. This is a very popular dish in the Andes, made with a fresh water fish that swims in the rivers around these little villages. Close to one of the little restaurants we planned to go to, a lethal accident occurred with a travel-bus… The roads here in the Andes really are dangerous… It was shocking to see, but luckily both the police and ambulances were present to make sure everybody else on the road could travel safely.
Unfortunately, we had our strict planning to follow, and we still had to go fry & eat ‘trutcha’ (trout in English). We were still in shock from the accident, sick from the altitude & full of flea bites… but we professionally finished our plate, which was delicious by the way. Yet… as it sometimes occurs in foreign countries, we got sick. And by ‘we’, I mean Joshua & myself. On top of her great flirting skills, Camille seems to have an iron stomach as well!
So, by the time we got back to our hotel, we were:
1/ (still) sick from the altitude
2/ (still) in shock from the accident
3/ (still) full of fleabites from the Alpacas
4/ And now, also sick from the ‘trutcha’. Without going into details – it lasted 3 days…
Not complaining, but it was an intense day to say the least. We went to bed at 6PM that day. Traveling to the Andes for shootings always is very demanding, that, I know by now as it was my 5th time here. On the bright side: we’re all going home ‘summer proof’. Quite handy.
No time to rest, though, as we still had one last day of shooting ahead of us in Ayacuho! More on that tomorrow!
Running a bit behind, we’re off to Belgium right now, but I still have much to tell, so… keep posted for the final blogpost on our amazing trip!
Bye for now,