Stroppy Bull and Spitting Llamas


At the top of one pass I stopped to watch a group of men trying to entice a bull into the back of an old red truck. The tremendous brute power of the animal verses the ingenuity of the people made for a fascinating show. The dogs of the farmers were equally fascinated by the odd figure on an overloaded bicycle looking on as their masters darted this way and that, first trying to chase the bull, then trying to avoid it’s huge horns as it charged them. A sudden violent jolt would bring the beast to an abrupt halt as the rope joining it’s horns to the truck came taught, then, furious at being assaulted by this iron brute it would turn and charge the truck. The truck rocked violently as the bulls head struck it full tilt, I began to understand why the old vehicle was so dented. Exhausted the bull would momentarily relax and the men would tighten the ropes. As the bull looked around dazed and confused human ingenuity slowly but surely won over brute strength. The dogs barking calmed down, they lost interest in me and wandered off as the bull gave in its struggle for liberty.

I pressed on and caught up with Sebastian who was sitting in amongst a heard of llamas. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. ‘Trying to make them spit’ he answered. ‘Ahhh, yes, of course you are; why’.  ‘Because they spit, that is what they do, llamas spit when they are upset and stroppy’. ‘I think that may be camels’ I told him. A drawn out conversation interspersed with practical experiments ensued as we tried to ascertain whether it is llamas or camels that spit. It began to cloud over, we checked the altimeter, we were at nigh on four and a half thousand meters, we decided that lower down would be better in the event of inclement weather. We moved on.


Before the long decent began we stopped to dress up a little more. On the climb the physical toil keeps us warm, but the sweat soon turns to an icy chill as effort is replaced with the cool breeze of the long down hill. We dodge rocks and pools of water, stand to improve our centre of mass as we negotiate a section of loose sand, bounce through unseen pot holes; the road smoothes out a little and we release the brakes and enjoy the increasing warmth as we speed ever lower and replace the barrenness of high altitude with the cacti strewn desert as we near the bottom of the valley. And so to another bridge, across the river, and back to a long long climb.












Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s