DAY 7 – Heading out to the Quinoa heartland

DAY 7 – Heading out to the Quinoa heartland

challapata

Challapata – Quinoa Capital.

Summer vacation has begun! The cold sharp mountain air is now soft, the winds gentle.  People dot the streets, some in costume getting ready for celebrations, bands assemble on street corners to play – trumpets shining in the highland sun, drums thumping.  Children’s laughter streams though it all.  The winter has ended, school is out and vacation is here!   There are graduation parties and weddings.  Children are everywhere – freed of their school smocks, backpacks and books – out with parents, out with friends, cousins, wandering the streets, populating the parks,  A liveliness and cheer pervades it all.  In the city families line up for ice-cream in the warm 70 degree sun, working parents on vacation as well.  In the countryside, thoughts of drought and winds are dropped – at least for the moment.

Holyhocks at the DIAL Hotel.

Holyhocks at the DIAL Hotel.

Tonight we are sleeping in Challapata for $10 a night.  I remember this place as a dusty outpost with rickety dirt road and a plaza that consisted of single flagpole 18 years ago.  Today it is a teaming town with banks, paved roads, chandelier decked restaurants, a tree filled plaza strung with Christmas lights, and lots of new houses – built with the quinoa money of the recent boom.  Tomorrow I’ll report on the visit to Belle Vista…

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