Note to self, make your way back to Izcuchaca before it gets dark in Cusco. Perhaps we gabbed a bit too long with Angela while we finished up our cheesecake and tea. I’m not saying I regret it, but lingering at Guido’s until 6-ish consequently doubled the time it usually takes us to get home to Almeria, and, who knew, winding cliff-side roads jammed with cars are scarier at night.

We tried to hustle from Guido’s to where the Izcuchaca carros pick you up near the Plaza de Santiago, but it really wouldn’t have made a difference. The line to hop in was about 40-gentes long, but the worst part was the unpredictable cheaters! Waiting in line is like enduring the prisioner’s dilemma. Sometimes there are cars that don’t pull into the turn-around, but stay on the street, and are fair game for anyone in line. So you can play fair, wait in line, and hope that enough cars pull into the turn-around, or you can half-heartedly stand in line and then sprint under the police tape maker and run into the street whenever the seniorita calls out a car to Izcuchaca. Sadly I tried to cheat tonight. But alas, by the time I turned around, I noticed Mads was not behind me, so I walked back defeatedly. Either way, our legitimate car arrived about 5 minutes after that.

The other part of tonight’s lesson is everything is better during the day. This little tidbit was later reiterated by a lovely senorita on our last carro ride home, who told us tonight’s traffic was due to a three-day festival outside of Izcuchaca. But, she added, it’s too dangerous for us at night. I’m pretty sure she meant it was too dangerous for gringitas at night because just about everyone under 25 got off at the festival stop.

Lastly, dogs — at least the ones you’re not familiar with — are freaking scary when you can’t see them, and they can’t see you. We have one rather wretched-looking dog who lurks outside of Almeria and hops into trashcans while the doors are open during the day, digging through cookie wrappers and gelatina cups. I sort of felt bad for her when I noticed she just had a litter and was probably skulking around to try and find scraps to nourish her pups. But then she got really feisty with two of our perritos, Vaca and Macho, resulting in a two-day limp for Macho, and that’s when I put her on my shit-list.

So, of course, Mads and I come strolling up the quiet dirt path, admiring the stars, minding our own business and there’s that freaking mangy gray dog standing outside the gate to Almeria, barking her head off. Mads, who’s not overly fond of dogs to begin with, started in on a mild panic attack when the dog began to circle around behind her, barking incessantly. Between terrified shrieks from Mads and a tirade of barking, my mind didn’t have much time to dwell on whether or not this dog has rabies, or has a taste for people. I tried to walk through the gate to Almeria as calmly as possible, making sure to slam it shut after Mads hopped through still screaming.

Then we had our dogs to consider. I was a bit shaken up by everything, mostly because I was sure that mangy dog had started to draw blood from Mads (she actually never got closer than a few feet), so it was sort of difficult to greet our pups with my usual whistle. I finally managed it clear enough to where they stopped barking at us and came bolting from Baltezar’s frontyard to say hi. I’m really glad I taught them that. They were probably disappointed we didn’t bring back any meat from Dr. Pepper’s.

September 14, 2013