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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

The Cow That Loved Tomato Soup

PERU | Sunday, 1 June 2008 | Views [1948] | Comments [3]



Location: An internet cafè in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Lots of big, green, lush trees and bushes outside the door.

Most Recent Meal: A huge veggie sandwich and an Ecuadorian beer (great sandwich, not-so-great beer. Tastes like African beer).

Mood: Chillaxin' in the Valley of Longevity.

Just a few days ago I was in Huaraz, Peru, which is where this story takes place. Huaraz is a mountain-lover's town, surrounded by the Cordillera Blanca and chalkablock with rangy-looking men and women in hiking boots. It's heaven. It's also very close to the site where Touching the Void took place. I, however, touched no voids. I merely touched a cow. Or, rather, the cow touched me.

I left from The Way Inn (www.thewayinn.com), a fantastic lodge right at the foot of the mountains, with a view of Mt. Churup and the rest of the Cordillera Blanca. The trail I walked on followed an irrigation canal running with crystal-blue water, leading me into the mouth of a steep, rock-sided valley of epic beauty.

I walked among flowers and boulders, birds and streams, the only human being in the area. It was simply sublime. And when I found a flat little hilltop covered in purple flowers, I knew I'd found my campsite: it was perfect.

Apparently the cows thought so, too.

As the sun was lowering over the western edge of the valley, I sat down with my stove to brew some tea and cook dinner. I heard a noise and looked over my shoulder. Standing right behing me was a very sneaky and silent cow. But, it was just a cow, so no matter how sneaky and silent it was, I didn't really care. But then I looked around, and noticed that more and more cows were arriving. They stood around me in a loose circle, kept at bay by boulders and bushes. They lifted their heads and sniffed deeply, nostrils dilating, savoring the aroma of my dinner. I was cooking tomato soup, and I was very much looking forward to eating it.

So were they.

Now, I ask you, did you know that cows have a thing for tomato soup? Because I sure didn't. But these cows were craving it. Soon enough, the bushes and boulders were not enough to keep them away. I had to resort to animal abuse, chucking rocks at them and whipping their soft noses with a branch of a shrub. It worked long enough to finish as much of my meal as I could. There was a small amount of soup remaining at the bottom of my pot. I decided to give it to the cows.

Tsk tsk. Stupid girl.

One hundred feet from my tent I dumped the contents of the pot on the ground. The cows swarmed it, licking it up off the ground like it was candy. Except for two cows, who were convinced that the good stuff remained in the pot. I turned my back to them, desperately trying to wash out the pot with a small amount of water and a spoon. I turned and turned, walked a few feet, turned some more...but the big white cow and the mottled brown one dogged my every step, refusing to leave me alone, shoving their noses towards the pot and extending their long, muscular toungues to lick it. Ew. So I walked to the stream to better clean my pot, but they followed on my heels. And as I leaned down to dip my pot in the stream, that evil white cow rammed me.

Another question for the reader: have you ever been rammed by a cow? Because I hadn't before. I now know that it hurts. Quite a lot, in fact.

Needless to say, I dropped the pot in a hurry, abandoning it to the cows and swearing at them profusedly in Spanish, English, Hebrew and Swahili--it was all fair game at that point.

Back in my tent I huddled in my sleeping bag while listening to the sound of hooves outside my tent. The cows stalked me all night long. I hardly slept a wink.

The next day dawned bright and sunny. Only one cow remained, the mottled brown one, intent on following me until more food appeared. In light of that cow, I ate breakfast on top of a very large, very steep-sided boulder. Then I retrieved my pot (licked clean, mind you) and packed everything up, far less charmed with my idyllic campsite than I had been the previous night. I headed up the valley, to greener pastures, if you will. Greener pastures free of evil, silent, stalking, tomato-soup-filching, rib-ramming, ...

Note: the picture of the Cordillera Blanca featured here is not mine. I got it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Taulliraju.JPG



You have some strange adventures my friend. Although, we have 5 baby Kestrels in right now that cheep so much I'm pretty sure they might lap up some tomato soup too!!!! Food begging brats.

  E. Molloy Jun 5, 2008 12:05 PM


And Jeff likes to 'direct' those little cheepers! The other night, he was 'leading' them - directing circles and two of them were following - up down around... TOO FUNNY!

  Karen Jun 5, 2008 2:56 PM


That's a story that will be told for a generation, or two, or three.....

  Kelly Jun 9, 2008 12:38 PM

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