We are having another holiday weekend. Thursday and Friday we went camping with another couple and their children, and we brought our child, Celeste. Armed with plenty of Andean vocal music and the overly dramatic renditions of Latin romantic songs, we hit the road.
We went back to the campground at Canta. The last time we visited Canta, the people were wall to wall and we had to literally step over bodies in order to find a place to have a picnic. This time, there were very few campers and even fewer picnickers. Celeste had a wonderful time running around and playing with the resident dogs and the more patient and good humored campers. Canta is in the mountains, about 3 hours outside of Lima. The area is beautiful.
The drive up there is full of hair-pin curves, shallow streams that run across the road, fallen rock hazards - lots of starting and stopping, shifting of gears, and plenty of reasons for a dog to get car-sick. Guess what Celeste did. Yep, she spent the first 3 hours of the trip puking her guts out in my lap while I held the sick bag for her and listened to the drama of a male falsetto voice on the cd player..."Espera un poco, un poquIIII-YIII-YIII-to mas, para llevarte mi fe-LIII-YIII-YIII-cidad..." Thinking back on it now, it could have been the music that started the puke session. Happily, on the way home, she figured out that the best way to avoid vomiting and romantic musical drama is to promptly go to sleep, which she did.
When we arrived at the campground, I snapped the girl's leash on her and opened the door. Celeste hopped out and checked out the immediate area. I tossed my shoes out and bend out the open door to tie them; as I looked up, I saw a pair of beautiful blue eyes looking at me from under the car door. I felt so odd, looking at these blue Siberian eyes gazing back at me - I thought they belonged to Celeste, yet there was something unfamiliar about them. The facial markings were almost identical to those of Celeste, but these eyes were surrounded by just a little more facial hair and topped with shorter ears. I sat up. There was Celeste and her own blue eyes looking curiously at me from my same side of the car door. I checked under the car door again, but the eyes were gone.
The blue eyes came around the car door and were followed by an older but smaller version of my dog. She had a quiet demeanor, whereas my Celeste is boisterous, pushy, and bouncy. She greeted us with a "Wooowooowooo" and proceeded to show Celeste around the campground. She belonged to the family who owned the campground. What little charmer she was.
We spent the night in our tents, and Celeste had her first night out under the stars, in her magic camo jammies. I think she loved it. She started out inside the tent, but gradually worked her way out...first peeking out, then stuck her head out under the door, then crawled out slowly and slept upside down...while stargazing? Then the wind came up and sent someone's tent tumbling, which scared her back inside for a few moments, but not for long.
The next day, we rode some local ponies and Celeste followed along. Up the trail, through a few villages, and around and down the mountain again, and we were done...so was Celeste. Whew! Two hours of steady walking for us, and Celeste started out racing up the trail, then back to us, then off again...then after 30 minutes of steady climbing, it wasn't so fun to race away and race back. She fell in beside us and marched around the mountain with us, investigating this thing and that, but never too far behind. When we stopped for lunch, Celeste was offered her own dog food, but turned it down in favor of a dry potato that someone had dropped on the ground. Later on in the afternoon, the potato protested and Celeste found herself paying a small price in discomfort for her choice in cuisine. Ah well, a girl's got to live a little and experiment, I suppose!
We packed up later, and Celeste's blue-eyed friend came to say goodbye. She sang her little Siberian WoooWooo song to us as we packed the laast of our things into the car, then watched us as we pulled out of the campground. I found myself wishing that she didn't already have a family. She would have been a great buddy for Celeste.
The ride down to Lima was much quicker than the climb up had been. Celeste fell asleep right away and when we arrived back at the apartment, she crashed in her bed. She slept away the better part of Saturday. I wonder what her dreams were about!