Behind Licancaburthe glow brightens,
the sun rises steeply, but clouds form
sweeping lines across the sky.
“Let’s walk while the sun’s obscured”
A hot wind blows the dry dirt roads
to dust so thick it blocks the view
Scarf over mouth and hand on hat
we walk a mile or so,
This is no gentle place.
By early evening hunger calls.
We peel potatoes
set a pan on the gas.
At 7605 feet above sea level
water boils at about 95 degrees C –
these spuds could take a while . . .
The gas sputters and fails.
OK, the microwave’ll do.
No response – no electricity –
The local family who look after the place
promise to come round in the morning.
I ask if their power is off –
they don’t have electricity at home.
We have a couple of candles
and we recharged the emergency lighting.
The power stays dead, so we drive to San Pedro
the sun’s heat has disappeared to a shiver.
The wind is dropping,but it’s cold.
We go ‘inside’ –
a waiter wipes our table’s sandy surface
we’re under cover, but still open to the air.
We keep coats and scarves on
even when the electricity returns
service is slow and customers rare.
The waiter is apologetic . . “please wait”. . .
the food is good
though cold fruit in a cold pancake is a surprise dessert.
Back home the power’s still off
we fear for our morning tea
on simple luxuries sanity depends . . .
we go wild with delight as a light comes on.