Claudio, our guide, ends our morning excursion with the best drive-by yet, a farm of llamas (and alpacas?) and flamingos and more llamas, this time free-ranging, llama mommas and llama papas with their llama babies, ears pierced with strands of colored twine to brand theirs from yours.
So cute is the scene that it pauses our bus conversation mid-thought–Katie from Flagstaff, AZ interrupted in her story of Spanish fluency thanks to early childhood classes and a year abroad, Chris poised to tell us about how he, a young German engineer, manages to manage a Chilean mine and now, tours the country on a ten-day vacay, Jennifer from Seattle on a year-long sabbatical offered by her tax consulting firm, she the lucky recipient of this stellar perk, now in a deep slumber impossible to rouse despite the cacophony in-bus.
We all sit in the back of the vehicle and swap stories like the grade school yellow bus mandates, flashbacks to junior high or middle school or whatever you called it prominent, when sitting in the back of anything actually mattered.
But, now, we are in llama country, guanacos, even, and holy crap, I want one, almost as badly as Steinbeck’s Lennie.