We are officially a family of FIVE!
Introducing our newest addition, Age: 1? Breed: Unknown; Origin: Peru; Gender: Female; Name: “LUNA, THE QUEEN OF KUELAP”
I love the evolution of Luna’s name. When we first asked Ty to name her, he answered without skipping a beat, “Dog y Medio.” It means “Dog and a Half”, kind of like when he answers “cuatro y medio” when asked about his age.
Fine. Very witty actually. So we shortened it and applied the proper Spanish gender and started calling her “Media”. The problem was, neither Ty nor Simon could remember the name. For days they kept asking me, what is her name again?
So I have always loved the phrase media luna, or half moon. So I suggested LUNA, which everyone approved, and to that, Ty added excitedly, The Queen! She is the Queen! So there you go Luna, since you reigned over your old home of Kuelap, the pre-Incan ancient city of the Chachapoyas in the mountains of northern Peru, your new name shall be “LUNA, THE QUEEN OF KUELAP.”
Throughout the trip we have talked on and off about getting a dog on the road, to bring back to California. In fact, for the sixteen years that Simon and I have been together, this past year was the only time we were dog-less.
To go down memory lane, first we had Lucky (1996-2005) who came to us when he was four years old and turned out to be the gentlest, sweetest and loyal to the bone Rottweiler. He was the epitome of man’s best friend and firmly established our love for Rottweilers. To him, we quickly added Kahia (1999-2009), who was a one-year old puppy when he joined our family. He was the stereotypical ball crazy, cuddly softie Golden Retriever who remained a puppy all his life.
And then there was Rocco (2005-2014), our first puppy that we raised from the time he was 3 months old. He was part of the family in every way. He was not only Simon’s and mine; he was also Ty’s first dog. And Ty still cries when he talks about missing Rocco. He was an amazing dog in mind, body and heart. Those who knew him know how strong and loving he was. No other dog will be like him.
Back to Luna. Here is where we found Luna, in the parking lot of the Kuelap ruins. We camped there with Rich and Ashley (desktoglory) before visiting the ruins, after spending a few days traveling together all the way from Vilcabamba, Ecuador. A group of dogs lived at the parking lot, and all of us were drawn to one particular cute dog right away. It was NOT Luna. It was some other cute boy charmer. Docile and playful, and he knew just how to work us. We saved all our food scraps for him, and completely ignored the short-haired floppy-eared light brown dog who was to be named Luna. She was quietly waiting for her turn a few feet back.
That night, after all the other dogs left, Luna curled up under our van and spent the night. The next morning, as I was making breakfast, she stayed, quietly, just laying down a few feet from the table. Never pushy, never whiny. I jokingly told Simon, “It is her. It is her all along.” At this point we still weren’t sure if we were ready. The van is all of 80 square feet! We said, well, we will go on the hike to Kuelap and if she follows us all the way, it is meant to be.
And followed us she did. Even after the other dogs hung back at a store to beg for food, she never let us out of her sight. She followed us the entire way and back for a couple of hours. Looking back, she was the one who had stuck with us since the beginning. Sometimes, they choose us.
Kuelap, by the way, was phenomenal. It was a fortress city built by the Chachapoyas, a pre-Incan civilization, from 800 AD, and sits atop a mountain at 10000 feet high. It was our favorite ruins all the way from Mexico to now. The massive exterior wall, the immense views over surrounding valleys, and the open access to most of the ruins all add to a very pleasant and peaceful visit.
Oh, and the quietness. We were there from 9-11:30am and saw two other tourists the entire time. By the time we left, there were a few dozen starting to hike up. But still, you are talking about dozens, not the kind of crowds that are often at other archeological sites the size and importance of Kuelap.
But all this will change. To get to Kuelap now, one needs to drive through a narrow winding mountain road that takes 1.5 hours from the village of El Tingo off the main road. The government now calls Kuelap the “second Machu Picchu” and is building a cable car that will connect from the town of Tingo ascending thousands of feet all the way to the top. I would imagine just the cable car itself will be quite a tourist attraction. But the views and the peacefulness will never be the same.