Chapter 10 : ACHOCALLA CALLING
Fed up with the intolerance, the baiting & jibes of should-be friends, Joe Louis and Julio went looking for pastures new. They first explored Palca keeping to the heights and then headed down over the Choro highway, approaching the fruitful dales of the Yungas.
But they finally choose the community of Achocalla, very close to La Paz, the alternative Chukiago canyon, underdeveloped for being criss-crossed by a raging meandering river, which in a way is its good fortune because even though the borough stretches down to the zona sewer, no through road has yet been opened, keeping Achocalla free from the encroachment of the rich suburbs down south. Perhaps its residents fear the peasants, the hard-core communards of Achocalla.
There in this haven protected from the harsh winds of the Andean mountain range, nestling between the city and the high plain with its favourable climate, Achocalla had become a thriving agricultural centre. Amongst corn and beans waving in the breeze, Joe Louis and Julio had a certain confidence of discovering a place apart in which to allow them to develop their intimacy.
But, sad to report, agrarian paradises have small town mentalities. Our couple’s careless closeness and lingering looks give rise to unpleasant comments. Following the local saints-day festival, they were run out of town and decided to take a long hike to Ayma (incidentally Evo’s maternal name) pulled in by the lure of the chullpas off in the direction of Pacajes. These chullpas, pre-Incan funeral towers, formed from mortar and stone chips often on raised mounds, were usually ransacked by huaceros (in search of treasure) so that scattered bones desecrated sacred sites, nevertheless exerted a strong fascination over the couple. What were Julio and J.L. searching for? Intangible horizons where they could exist without prejudice. On their journey they were lured onwards by the plaintive chords of a strumming guitar. Eventually they encounter a solitary guitarist camped by a brush fire by the gloomy church of San Miguel who claims that the church has been constructed from the ruins of a complex of a chullpas set in a circle and invites them inside. They find themselves in a tunnel leading into a mysterious cavern opening out in a raging river, but are afraid to advance any further because the stepping stones across the torrent are too widely spaced. Even so, the guide urges them across - and within a flash Julio and J.L. are up on a hill with mounted horsemen approaching who cannot possibly be the representatives of Pacajes, Julio flashes, (no pre-Spanish horses) So who are you and where are we?
All of which ties in with the Khazari dreams that Koff has been having and that he believes Jim has instigated, but Julio and Joe Louis are unaware of any such connection. Let’s leave them be.