Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Candelario Mancilla Index Day 28 Day 30
Day 29: Candelario Mancilla Donar La Vaca?

I waited anxiously for the cows to call at 8AM in the morning. That is their signal to Senora that they are ready to be milked. Eager to try my hands at pulling the udders, I asked Senora yesterday if I could help her milking the cows. "Donar La Vaca" = "Milk the Cow". She said yes if the cows called.

"Ummmm, Ummmm, Ummmmm". It's time!

I quickly followed Senora to the back yard. With a couple of tin cans in hand, I watched her took one cow at a time out of the pen, strapped its rear legs together so it would not kick, then let the calf start sucking on the udder, and then, she pushed the calf away. At that point, Senora waved me to come and start milking the cow. But the cow was shy. There was too much commotion with two strangers, me trying to pull its udder and Brian trying to film me. I only got a few squirts before the cow refused to give any more. Poor Senora, we made a work out of this for her. With shoes covered with cow poop, I quit. I felt bad. I just wanted to help a little around the house.

But luckily, there were other places I could find myself useful. After breakfast, Senora started to make butter. She had already boiled and reduced the milk, now it was time to separate fat from liquid. She showed me how to stir, pour the liquid out, and finally rinse with water until it comes out clear. Home-made butter, my first try.

My baking/bread-making skill came into use too. Since we (all five of us) ordered all together 30 breads to take with us for the boat ride, Senora had to make several extra batch. She made the dough; I kneed and cut it into pieces. The smell of the freshly baked bread rolls permeated in the kitchen. That was too much for Brian to handle. He begged two from Senora.

Brian had spread the word of Guinda to the rest of the group. Quite understandably, they wanted to try some. Senora agreed to sell - 500 peso for a very generous 500g container. Graham got his bottle. It was gone in a couple of hours. He came back for another one. And then it was Chris's turn. And another one. With the campers constantly coming in asking for stuff from Senora, hot water, bathroom, toilet paper, bread, guinda, we became annoyed. Things, even as basic as flour, don't come easily here.

Since it was the last full day for us here, all five of us had another group dinner together. How does Senora know I like meshed potato?! She even served us a desert this time: sweet cherries in syrup. We couldn't be happier.

Tomorrow would be D-Day.

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