During my stay in Arequipa, I visited an outlet of Incalpaca – a factory with decades of experience producing garments from the wool of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas.
The interesting part about the outlet is that attached to it is a small zoo if you will, where visitors can see the animals used for their wool. There was one cute vicuna, a small herd of llamas, and one extremely territorial alpaca.
Except for the alpaca, all other animals were shy and remained in parts of their encampments the furthest from the people. The alpaca was the only one to be standing fearlessly right by the fence along the visitors’ walkway.
I approached the proud animal snapped a picture of its head, and it proceeded to spit on me. It wasn’t the type of gooey spit you could get from a human, but more like a little dispersed spray of fine droplets, but it was nevertheless very cool.
I have heard of camels spitting, but never have I imagined I’d get the opportunity to be spat on by a camelid. Whereas other visitors to the compound reacted with disgust and ran away from the animal when they got spat on, I got excited and told to myself: “Holy shit! My life is now complete. I got spat on by an alpaca.”
I looked at some of the garments sold in the store, but would not be able to bring myself to pay so much money for just that – a piece of a garment.
Anything made from vicuña wool in particular was super expensive. As in four digits for a scarf expensive. I was told by the apparently commission paid sales woman that vicuña wool is finer than kashmir, and the animals don’t produce a whole lot of it, so it’s always expensive.
But at more than 4,000 Soles (around $1,200 US) for a scarf, there would be no way for me to even entertain this type of a purchase. The sales woman insisted that she would hook me up with an attractive discount, but one way or the other, I never come anywhere near to spending this much money for garments.
I’m a vagabond in old, worn out clothes anyway. I’m smart with my money and even if I were wealthy enough to easily afford something this expensive, I don’t know what it would take to argue me into buying it. I however don’t doubt the amazing warming and softness properties of vicuña garments.