20 February 2008

Machu Picchu Was Terrestrial Heaven

Cusco, Peru :: Villa Hermosa

Machu Picchu was fucking amazing of course, but to get there we had to:

1. Take a taxi to some random hotel
2. Take an hour and 1/2 bus ride uphill and around these insane, winding curves, some of them were 90º and 180º, until we arrived at Ollaytayambo, which, quite honestly, felt like the former Soviet-Mongolian border, thousands of people, scurrying to freedom, arguing with guards, trying to escape the tyranny of tourism and hop on the police-escorted trains.
3. Take a charming 2-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes
4. From there we had to take another 30-minute bus ride, again, around these mind-numbing curves on a single-lane dirt road, winding and twisting slowly up the great majestic, until we'd scaled a towering hill that wanted to me a mountain, leading quite literally to heaven
5. Right before the entrance we had to fill out yet another tourist immigration form
6. Finally we were in!

Our Spanish-speaking guía was a smart, knowledgeable and garrulous tipo who had to not only tell you what each wall meant, but when it was built, what it was made from, why it was made that way, and then, he gave the group a Q + A session, followed by a short quiz for each part of the tour. In a way it was if he was trying to imitate the long, winding, dirt roads in his tour. . . we just wandered off whenever we damn well pleased.

But of course, after 6 hours we had to do the same thing all over again to get back to Cusco. Erika and I noticed a few things that would make sense later on, but we were so tired and scorched by the sun way up there that we didn't make sense of it until the next day:

1. Campesiño merchants, especially at the tiendas, weren't nice at all to me. In fact, some of them just stared at me, even though I was handing them money.
2. A huge pile of rocks blocking the road

All of this would make more sense the next day

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