Oh man! I have been ON the RUN and have not been able to record all of my cool adventures lately. So I´m paying for it now! I´ll start with the best journey of all, the great adventure to Macchu Picchu on Easter weekend.

So- I was staying at this great place in a tiny little village in the middle of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It´s called Harin, and you can walk from one side of town to the other along the main road in about 3 minutes. There´s only one road besides the main road. [By the way, did I MENTION how ridiculous the drivers here are? They drive literally 90mph through these tiny towns, blaring their horns constantly with the hope of warning all of the dogs and kids and pigs and cows that, for some reason, love napping right smack-dab in the middle of the main strip. It´s really scary!]

Anways, I didn´t want  to leave this great place. There really is nothing like the smell of walking through the woods on the side of a mountain, nothing like the sweet and cold water that one can find in idyllic little streams in this utopian landscape. It is so beautiful there, so much better than Cusco that I wonder why anyone goes to Cusco at all. The people in the Andes have beautiful faces. They have these round, prominent cheekbones and big brown eyes shaped like sideways teardrops. There faces tell stories; especially the children, who look like they´ve lived for 35 years when they reach the age of 8.

The night before we left, we stayed up for hours listening to our artisan friends rehearse for a jazz/spoken-word poetry gig they had at this posh bar in Cusco. It was really great, a cello and an alto sax, and the booming voice of this Argentinian man with a beard, beatniks all, playing off of the emotion of the really poignant words of this dude. The guys told us about how to sneak in to Macchu Picchu. They had done it by night during August the year before, and had the whole place to themselves under the full moon. I couldn´t pass up this opportunity for adventure! It was the full moon on Thursday before Easter

So FINALLY, we gathered the guts to leave. We had to be on our way. I guess that´s how it works with traveling- once you fall in love with the place you´re at, and the people you´re with, you have to leave and make it happen all over again. We lazily woke up at 10 o´clock instead of the advised dawn.

–time passes in bus–

We get to a town called Ollantaytambo (spelling definitely incorrect). It is the sight of one of the biggest Inca victories against the Spanish conquistadors. There is a little cafe owned by a Brit where I had the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. It was not hot chocolate- it was a revolution. I don´t know how they made it, but BY GOD, I will recreate it somehow. For Peru it was outrageously expensive, but all of the profits go directly to pay for OB/Gyn doctors for the ladies who are full of all sorts of diseases because their men sleep around.

After eating delicious food (we always find some sort of fake excuse to spend money on delicious food) we waited and waited for the bus to Santa Maria, the next stop on our journey. We took an open top cargo truck, or camión, instead. This was the BEST! One of the greatest things that I´ve ever done in my life. We sat in a hole among the thousands of pounds of farm goods that were being transported to markets all over the andean hillsides. The whole time we cuddled under giant blankets with a tiny indigenous  grandmother, her unmarried son, and her really intelligent eight-year-old grandaughter. The little girl tried to marry off her uncle to us the entire time.  We paid 3 dollars for the long, scary 8 hour journey through the andes. The whole time I sand Beatles songs at the top of my lungs, learning Quechua and talking about family with these loving Andean people. It was really great, besides the hours we had to stop off and unload incredible amounts of potatoes and lettuce and alfalfa. 

 

*BY THE WAY-In the andes, all the girls call each other mamí or mamícita, and the men are all papí or papícita. How good is that? It translates to babe and dude, roughly.*

 

We got off in Santa Maria, and stayed in a hostel because it was the middle of the night! The next morning we left for Aguas Calientes, the valley town below Macchu Picchu. We got there after driving through three raging waterfalls and a mudslide that left the road almost unnavigable. Somehow our driver got us there safely, go him!

From Santa Teresa, we walked along the train tracks for 3.5 hours to Aguas Calientes. The walk was beautiful. (I hesitate to go into details because this message is ALREADY so long!)

bullet points:¨:

-we get to Aguas Calientes, way overpriced, more tourists than South Americans

-we find a hostel

-we enjoy a couple pisco sours, DELICIOUS, happy hour, good deal

-we eat at the market, delicious juice, rice

-sleepy time, need to wake up at 4 AM!

We decided we couldn´t see Macchu Picchu by night because it was really, really rainy, which would make the climb of the mountain really miserable and dangerous in the dark. We left at 4 am the next morning. There is an old Incan staircase that is over 1000 steps to the top of the mountain. WHAT A WORKOUT. I haven´t worked my body harder than sitting and walking since almost two years ago. Damn! I´m out of shape! The altitude killed our lungs, and it was exhausting, but it was all worth it when we got to the top after a few hours.

There is a secret path, used only by farmers, that leads to Macchue Picchu. We had to climb over the roof of a small cabin, and swim through the WAY overgrown path of wet rainforest for about 20 minutes. By now, it was sunny out, and there were tourists streaming in the front door of Macchu Picchu. I can´t believe how easy it was to sneak in. At the end of the farmer´s path, you land yourself right in the lower middle part of the ruins. There are no guards there! It was so great, we got in for free instead of paying hundreds of dollars! What a good place to spend Easter morning.

too bad it takes so long to upload pics or else i would have more up here! dang

too bad it takes so long to upload pics or else i would have more up here! dang

Macchu Picchu was incredible, but not for the reasons I expected. It was aesthetically beautiful, but more impressive was the amazing organization of the society. Just looking at what is left of this sacred place tells me that we have so much to learn from ancient cultures. Everyone here had the same standard of living, working for the improvement of the community, striving for perfection in all parts of their lives. I learned a lot! Sacrifice was only of girls aged 13 to 17 (I guess I´m out of my prime sacrificial age by now) and only black animals.

Coming from traveling through run-down cities with no infrastructure, no sense of organization at all, I couldn´t believe how good the Incans had it. Minus the sacrifice! That would suck, huh. Apparently the Inca people abandoned Macchu Picchu because they didn´t want the Spanish to find it. It was too special to be conquered!

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