I've visited Machu Picchu means I am better than you


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South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco
December 5th 2008
Published: December 11th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Once again, too many things have happened since the last blog entry, and this time I'll just put things into chronological order by visited cities:


Valparaíso:

The joys of waking up on a smelly single mattress on the floor, going to the bathroom, greeting the cockroaches and the ever-expanding, wall-annexing mould and trying not to put too large a quantity into the toilet bowl, so that it's still able to flush. Yes, we had an interesting host and place to stay in Valparaíso, a French girl speaking fluent Chilean, not Spanish, which was really the only admirable thing about her, she who is living the hippie lifestyle with everything from smoking weed, sleeping until 4pm, and talking only about herself all the time. The fact that she didn't take an interest in us was less frustrating than the health hazard-environment, with tobacco smoke being the least concern. She was just one of the many weird characters we met during our stay in the ciudad loca, not necessarily one of the most pleasant ones, but still good enough to provide gratuitous accomodation for us. Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Víctor Jara, the who is who of Chile's artists, poets, writers and crazies all wandered the streets of Valparaíso, and even we couldn't help but being kind of enchanted by the irresistible charm of the city with too many hills. The colourful houses on the verge of apparently dangerous precipices, the bustling plazas and markets, and the undeniable creativity in the air all contribute to the formidable atmosphere of one of South America's most unique cities, one of the few bigger cities on the continent that evolved organically, and wasn't planned by inept bureaucrates. You still do have to avoid certain areas, where curious wanderers have been mugged too many a time, and you do have to criss-cross the copious amount of dog shit, being barked at by indignant dogs for snubbing their œuvre (the bark quickly transforms into a big yawn, though), but all this cannot diminish the strange beauty that this place emits. A really fucking bad accomodation on the other hand can, which is why we escaped in a 24-hour bus towards the Atacama desert way up north in Chile. Our lungs were certainly more than grateful for this wise decision.

San Pedro de Atacama:

We finally arrived all sweaty, stinky and skanky in the dusty little town of San Pedro de Atacama after aforementioned gruesome bus ride. The Atacama desert is one of the most hostile places on this planet, it is the driest desert in the world, with a humidity next to 0%, virtually rainless, and is composed mostly of salt flats, sand and lava flows. It covers an area roughly half as big as Germany in the North of Chile, bordering on Bolivia and Argentina. San Pedro may not be the biggest town in the Atacama desert, claim to fame which belongs to Calama, but it is certainly the most attractive for the average tourist, with spectacular valleys, geysers, salt flats, traditional Andean villages, lagoons and myriads of outdoor activities all scattered nearby. Naturally, it made its way onto our humble itinerary as well. But before indulging in any of San Pedro's attractions, we had to face the difficult task of finding an acommodation that wouldn't break our already meagre budget. After rolling and carrying around our overweight luggage through the dusty, rough streets of the small desert town, we finally found a cheap-ass place managed by a mama's boy aged 45. Unfortunately, hot water and toilet paper was not included in the price, so after one night deprived of the usual luxuries, we moved on to a slightly more expensive, but also more comfortable place, teeming with sunbathing backpackers from the Netherlands, Germany (hooray) and the UK. Of course, the first thing you do when you're in the driest desert in the world is sunbathe, right? Blond lobster- or crab people with skin cancer must be highly attractive in their respective countries. We chose to relax for a couple of days in a more skin-friendly way and acclimatize to the altitude of 2,400m, not to be underestimated, before hitting the impressive amount of tour companies to compare the prices of tours in the region.

On day three we did so and encountered an apparently professional tour operator that would take us to the nearby Valle de la Luna to wander around the moonlike landscape and enjoy the sunset from some nice and high sand dunes. When it was time to hop on the bus, however, we noticed that there was no bus, and about 30 minutes after the designated departure time, the lady who sold us the tour was still making empty promises and telling us lies of how the driver would have to fetch people from outlying hotels. A guy from another company then showed up, and the lady told us to go with him, he would take us to the bus. We didn't really understand why people got fetched at their hotels while we were waiting at the company headquarters for a guy to walk us to another company, but we went with him. After a short walk we saw a bus waiting in front of the other company, but as we were approaching, it drove off in front of our very eyes. We asked the guy what was going on, and he seemed to be slightly stupefied by the goings-on as well, and said he'd call the driver. After another 15 minutes, the bus came back, and we were indeed able to get on it, albeit with another 14 people, and not the promised max of 8-10 people.

So we went on the tour, walked around, took our pictures, witnessed the sunset with too many other people, which didn't necessarily make it the best sunset of my life, and returned to San Pedro. The big problem was that we had booked another tour with those motherfuckers, and we were pissed off and not willing to go on another trip with them, so we decided to ask for a refund. We got off the bus and literally ran to the agency to make it before they close, and luckily they were still open. We explained to the chick that we were not happy with how they handled the situation, that we couldn't trust them anymore, and that we wanted our money back. She played all shocked and said it had never happened before and tomorrow's gonna be better and ladeeda, but I repeated we won't go with them, and she should give us the money back, to which she complied. The only problem, apparently, was that they had no cash, to which we reacted with a bit of a lack of understanding, since a professinal tour company should have the means for recompensation of dissatisfied clients handy. So we decided to wait it out, we said we wouldn't leave until we got our money, and it was already 8:30pm. The lady got increasingly nervous, and chickened around in apparent search of money, but an hour passed, and nothing happened, and she said she had to wait for other tourists who still had to pay for their tours, which is a tad strange as the only means for a tour agency to get cash. After an hour and a half we started to get even more discontented and casually mentioned the police to her, which resulted in more nervousness and running around from her part. After two hours the big boss showed up with a wad of money in his hand, which he handed over to her, and we finally got our money back. She was really stressed out and said not to tell her boss what really happened, since she'd told him we would leave earlier and therefore would demand a refund. We didn't really care about anything anymore, since it was already 10:30pm, and went home for a well-deserved shower and a good night's sleep. They tried to fuck with us, but we fought back and won.

From there, it just got better. We defied the tourist haunts and eateries and ate cheaply with the locals at their oily and greasy places on the outskirts of town, we wrote a flaming complaint in six languages in the libro de quejas at the tourist office, and we found a better tour company, recommended by several other travellers. We then went on this beautiful and crazy trip to the Lagunas Altiplanicas, namely Miscanti and Miñiques, located at 3400m altitude, two intensely turquoise, incredibly beautiful lagoons, that are more than just surreal in this hostile environment, where really not that much grows and lives. Before we ascended to that impressive altitude, we visited the Atacama salt flats, a stunningly white plain of cracked rocks and pieces of salt with flamingoes living in the swamps that are scattered around and in between the vast fields. What made this tour so memorable was not only the fact that we visited all those gorgeous places, but also the guide Fredi, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guy with a contagious fervour for his home region, and the composition of the tour, with us, two friendly and naive Australian girls, an elderly French couple and an elderly Spanish couple, and an Austrian guy that served as the interpretor for the Frenchies. The Spaniards were surprisingly open and I had a good time chatting away to the husband, comparing Franco and Pinochet, praising Unamuno and García Lorca, and listening to his travel stories from Perú. Had I not known that he was Spanish, I would have heard it from his descriptions of another place they visited in the Atacama desert: "¡Prethioso, prethioso! ¡Pero thero por thiento de humedath!" And they were from 'Madrith', by the way.

The tour was so good that we decided to go on the most popular trip in the region, the Geisers del Tatio, with the same company on the following day. We were delighted to find out that Fredi was the guide again, and that the Australian chicks, with whom we shared some good stories and laughs, went on as well. A minuscule downside to that tour was that it started at 4am, to be at the Geysers at sunrise at 6am, during which time they are most active. So we got our lazy asses out of bed at the ungodly hour of 3:30am, to be able to stand outside the hostel to wait for the bus, with scores of other sleepy travellers along the road, looking like they were waiting to be picked up for school. So at 6am, we arrived at the Geysers, paid the entrance fee, and walked around the steaming and fuming holes with a smell of rotten eggs in the air. It was quite nice to pose for silly shots with the smoke in the background, and to make fun of the other tourists, most of which looked so dumb and ugly, it wasn't funny anymore. We then had a quick but nice breakfast, including hot tea, a revelation, seeing that it was around -10º at that time and altitude (approx. 4500m). The next stop was at some hot springs close to the Geysers, and it was more than funny to see everybody peeling out of their thermals and trying to hide behind rocks to change into bathers. The springs themselves weren't too hot, but once inside, many people cried out every once in a while when they hit one of the boiling hot spots in the water. We had fun, especially because we got there before all the other tour groups, and once out and dry, we were watching all the other tourists changing and jumping in, with many of them just getting stark naked and presenting their unsightly schlongs and boobs to our poor eyes. A small detour to a traditional Andean village proved to be not bad, either, but when the hordes crashed there, all wanting to try llama meat, we went on our way back to San Pedro.
We just stayed another day or two in the dusty little desert town, and then went on our way to Iquique.


Iquique:

Probably the best thing about the 8-hour bus ride from San Pedro to the coastal town of Iquique was the selection of DVDs on the bus. Where usually you get visibly penetrated by light-hearted US comedies (in Spanish with English subtitles, of course), the guy who was responsible for the DVD-player proved to have quite a different taste. We saw Mimic, Taking Lives, Mr. Brooks, and fortunately I could convince the guy to show it in English with Spanish subtitles to spare us the horrible dubbing.

Due to a strike of the transport people, the journey took about 3 hours longer than expected, and we arrived at midnight in Iquique, and chose the hostel which was closest to the bus station. Since it wasn't the cheapest one in town, we changed again the next day.

Iquique was pretty uneventful, we didn't have the money to do paragliding, the most popular pastime in town, so we just lurged around, drinking fresh juices at the market, and arguing with Chinese restaurant owners about the price of tofu. After Jaclyn bought two gorgeous souvenirs for herself and her dad, a car and a motorbike made entirely out of shells, the only original souvenirs we'd seen so far, we ran around town trying to find bubble wrap to be able to send it securely, since the things were highly fragile, and we wanted to make sure they arrive in one piece. Every shop we went to send us to the next one, and after looking for the material in about 10 shops we finally found some sort of package foam in a tiny shop owned by a grouchy old man. The following day, we hopped on a bus to Arica, to get even closer to Perú.


Arica:

The Pacific coastal town of Arica really just served as a stopover before going to Perú for us. We stayed in a barebones hostel close to the bus station, ate cheaply at the Hare Krishna-franchise Govinda and at some local eateries, and only went to town to go to the post office to send the parcel to Australia. After a couple of futile attempts, it finally worked in the morning, shortly before we hopped on a shared taxi to the Peruvian border. The border crossing was fairly straightforward, and after an hour and a half we found ourselves in Tacna, the first town on the Peruvian side of things.


Tacna:

We only whiled away about three hours in Tacna to wait for the bus to Arequipa, but the difference to Chile was already quite obvious. We had to watch our backs just a little bit more than before, the food was ridiculously cheap, and people already looked quite different than the typical Chileans. Think shorter in stature, with colourful ponchos and hats. We tried to get something to eat without meat, and a small eatery in the bus station looked quite alright. I asked the lady working there if she can make us something vegetarian, and she offered me pollo, then I said something without meat, and she offered me pollo, so I said no, something without pollo, and she offered me pollo, so I said, ok, just those spaghetti without anything else, and it was fine. So we ate some nice noodles with some sort of pesto plus drinks for less than 2 Euros (4 nuevo soles is around 1 Euro). We then paid the departure tax of one sol and hopped onto the bus to Arequipa, which felt more like an airplane flight, the luggage got checked in before, we had to show our passports, and then we got filmed to make sure nobody else hops on or something, we didn't really understand, but smiled broadly for the camera.


Arequipa:

The second-largest city in Perú, Arequipa ceratinly has lots to offer to keep travellers and tourists alike entertained for a few days. It is close to the deepest cañons in the world, Cañones del Colca y Cotahuasi, but we just didn't feel like doing anything, and we couldn't be fucked to go through the tour company comparing routine again. The only thing we really did there was eating in lots of different vegetarian restaurants for little money, quite a surprise when you think about it, who would've expected that from Perú? We had lots of fake meat and massive portions, so we ended up always ordering just one dish and sharing, and consequently got away even cheaper. The only things we visited was the very interesting Museo Santury, exhibiting an ice mummy called Juanita, the frozen body of an Inca maiden sacrificed on the summit of Nevado Ampato some 500 years ago, and the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, although the entrance fee was quite high. The latter is a massive monastery, almost like a little city within the city, founded in 1580, and the remarkable thing about it is that for almost four centuries, the convent was shrouded in mystery, and the details that got official after the mayor of the city forced the convent's opening to the public in 1970, were more than a bit bizarre. The nuns were selected from the best Spanish families, and they had between one and four black slaves to their disposition, to make sure that their life doesn't change too drastically from their former luxury. In 1871 though, Pope Pius IX sent a strict Dominican nun there to straighten things out, to free the slaves, and give the spoiled nuns a lesson in chastity. Consequently, many of the nuns were role models in love for Jesus and humility, doing everything to cleanse their bodies from bad thoughts, like assuming uncomfortable sleeping positions, whipping themselves, and wearing barbed wire undies (!). Those sick and twisted nuns really made sure that their sadomasochistic love for Jesus be as pure and bloody as possible. Nowadays, there are still three dozen or so nuns hiding in a remote corner of the convent from the streams of visiting tourists. If they still wear the barbed-wire undies remains unknown.


Nazca:

Nazca? Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? Apparently close to the little desert town there are some lines in the sand, and nobody knows where they come from. Of course, those were the only reason we took the detour to the fucked up little town of Nazca, which is full of scams, touts, rip-offs, pickpockets, bagslashers, backstabbers, and other local nogoodniks. The night bus there proved to be quite an interesting ride, stopping in the middle of the night, but not as expected for a hold-up, but because there was another bus on fire on the side of the road. We had to wait a bit until the bomberos made it there and extinguished the fire, but the bus was already a mere skeleton.

When we got off the bus at 5am we were greeted by a horde of touts advertising flights over the lines and hostels, shouting random names of hostels that were recommended by Lonely Planet. We were not in the mood to deal with the vultures, took our luggage, and ran off. One persistent woman followed us up tol a hostel that we chose ourselves, and although we kept ignoring her, she went on advertising her own hostel, and saying the one we're about to go to wasn't any good. We only stayed one night there, since some guys kept knocking on our doors trying to sell us tours. I got quite angry and told the owner she shouldn't let any people pass to our room, since we paid to rest, and not to be annoyed by fucking touts. So we stayed the night, and went to a cheaper, quieter one the next day. Of course, the owner tried to sell us tours as well, but we just refused and went on with our business. Before we headed to town to eat, we took a picture of our luggage to see if it would remain unscathed during our absence. When we came back, it was quite obvious that somebody had fucked around with our luggage and done some amateurish re-arranging. There was nothing missing, but we confronted the owner. The caretaker was insisting nobody had entered the room but we told him we took a picture and compared it, and things had been moved differently to our custom. We just wanted the money back that we had paid for the night, and leave the hostel, naturally. After threatening once again to call the police, we got our will, and ran off to a hostel that was recommended by a fellow traveller.

On the same day, we did a tour to the Chauchilla cemetery, which was more than interesting, dating back to AD 1000, featuring skulls, bones and mummies from the Nazca culture. After being scattered haphazardly across the desert by ransacking tomb-robbers, they are now seen carefully rearranged in a dozen or so tombs. We took our pictures and went back to town, still waiting to do the flight over the Nazca lines, which we were due to do the next day.

The Nazca lines are still one of the world's great archeological mysteries, consisting of over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures (geoglyphs) and concentrated in a relatively small area, some 70 spectacular animal and plant drawings (biomorphs). It still remains unknown who did the lines and why, although it is estimated that they were made by the Paracas and Nazca cultures between 900 BC and AD 600. Or maybe it was those aliens, you never know.
So we did the flight, which lasted about half an hour, ooohd and aaahd a bit at the lines, took some bad pictures, and went on. Really, it was nice, but after taking so much shit in that stupid little desert town, we couldn't be too enthusiastic about it all. Our next destination was already waiting, as we were about to hit a night bus to the Inka capital of Cuzco.


Cuzco:

The majestic city of Cuzco was just sitting there amidst the green mountains, waiting for us to explore and acknowledge its treasures. The only problem is that hundreds of thousands of other travellers flock to the heart of the once mighty Inca empire every year, and the downsides are all too obvious: shocking over-commercialization, high crime rates, begging and an atmosphere that makes it more like a theme park than something to be genuinely appreciated.

Our plan was to stay for 4-5 days in the city to acclimatize to the breathtaking altitude of 3326m before going on a multi-day trek towards Machu Picchu. There are scores of Inca ruins scattered in the close vicinity of Cuzco, and all of them hold a special interest to the taveller, yet, as we were about to find out, to visit them, you needed a nice little bureaucratic invention called the boleto turístico, or tourist card, valid for 16 sights in and around Cuzco, including museums, churches, archeological sites and ruins. Our trusty guidebook told us the price for the ticket was 70 soles, which is quite high but still within the margin of acceptability. When we wanted to buy the ticket at the tourist office, we had to find out that the price had almost doubled to 130 soles within one year, which would have taken a huge chunk out of our budget. We decided to boycot it and to write a flaming complaint in English and Spanish at the tourist office. No, seriously, we were quite pissed off about it. Travellers are treated as walking cash machines in the great city of Cuzco, and there is no regard for the differences in the visiting tourists, backpackers certainly can't spend the same amount of money that wealthy group tourists fom Japan or the USA can in the blink of an eye. That was the first bitter experience we had in Cuzco, and more were up and coming.

We were strolling through a narrow alley between our hostel and the Plaza de Armas, suddenly realizing that a horde of tourists was flocking around a particular stone on a wall of apparent Inca origin. 'That must be the famous 12-sided stone!' we said to ourselves, waiting until the masses left to take our picture. Of course, you do touch it when your picture is being taken with it, there were no signs saying otherwise, but out of the blue a rude voice shouted '¡No tocar!', and a gang of hoodlums, that were under the delusion of being the caretakers of the stone, got really aggressive because of our unknowing desecration. Really, every stupid tourist touches the fucking stone, but they thought they could intimidate us, not expecting me to talk back at them.

Then there are those indigenous women and children walking around in their best traditional gear with their llamas or alpacas on a leash trotting behind them, or with llama babies wrapped up in blankets. Guess what: they want you to take pictures of them for money, which I, of course, am unwilling to do. When I saw one of those ladies huffing and puffing up a steep hill, I saw my chance to take a sneaky shot, but the woman saw me, all of a sudden ran across the street to demand 'Money! Money!' in her best Pidgin-English from me, to which I just replied 'No, thank you', and off I ran. The explosiveness of the only word in her foreign language vocabulary made quite a hard and sharp impact on my moral and emotional rectum, and I didn't know if I should feel like a stupid tourist or more like a really cunning bastard without respect for the locals. But then, she asked for it, didn't she?

Another annoyance, like, you know, majorly annoying and stuff (sorry about the brief excursion into US-American speak), were the touts standing around, offering you everything from paintings, candy, cigarettes, massages, their mom, llama fetuses and other perverse paraphernalia. After a while we started asking them if they want a photo of us for 5 soles, if I could tattoo or pierce them, or we started dancing around them, singing 'We don't want a fucking massa-hage', or running away screaming, not expecting that one time a girl about 5 years of age ran after us, laughing hysterically, waving their dumb finger puppets made out of alpaca wool at us.

After a couple of days we were so fed up with the whole environment that we decided not to do the 4 or 5-day trip to Machu Picchu, since we didn't want to ask around at hundreds of agencies about tents, alternative food, porter welfare, tipping and digging holes in the middle of the night in the mountains to shit. They were too expensive for us anyway, ranging anywhere from 300-600$, US, that is. The other option was to hop on a train to Aguas Calientes, otherwise known as Machu Picchu pueblo, the spring board to Machu Picchu itself, stay there for one night, and on the next day get up really early to take the first bus to the ruins to beat the crowds (haha, the naïveté!). I mean, if they treat us like stupid tourists, we might as well pay as little as possible to visit the one thing we actually wanted to see, only reason why we came to Cuzco in the first place. What's the point in going on that 4-day hike, getting all nice and wet and muddy (due to rainy season), having to worry if that poor indigenous man breaks his back on my overweight backpack that he could never afford to buy himself, pretending to feel all spiritual once finally arrived at Machu Picchu. The scores of douchebags that pretend to feel the special vibe and magic of the place are nothing more than a bunch of fucking hippies, they don't know anything about the belligerent, bloodthirsty Inka empire, they can't even spell Atahualpa, Tahuantinsuyo or Pachacutec, or tie their own shoes, for that matter. I won't pretend I'm one of them, and I don't want to belong, I'm different, holier than them, high and mighty, and I don't give a fuck.


Aguas Calientes:

The backpacker train to Aguas Calientes was an experience as well, being packed to the roof with people, and you literally had to sit knee to knee with the other people. A bit less than pleasant were the three or four switchbacks to change the railway tracks, with the same locals standing outside, looking at us each time. During the 4-hour journey, we also saw the people at the beginning of the famous Inca trail. Neat foreigners with expensive Mammut and North Face gear, carrying a small and handy day pack, handling a carbon or titanium walking stick. Then we saw their porters. Local indigenous men in sandals, which were about to fall apart, shouldering the big backpacks of the tourists and big grain sacks on top of that, which bend their necks forward in more than uncomfortable positions. I could feel the pain just looking at them. I bet those god-damn hippies who go on the trail don't give a rat's ass about those guys breaking their backs and necks for them. They just go on their spiritual journey to find their inner mantra, or to be one with the earth, to feel the vibes of the ground they tread on.

What can be said about Machu Picchu pueblo? Unplanned development, perpetual construction and higher prices than in Cuzco make this the ugliest, most exploitative town in the whole of Perú, despite the setting in the deep valley below the ancient Inca ruins, enclosed by towering walls of stone and cloud forest. We had to bargain so hard to get a bottle of water for just a little more than in the rest of the country, and not for double the price. We had to buy the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu, which had almost doubled since last year (aaah, the surprise) to 120 soles, as well as the bus to and from Machu Picchu, another 44 soles. There is really nothing memorable about this town, except that we were really happy to hop on the train back to Cuzco again. A funny thing while waiting at the train station was the sudden wave of Japanese people that swept over Aguas Calientes, all of them running out to stand in a nice and neat line for the toilets. Don't get me wrong, I like Japanese people, they're really nice, they just don't have souls, all of them really need an appointment with a good dentist, and they shouldn't always go apeshit about those used panty-vending machines.


Machu Picchu:

So we got up at 4:30am just to arrive at the bus station and line up with the other idiots for the 5:30 buses (they were providing 22 buses at that time) to the Inca citadel. An Asian guy was filming the whole line of people, with me first flashing the finger at him, and when he went on a second lap, insulting him with my five words of Japanese, to which he replied 'I'm from Hong Kong'. Oh well, at least it'll be a nice video to show to his friends and family.

After about half an hour we arrived at the entrance of Machu Picchu, passing the only hotel next to the ruins, where a room costs an easy 1,000$. When we got out, I felt the strong urge to wait in the bus for the return trip, or to run back to Aguas Calientes. I was already so fed up with everything we had to endure to get to that point, and I wasn't really in the mood for it anymore. Nonetheless, we entered, after standing in line with the other twats, of course, and had a good look at the mist. That was all there was to see, apart from the tour groups in colourful ponchos, highlights in the dense fog, walking around like a bunch of smurfs. We tried to get off the beaten path, which was quite impossible. You probably could have a good view from the Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock, but only after it clears up, and we just stood there, wondering why the hell we came here, and spying on the llamas to kill some time.

We then went on to the Saced Plaza with the Principal Temple and the House of the High Priest, trying to ignore the dumb-ass Spaniards being really loud and obnoxious, in accordance with their stereotypical and expected behaviour. A few unmotivated pictures later we were at the Temple of the Three Windows, and then went onwards to the Central Plaza, and making our way to the registration booth for the hike to Wayna Picchu.

From there on it got a lot better, since not everybody goes to Wayna Picchu, and even less people go at the early hour of 8am. The ascend was breathtakingly steep, and only after about 45 minutes did we arrive at Wayna Picchu, which translates to 'Young Peak', towering majestically over Machu Picchu. There were several lookouts where you could truly appreciate the pristine surroundings, green mountains covered in fog, and a river meandering through the valley. It was only here that I understood why the Incas worshipped and loathed the mountains, inscrutable giants consisting of merciless rock, being a sight far more impressive than the man-made Machu and Wayna Picchu.

To get to the top of Wayna Picchu, we had to go on all fours through a narrow and dark cave, and got ourselves a bit nice and dirty, for once. All the bigger was our surprise to see quite a few people who had made it to the top, but the vibe was different from the one down at MaPi, everybody was sitting there, relaxing, admiring the gorgeous surroundings, without being too obnoxious and annoying. We stayed there quite a while, watching as the mist cleared and the view getting better and better, taking our shots, and finally making our way back to Machu Picchu.

The rest of our time at the ruins, we admired the local flora and fauna, vizcachas, lizards, birds, orchids, trying to ignore the abundant fucktards uttering unintelligent comments like 'Wow, can you imagine how many children the Inkas sacrificed here, they must have been hundreds' and the even stupider reply 'Yeah, at least they had a means of population control, not like China'. Uargh. It was actually the Aztecs that sacrificed human beings on a large scale, not the Inkas, and certainly not at Machu Picchu, and with regard to China, er...one child-policy? Retards. By the way, the originators of said verbal diarrhea were from 'America', but not from El Salvador, Guyana or Jamaica, but from the USA.
So yeah, we just walked around for another hour or two, enjoying the sun which had finally decided to come out, marvelling at the agricultural terraces, at the Temple of the Condor, and the general stupidity of all mankind, before catching the bus back to Aguas Calientes, and then the train to Cuzco.

I had waited for this for so long, and all in all, it was a big disappointment, not only because of the high costs, the rip-offs, the extreme commercialization, but also and above all because of the respectless and dull masses, inundating this unique little remote spot. Some Japanese scientists from the University of Kyoto announced in 2001 that the steep slopes on the Western side of Machu Picchu were slipping downwards at the rate of 1cm per month, prefacing a possible catastrophic landslide in the not-too-distant future. All of Machu Picchu could get lost in that fashion, and I must say, it would be good riddance. The mindless tourists, and especially the Peruvians don't deserve to have this attraction, and it would be better for everyone if it just disappeared from the face of the earth. Those are my two cents. I certainly won't go back to Machu Picchu in at least 25 years, there's much more to see on this planet, and most of it can be done with only a fracture of the hassle you get in the heartland of Perú.


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Epilogue:

It took me almost a week to write this blog, mostly because I'm a lazy bitch that gets his ass up only once a month to write, and there are always too many noteworthy things happening. I spent long hours in smelly internet cafés writing this, uploading almost 100 pictures on slow computers. I've been on the road for almost nine months now, and I currently hate travelling, travellers, cities, towns, villages, countries, myself, and you guys. You don't really deserve this blog, you are unworthy of it, of the work that I put in. You call yourself friends, but really you are absentee landlords, not giving a shit about where I am and what I do, out of sight, out of mind, for you are too entangled in your own fucking lives to actually sacrifice some time to communicate with a lonesome fellow far away from home. Yes, I am being pathetic, but at least I'm not as lousy a fiend as you guys are, and I wish you a Merry fucking Christmas and Happy New Year up your rectal orifices. Over and out.


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