Published: June 21st 2009June 21st 2009
The beautiful mountain is said to be the inspiration begind the Paramount Pictures logo.
This is going to be a short day time-wise. It’s 6:30 in the evening and I hope to be asleep within an hour. Unfortunately, this cold is really beating me down. The congestion really makes it hard to breathe when you’re at 11,000 ft!
I didn’t get much sleep last night - that sure didn’t help my cold - because I left for the airport at about 3:15 in the morning. The flight was again without problems. It was about 2/3 full of Japanese tourists including the two ladies who sat next to me. They spoke a little English and were very polite and helpful in the short 50-minute flight.
Because of clouds and the early morning hour, sightseeing in the Andes was very limited, but I did get a good look at Artesonraju, the steep, pointed 6025m peak northwest of Cusco. It was very beautiful in the morning light.
Arrival was smooth. My bag was one of the first half-dozen off the plane and out I went into the 36° weather to find that the hotel had not sent a taxi! I waited 20 minutes before finally deciding to accept the ridiculously high price of 20 soles
This is the more beautiful of the two churches in the main Plaza. Jesuits priests intended it to be better, but the Bishop did not want it to overshadow the main cathedral. By the time word came from the Pope that the Jesuits had to back off their plans, the church was already near completion.
(about 7 dollars). This wasn’t a good first impression of Hostal Peregrino.
Upon arrival, I had barely stepped out of the hotel to find someone waiting to grab my bags. That may not sound like much, but the hotel is on a pedestrian street and they didn’t know I was coming. Evidently the young man had been waiting in the hope that I found alternative transportation.
Check-in was smooth, though language challenges made it a little tough to get everything about my itinerary locked in. My room is very small with a tiny TV and a small leak in the bathroom sink. Normally I’d be a little upset, but the tremendous service I’ve received has made up for everything.
Before I had barely settled in, she brought me a cup of coca tea. (Yeah, it’s the same coca that cocaine is made from, but it’s unrefined and has no effects as a drug except to alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness.) Next she brought me an extra table to set up my computer.
When I went to see about getting all my travel arrangements - especially the Machu Picchu trip - lined up, I began to get
This group of girls seemed to be havoing a great time dancing. Though most of the groups waiting until they got to the main plaza to perform, these girls danced all the way down the street.
a little worried because she was unsure about any of it. Apparently she was able to contact Hugo, the man with whom I have been arranging everything, and he confirmed everything. I was really surprised when she lowered the price to $210 for taxis to and from the train station in Poroy just outside of town, a seat on the backpacker train to and from Aguas Calientes, a guide once I’m there, a ticket to the site, a guide, and an equal quality hotel in the village of Aguas Calientes. On top of that, she knocked off another 20 soles because I had to pay for the taxi.
I had heard from several folks that this hostal is family run. When I asked to put my passport and wallet in the safe, she said she could, but there was no reason to since everyone here is family and anything is safe. She repeatedly warned me about taking anything outside in the crowds, though.
The location is about 20 meters off the main Plaza de Armas which life here has revolved around for centuries. It’s a pretty good location, but the concert going on is going to make sleeping
Who would have imagined such a thing -- not one, but three parade floats dedicated to the hysteria over Swine Flu (which is still very real in Peru). This one has a giant pig wearing a gas mask and carrying a giant syringe. He is accompanied by "doctors" also carrying huge syringes.
a little tough even after the allergy pills I took.
As bad as I felt upon arrival, I had to get out and see the city. Turns out, the Inti Raymi event is actually going on for several days prior to the big ceremony on the 24th. Though I couldn’t get a good spot in the Plaza, I was able to walk along the streets and get a close-up look at the different floats and groups that were in line to perform in front of the massive crowd.
I’ve never seen anything like it. It appeared that allegorical stories were the theme of the day, but there were a couple of themes that were repeated several times. I’ve never seen a Swine Flu float in a parade, but today there were two! Also, there were a number of floats supporting the Indians in the north who had been killed by police. These were particularly graphic floats. One had blood-soaked Indian bodies and another had a paper-mache Indian struck with two huge bullets.
The dance groups were my favorite because they appeared to be high school and university students who were having a great time dancing in their
Tens of thousands of people crowded the Plaza and all along the parade route.
costumes. The traditional dances were quite beautiful and there was lots of Andean music to give the whole parade a marvelous feel.
After about an hour of this, I did a little walking around the city and marveled at the incredible number of Inca walls upon which this city is built. Once you get over the tourist-feel of everything around the Plaza, it’s a really beautiful city. I hope I get used to the altitude soon. It’s not the usual oxygen-deprivation problem that is affecting me so much, but rather the fact that I am so badly out-of-shape and still traipsing up and down climbs that would make San Francisco jealous.
Finally, around 5:00, I decided it was time to eat. A quick meal of arroz chaufa con pollo (rice with bits of eggs and chicken mixed in with some other spices) and a trip to the pharmacy for medicine and the store for a few things to munch on in the room found me ready to return here.
If I feel okay tomorrow, I plan to go to the market at Chinchero. It is supposed to be one of the best and most traditional Andean markets
This church is most famous for housing inside the remains of the Inca's most important temple, Corichancha. Despite being destroyed by earthquakes several times, the Inca foundation was barely affected.
in all of South America.
There are more photos below