Published: January 7th 2012January 7th 2012
Hello again to all, once again a lot of time between entries as we had no internet once we left Cusco. To catch up- Elliot felt a bit better the next day (just in time for New Year´s Eve), but still a bit shakey, so we took it pretty easy, we explored the city of Cusco, San Blas, the markets, and went to a few interesting museums. The day went by pretty fast and we went to a cultural show with music, and dancing from the Andes, Incas etc... very interesting. We went to have a few drinks before new year´s over looking the plaza and tried a maracuya sour (yum!). We were also both chatted up by a very drunk local man who bought us beer (very odd)... but after decided we hadn´t been drugged we drank it! We went down to the plaza for new years, bought a bottle of champàgne on the street to pop at new years and stood around listening to the show with local music. The night turned into a manic night of broken bottles, fireworks breezing past our heads and a stampede at the end of the night. Pretty crazy but fun...
The next day we went with a group to the sacred valley, and saw five of the main inca sites near and around cusco. Pretty interesting! We learned quite a bit about inca culture, history and traditions. We also walked up to a few little museums which were included on our tourist ticket for free and learned quite a bit about Inca and Cusco history. The sacred valley tour got us back late and we had dinner and headed to bed before our early start to the Manu reserve.
Our trip the the Manu Reserve - Amazon trip. We headed out early on the monday to catch a local bus with our guide Viktor a local who studied birds and plants of the Amazon. The bus trip was quite terrifying for me as it was a one way street on huge cliffs, the road was pretty poor, full of flooding, landslides and what seemed like a roller coaster of turns and bumps... we had a breakfast stop in a local Andean town (it was freezing up in the mountains), before heading down in to the cloud forrest (it was soo hot and humid!). Around 2pm we arrived in san pedro a tiny area with an eco lodge and a few houses. We camped at a local workers house and had lunch there before setting up camp and going on a walk to check out the wild life and plants, we saw the national bird of peru, other cool birds and learned quite a bit of information about jungle plants and the cloud forrest. Luckily we didn´t get rained on... although it poured over night!
The next morning after an early walk to check out early morning wildlife we had breakfast and packed up camp. Due to it being wet season we had to find our own ride to the next village because the buses weren´t running- we luckily were able to hitch hike on the back of a pick up truck owned by a dutch family who runs an eco lodge down the road. An hour an a half later we reached the town of Pilcopata after travelling through a few small villages. We hung out for an hour while Viktor hunted down a ride to the next village an hour and a bit away. He was able to get us ride on the back of a truck carrying fruit, drinks, rice and people. We rode in the back of this truck, sweating, covered in dirt, bugs and chatting with the locals who were headed home with their purchased goods, quite crazy! We ended up in Salvacion at 3pm in the afternoon and spent the night in a local hostal, ate at a local joint with one meal choice, but dirt cheap! ($4 for 3 people to eat a 2 course meal!). The next morning after breakfast we headed to a lake where were paddled around in search of animals and did a bit of a hike. The owner of the company we were travelling with and a few of his friends who were staying at the next campsite came to meet us in Salvacion and helped carry our goods down to the river and we jumped on a boat to the campsite- 20 min later we arrived at their camp which was set up amazingly. The land had been given to Carolina the owner of the company a year ago as a peruvian who said she would help to re grow the land after it was destroyed by a landslide 10 year ago. They had their goal to get the camp running with the help of volunteers to re grow the area and create a bit of a haven for people interested in plants, animals, the jungle and horticulture. The campsite was sooo cool- think of the Beach movie where they had a haven away from society set up with a sleeping area, eating area, kitchen area, toliet, shower all made by hand, built with leaves, vines, bamboo etc- They had directed underground water to made a bathing area, dish area, laundry area, drinking water area and were in the process of building a toliet with water. They were growing produce to cook and eat and went to the main land as little as possible to pick up meat and grains.
We camped their for 2 nights and did quite a few hikes looking out for animals, relaxed in hammocks, swam in creeks etc... We went early one morning down the river on boat by 15 minutes to a parrot clay lick where we discovered lots of parrots, macaws and cool colourful birds. Followed by a long hike that morning and afternoon we were exhausted! The afternoon was spend lounging around and swimming a bit. The next morning we had a bit of a sleep in and packed up our gear. We boated back to salvacion and had lunch and showered before getting on a long bus ride back to cusco... we were on the bus from 4 pm until 4am, through the jungle, the andes and finally back to cusco. We caught a few hours sleep in the hostel and then went to get laundry done and buy a few things for the inca trail. We head to the inca trail tomorrow morning and return to cusco on the night of the 11th before heading on the bus to Puno on the 12th.
Until next time! K and E