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Published: January 11th 2010
Thanks to SEPTA, BoltBus, and the LIRR, I made it on board my flight from JFK towards Cusco, with my first stop in Cancun. Unfortunately, I didn´t have a chance to spend any time there. I haven´t flown American Airlines in a while, and I don´t remember the check-in process ever being quite so slow. You´d think it would go quickly since it was just a bag drop and we all already had our boarding passes. In any case, I watched my bag get loaded on the plans, so I knew it would at least make it to Cancun. Actually, I haven´t been on such and empty flight in a very long time - almost everyone got a row to themselves.
Fast forward a few ours and I´ve landed at Cancun. Despite being told my bag was checked through to Cusco, I found out that I would need to pick up and recheck my bag here, and again in Lima. One more strike against the American Airlines ground crew, but thank you to LAN Peru for knowing that I would have to do that. Of course, I had to go through immigration and customs in Cancun, and also in Lima.
I hadn´t intended to have a Mexico stamp in my passport, but I got one.
In any case, while waiting to recheck my bags at Cancun I met a few Chapman University students who were on their way to Machu Picchu as well, though they´re camping there for a few nights as part of a filmmaking course. I ended up eating a burrito in the airport food court and then grabbing a couple of drinks with my newfound friends at one of the airport bars.
The LAN Peru planes were excellent - both seemed relatively new, and the long-haul flight had a wonderful IFE system. Unfortunately, landing at 4am (when it feels like 2am) means waking up early in the sleep cycle and being tired the rest of the day. I slept the entire flight to Cuzco, so I can´t comment on the supposedly excellent vistas from above. I also took a nap this afternoon.
I was supposed to have been picked up at the airport by my hostel, but they didn´t show. I was all set to take a taxi, but instead I decided to buy a tour for tomorrow from a guy who offered a
free ride if I did. Hopefully that´s fun and informative.
I spent the morning wandering around the city of Cuzco, taking in the sights and smells. The air quality is pretty bad, the traffic heavy, and the sidewalks too small for all the people. And yet, it´s a very charming place. After finding a place that could make me an ISIC card, I bought my Cuzco Tourist Ticket, which gives me access to a bunch of the sights, and my ticket for entry into Machu Picchu. I stopped for a late snack/lunch of Tamales Cuzqueños and coffee. The tamales were pretty delicious. While sitting to eat, I realized I was beginning to get sunburned on the back of my neck and hands, which I hadn´t even considered because the sun didn´t seem any stronger than in Telluride. I chalk the difference up to the air pollution. In any case, I´ll be wearing more sunscreen from here on out, at least at altitude.
I´ll update you all more probably after my return from Machu Picchu.
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