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Published: January 19th 2016
Today was an amazing day! I arrived at Cusco and in the baggage claim section I overhear two American accents behind me and I immediately asked them where they were from. “Chicago,” one said. “Montana,” said the other. I learned their names were Josh and Jason. They had too met on their travels, through an Ayahuasca ceremony they did in the Amazon.
They asked me where I was staying. “Loki Hostel,” I responded. Josh’s eyes lit up, “I keep hearing about that place. Its the party hostel, right?” “That’s the one!” I replied.
I’ve been hearing more and more about the medicine of Ayahuasca, it is gaining quite the popularity. I’ve been on the urge to join in on a ceremony. I hear Mother Aya can really help me internally and spiritually. I have been learning about her ever since I moved to California. Being an extreme hallucinogen, I was always wary, even afraid to partake. However, with where my life has been going, I have never felt so ready. This ceremony has rules too. Three days before, one must follow this strict diet:
1. No alcohol or drugs of any kind
No sex or masterbation
3. No chocolate
4. No red or processed meats
5. No excessive salts or sugars
So here I am, in the biggest party hostel in Cusco, sitting in the computer room writing with the soulful stylings of Pitbull ringing in my ear. I’m also trying to bed early to avoid altitude sickness. I’ve been doing well with it actually, drinking lots of water. Coca tea is bomb too, totes smuggling some packs back with me to the states!
Anyway, back to the airport -- Josh was interested in also rooming with the group at Liki too. He offered that we all split a cab if we waited 30 minutes for their friend Shane who was on another flight. Expecting to be totally outnumbered, gender-wise, Shane walks up. She’s an Chinese girl, tough from New York, complete with a shaved head and a kind face. Josh is also sporting a shaved head, also Asian(ish) with a tatto of what looks like the South East Asian Islands down his side. Jason is a tall one, total dad bod. Makes sense, because back at home is his wife and two
children. A ginger. And together we were the fantastic four.
Loki Hostel is amazing -- also made me realize what a shithole Kokopelli was. The beds here are little bit more uncomfortable, but i’ll take that any day over the smell of feet. The hostel accommodated us and just for a whopping 70 cents more, I can change my reservation and stay with them! Gotta love that currency exchange rate! We spent the whole day together, roaming around Plaza de Armes, the historic square: heart of the city. We ate at Jack’s cafe. I got the grilled chicken with portobello mushrooms and mushroom sauce over mash. So good!! It’s like real fucking food here, amazing.
They also helped me find some credible Ayahuasca places around. I have to go back tomorrow to get more information. Also, I’m super excite because when we walked into Liki, they advertised day and week excursions. So smart on their part, all the hostels having mini travel agencies inside. You can book anything you want right then and there. I saw one for horseback riding tour through the mountains of Cusco. It was only $35 USD. Hell Yea! Flashback
to my horseback riding tour in the wineries of Temecula, CA. (Shout out to my girls, Camille, Mari and Bryn…and my horse, Maverick, I’ll never forget you!) I’ve realized that if I always had the choice of exploring a city through a different mode of transportation, I will always pick ‘by horse’ every time.
Walking up the elevated stairs around Cusco made me very
short of breath and dizzy. The altitude here is no joke. I’m officially concerned for my life on the Inca Trail. Hopefully I’ll be acclimated and ready for it in five days.
Having spoke with Jason about Ayahuasca, I now know that I should do at least a three-day ceremony. I just don’t know how it will work with my current schedule. In order not to rush it, it means I would have to do it the days after I get back from Inca Trail. That also means I would have to give up seeing Bolivia AND Lake Titicaca (hah, I still love that name
). But Jason did ask me one paralyzing question, “What experience are you really here for? Self-growth and spirituality or or to add more pictures to
your Facebook page?” …Jeez, Jason, when you put it like that
. Its a shame they can’t join me though. They will be doing San Pedro, the Grandfather, the next two days and then away they go. I have a feeling that I will be pulled into the direction that is right for me on the grounds of when and where this spiritual journey will take place.
How can I explain Cusco? Hmmmm…in one word? Majestic.
It is a smaller city (compared to Los Angeles, that is…then again, everything is a small city compared to LA.) The city is both historic, old and well preserved yet bustling with new city life. There are huge Cathedrals and Cathedral-looking buildings all over that probably don’t look too far off from their births. There are the cutest stray dogs running around everywhere. Wolf-like mutts, all of them. Don’t feel bad for them though, the altitude rids them of fleas and they all look pretty well fed. Its pleasant watching them in their packs, as if it is the life they are truly meant to live.
The impoverished dirty children on the streets break my heart though. Their mothers desperately selling little souvenir items to provide for their wide-eyed offspring. The children are slung to the mothers backs with beautiful rainbow cloths tied around their chests. I even saw a small girl in one, with a face that looked like acid had been poured on it. Her mother had a face to match. Terrible. Their aren’t too many however. I’ve only seen a few, but each one prepares me for what I will see in Brazil. Apparently these images are a lot more common there. On another observational note: only in America are our poor overweight. The impoverished here actually look
hungry. To do my part, I’ve been saving the last 10%!o(MISSING)f each meal I eat in order to box it up and give it to the first hungry person I see. They are so grateful when I hand them the meal. It is the least I can do.
The winding cobblestone roads weave in and out of the preserved buildings, reminding me a lot of Europe and why I didn’t bring a pair of high heels. I like it here. I love the architecture and, of course, the people. The bug of wanderlust has taken a chomp out of my ass and I swear if it wasn’t for my sister’s wedding, I wouldn’t come back. I would just work odd jobs to get around. It took traveling alone to finally understand the passion and comradery of travel. The thought of opening up my own hostel somewhere abroad came to mind today. Anything is possible! Off to bed now…
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