a broken watch and the city of my dreams


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South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu
May 28th 2006
Published: May 28th 2006
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well, I think I will have one more entry before I go, but it is possibly my last one as I have a long busride ahead tomorrow evening, a bit of shopping to do, plus saying my farewells to the latino world... only to say hello to the chicano world in cali. 😊

so today I arrived back in Cuzco from the one and only machu picchu. Unfortunately I am extremely tired so I won't be able to describe in this email the extent of my love and amazement that I have for this truly magnificent lugar. It was absoutely breathtaking, in more ways than one, though it is lower in altitude than Cuzco.

Where to begin? After a long and rather unsuccesful day of shopping at the market in Pisac, I took a couple buses and a train to Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu. On the train I got fairly nervous that it was just going to be far too turisty for me to enjoy. I was surrounded by tourists and english... (all of the peruanos are in another car). When I got to the town it was madness, trying to find my way through the hoards of people, to buy a ticket and get a place to stay. Not much fun.

Once I found my place, I took a nice hot shower (it ain't called aguas callientes for nothing), and set my watch for four in the morning. Unfortunately 4 dollar watches aren't as dependent as you think they would be. 😊 I woke up at 5:30 at the sound of the first bus making its way to the ruins. The watch didn't go off... and this won't be the last you will here of this watch in this story. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my bag, ran out the door, and met a great spaniard to hike with. there would be no 6 dollar busride for us. It was going to be just like the hike in Costa Rica, learning catel├ín as we hiked through beautiful mountains. Only it didn't happen, because after 10 minutes of walking I realized I forgot the camera.

So yeah I ended up hiking up alone under the quickly lightening sky, but I think it was better alone. I was immediately blown away by the forested mountains around me and the roaring river below me. Already I was in love with the place.

I arrived at the top some 70 minutes after I left, just as the sun was hitting the top of Waynu picchu. Crowds hoarded around the top, where you see the classic scene below of machu picchu with waynu picchu in the background. I think I was too caught up in the excitement too of taking photos and finding a tour to really realize where I was.

The tour was nice, it was all in spanish, sometimes I wondered if the guide was just making stuff up, but for the most part it was great to walk around and have the various parts of the city described in detail. To me it is amazing how much of the city was in tact. According to the guide, about 30% has been restored. We learned about how the city was used as a religious retreat of sorts. Everthing faces east, towards the sunrise. The windows are aligned perfectly for summer and winter equinoxes, which was especially true in the temples. They used pretty intelligent aquaduct/water systems which were largely intact or restored.

After the guide, I joined with 2 Asian-Brazilians. We ate with the llamas (as apposed to the locals who EAT the llama). Then we went up the steep tiring mountain of Waynu Picchu and got to see how the city is in the shape of a condor (or at least pretend like we could see it). You could also see a 360 view of the area, the glaciers on the high peaks, the river winding its way around below, and all of the green mountains. Fabulous!

But the highlight was really afterwards. Almost of the people left after 3:30 and all was quiet, except for the sound of the wind through the mountains. I sat around the city admiring the work of the ancient peoples, amazed by the huge rocks they used, and the precise cuts they made so that there were no spaces between the rocks. Better yet, was sitting above the city, with views of everything. Here tears came to my eyes as I admired the location and the magestic mountains, and how perfectly this city fit in. Even the rounded edges of the city matched the rounded edges of the moutains above. Everything right then are there was perfect.

All in all it was a really great place to finish the trip and sit and think back to various parts of this wonderful ride. Like I've been saying, I am ready to come home, but I am so appreciative to have done this. I feel like I have so many rich experiences to look back on now. There are so many wonderful new people in my life to talk to and visit. I can't wait to start going around the world to see everybody. At the same time, again the trip has reaffirmed my love for the bay area with its diversity in people, culture, food, nature, ways of thinking, etc, etc. There is just no other place quite like it. Also I am so lucky to all of you terrific people to come back to, who all helped make this trip possible and have supported me along the way. Can't wait to see everybody.

Anyway so now I find myself back in Cuzco, after another long day, starting at 4:45 in the morning, and having to run to the bus because somewhere between last night and this morning my watch lost 20 minutes, lucky for my I asked someone this morning if it was right, and found out I had 5 minutes to run from my hotel to the train. Great way to start the day, huh? Then I checked out some other ruins around the sacred valley, did some shopping, met some new friends, and here I am.

So anyway, I hope to sum up the trip with one last blog, put a close to this... but if I don't before I get back, I bid farewell to these beautiful countries, and hello to the only home I know. gracias a todos for reading these long tired blogs. Can't wait to share stories, pictures, meals, and smiles... and then catch up on a whole lot of sleep. 😊
okay buenas noches america latina.
paz
mikael

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