The hunt for Cusco
27.09.2008 - 27.09.2008
Sub-sub heading: The day everything went wrong.
Welcome to Machu Picchu day. Are you ready for this?
So, last night, in an attempt to be smart (ish), I washed the clothes I wanted to wear to Machu Picchu so they wouldn´t have my germs all over them and I might start to feel better. But alas, this is the JUNGLE, and therefore when I woke up in the morning, my clothes were probably more wet than they were when I washed them. Enter panic. These were the only pants I brought with me for this part of the trip (we left most of our luggage in Cusco at our hotel there). So, after much panic and crankiness, I wore a pair of Laura´s pants, and she wore her jeans.
This morning Laura woke up and her wrist hurt quite a bit for no apparent reason, so she wrapped it with an ace bandage meant for an ankle, making her arm look five times its proper size. Enter more crankiness. I was also still feeling quite sick, so I took a bunch of medicine, and we headed off for the bus station. We took the bus up to Machu Picchu, and paid a sole to use the stupid bathroom before we went into the ruins. They make you pay for all kinds of stuff like that here, the bathroom especially. But only the foreigners. I´ll talk more about that in another entry, about discrimination. I have a lot of interesting things to tell on that topic.
So, to make a long story short, I promptly burned my shoulders to a crisp, and got eaten alive by these stupid sandflies, called no-see-ums. They bite a hunk off of your skin, which bleeds, and then forms a giant swollen bump that never seems to go away. To steal someone else´s words, they rape your skin and then leave you looking like you have smallpox. And boy do I ever. I have at LEAST 50 bites, all over my legs. And of course they itch like a mosquito bite on crack. I mean, I dont care if you want to steal some of my skin, but why be a bastard about it and make it itch too? The worst part is I was warned about them, but didn´t think they would be on Machu Picchu. My stupidity amazes me sometimes.
We saw some fun animals up on Machu Picchu, including chinchillas, lizards, and of course llamas. We took lots of hilarious pictures and video with the llamas, hoping one of them was Cusco. If you haven´t seen the Emperor´s new Groove, please stop reading this immediately, go rent it and watch it (nay, go BUY it, you will thank me later), and then return. You will understand. I tried to dry my clothes in the sun (yes, I carried all my wet clothes up there, like I said I´m retarded), but got in trouble by the tourist police with their whistles.
We wanted to go to Huaynapicchu, the big mountain up there, but since the fiasco in the morning we didnt get a ticket for that, since they only let so many people up there per day. Sad. But maybe someday I will go back and do that.
We were both pretty cranky with each other (seems funny now, but not then), so we sorta went off and did our own thing for a good part of the day. And the most bizarre thing happened to me while wandering around. First, I heard a french woman in front of me say SOMETHING about the girl with the red hair (I know more french then spanish, but not too much of either) and then her and her husband turned around to look at me. Then, later, THREE separate times, people asked to take a picture with me. The first time I thought I was getting in the way of their shot, but they insisted that I get in it. Oh and at least one time someone obviously took a picture with me in the background, but didn´t actually ask me to be in it. I have no idea why. Apparently I look like a celebrity here. I mean, I get mistaken for a celebrity ALL the time back in the states, but in Peru? Mind boggling. What I SHOULD have done is tell people that I´m not who they think I am (who do they think I am, anyway?), but instead I just started pretending like it wasn´t surprising to want a picture with me. I´m such a ham. I feel a little bad for them when they get home and compare the pics with their magazines or whatever and realize they´ve been duped, but hey they started it! I don´t think it was just a small mistake either, because people were staring at me ALL DAY. Maybe they just were astounded at the number of bug bites I had and figured I would be a guinness record holder or something.
Part way through the day a rain storm went through, leaving a gorgeous rainbow afterwards. It was so pretty! My favorite part of the rainstorm though is that everyone got out their raincoats, and raincoats have a tendency to be SO much more colorful than normal people clothes, so it was suddenly a rainbow all over the ruins, and it made me happy
I´m going to put some pictures in here of the rules on Machu Picchu later...
There were some pretty interesting people at the ruins too. Like one lady who was walking around with white gloves on, carrying an umbrella over her head (not during the rainstorm, just in general), bossing people around. And then there were the two guys wearing the exact same shirt walking around together. I´ll put pictures of those in later too.
So I suppose the only thing I haven´t really talked about yet is Machu Picchu itself. And that is because you can´t describe it. I would love to spew out some profound lyrical ramblings right here, but it doesn´t suffice, and I won´t do it the injustice of trying. It is certainly a healing and spiritual place, and you can´t deny the feeling you get when you walk through the entrance and see that it´s real. I´ll put up some pictures of it if I get the chance, and maybe they will convey it a little more. You really need to go there yourself, though. I´ll go with you!
We stayed at Machu Picchu until it closed, and then went to dinner at a French peruvian restaurant called Indio Feliz. It was very fancy, and we had a meal of Avacado and papaya appetizer, salmon with mango, sweet bread, peruvian potato chips, sweet potato (yuck), green beans (yum), tomato with black goop in it (didn´t try that), creme caramel for dessert, all with the relaxing ambiance of 80s rock panflute music in the background. I´m not kidding about the music. I recorded some of it as proof.