|March 27 -- After
two weeks in the thin air of Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the surrounding Andes,
we've pretty much adjusted and can climb up those Inca ruins with the best
of them. There's lots more we can explore around here, but the rainy
season isn't quite over yet, and the Galapagos Islands are beckoning.
We head off to Ecuador tomorrow.
Cuzco has been great, though the persistence of the kids
on the Plaza de Armas selling postcards, shoeshines, gum and other trinkets
has certainly led to "vendor fatigue". It was a lot less intense
both in Lima and also at Aguas Calientes, down the mountain from Machu
Machu Picchu was great, of course. We spent two
full days exploring the ruins and could have gone back for more.
Our knees, alas, were starting to protest. You want to see it all,
but you also need to pace yourself. Machu Pichu is definitely worth
a return visit.
We understand there's a war going on in the outside world, but fortunately
we have little access to the international media. We do see anti-American
grafitti showing up on the big stone walls around town, and there are posters
for a peace rally here in Cuzco tomorrow afternoon. Several Peruvians
we've talked to are aware that Canada is not supporting the U.S. in its
war efforts, and are respectful of that position.
After seven months on the road, we feel a little distant from the day
to day world. Sometimes that tempers our perspective.
March 25 -- We headed out into the countryside this morning to
check out some of the nearby Inca ruins around Cuzco. Carol stayed
back to do some shopping, so John and I went off with a New Zealand couple
who are staying at our hotel. We grabbed a taxi to Tambo Machay,
a small ruin about eight kilometers up into the hills. We figured
it would be about a four or five hour hike past four Inca sites and back
It was a warm and mostly quiet day. We followed horse and llama
trails through the hills and meadows, hoping our map was adequate and accurate.
Fortunately it was all downhill.
There were supposed to be four separate ruins: Tambo Machay, Puka Pucara,
Qenko and Saksayhuaman (yes, often pronounced as "sexy woman"). We
found a couple more smaller sites as well, big granite rocks with staircases
and benches carved into them. A couple other folks joined us along
the way, obviously figuring we knew where we were going.
We also encountered foreign travelers on horseback, unsure of where
they were really going, and locals camped out in a couple valleys, just
hanging out and preparing for some sort of ritual or something. Each
of the ruins had a different design and purpose. We could tell we
were on the right track whenever we would run into a cluster of local villagers,
handcrafts on display, awaiting the tour buses.
It was great. The weather held and we finally made it back to