Part 3… On our way to Machu Pichhu
Well where do I even begin, the last week has been jam packed with so much beauty, history, culture and geography that it’s hard to summarize… But as to not bore the tits off you all I shall try my hardest.
We left Cuzco on the Monday morning starting our four-day Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Pichhu. We had opted for the less walking more fun option which included down hill mountain biking, zip lines and of course a shite load of hiking. So after a slap up breakfast at a locals house we set off in a bus taking us 4000m up a mountain where we would start our 3000m decent on the bikes. This was awesome, the views where as you would expect breathtaking and before we knew it hours had passed and we where drinking a well deserved cerveza in a tiny town before heading to an even smaller town (for want of a better word) where we were to stay the night in a hostel which was either still under construction or it was just a shithole, really not sure.
I’m not one for tours as I hate to think I’d have to spend time with weirdo’s that I don’t like – sounds heaps like school all over again. But this tour was made up of several quality characters from the English lads (Mike, Ed and Ben) who where extremely funny guys to the Boston boys (Marcus & Shaun). Between them we were kept entertained with tales from Columbia and of course Marcus trying to bed the Vego from Oz (she may have had a name, I didn’t learn it). All in all we couldn’t of asked for a better crew, at first we looked at them in their shorts 4000m on top of mountain about to bike down and thought you silly twats. Later as their legs turned blue as they rode down, I mocked them only find out they had thought at the top look at these muppet’s in long pants… from there on in I knew we’d get on alright.
Our first port of call was a restaurant aptly named ‘the only restaurant in town’ we were greeted by some crazy art work of what I imagine was Yoda smoking coca leaves with ganga, there was monkeys hanging from nooses and many other weird yet wonderful decorations adorning this establishment. The food however was very tasty indeed consisting of a delicious chicken soup to appease the starving hordes followed by some slow cooked beef on a mash with a wee bit of spicy mojo like sauce, they love their chilli sauces and in turn we love them for it. Dessert was a magnum like ice cream, which was well tasty at that point in time. This day was finished off with the four of us cruising around this tiny town drinking cerveza in literally any place that sold it, we even found a hut down by a near derelict bridge that sold us said beverage… got to love Peru.
Hiking is what the next day consisted of, 22km up hill to be precise, winding our way around Inca tracks chiseled into the side of the mountains, and this guys must have been small as tiny paths just doesn’t cut it. Along the way we stopped at several local houses learning about the local organic coffee, which grows everywhere, the coca plant and all of its many uses (good and bad). They also showed us traditional get ups and face paints as well as the many different corns they use for drinks and foods. Up to this point I thought there was only one or two kinds of corns, what an absolute mug I’ve been as there are hundreds, fair enough most of them taste like flavourless llama shit and can quite frankly be left undiscovered in the Peruvian jungle, but you must take the good with the bad.
After trekking our proverbial balls off we finally made it to a very cool/scary/archaic what they called cable car, and anyone else would call a wheelbarrow attached to a cable going across a river… I admit my name is a tad long. Regardless of the basicness of this cable car it did serve a purpose as the small Peruvian man (that is a redundant statement as they are all small) pulled us across without water touching us, so it was a great success and brought us 30m closer to the hot springs that had been promised to us all day.
With filth from head to toe a cold spring would have been luxury, so a hot springs was effing superb we bathed like whores after a big night, you could see the filth diminish with every plunge… this was punctuated with a few cerveza’s before the bus ride back to town. That night we were served some local fare, and without taking away from their culture… it was fucking awful, possible the worst meal of my life, seriously it consisted of banana in every single possible form and cold cooked veges, but we did eat it, smile and said thanks heaps that’s lovely (liars maybe but polite non the less).
Once dinner finished we all hit the sack as we where exhausted, all except G-money who felt the town had a slight dust till dawn feel about it and was keen to go drink and see if anyone turned into Latino vampires. No one turned into vampires but G did turn into an extremely drunk walrus that came back to our room at 1.30am and for the next two hours groaned as if to beckon his mate. His mate however the lovely and at this point tired Carla Da Bruce was not enticed by the mating call in fact she quite sharpishly checked he was safe and alive then shut him in the hall way… well played G-money and well played Carla.
With half of our tour group feeling the effect of last night’s escapades the following mornings zip lining across huge valleys was harder than it should have been. We had quite a big climb to the top before flying across 1km plus cables travelling at up to 90kmh. It was incredible fun and I feel we just don’t use this form of transport to its full potential. With adrenaline kicked in we set off that afternoon to hike a further 12km to reach Machu Pichhu town at the base of the final accent. This walk took us along the railway track so, with G singing “stand by me”, we meandered our way through the jungle to the quint yet very expensive tourist Mecca which is Machu Pichhu town. We did manage to find some caprioska’s and some awesome Alpaca quesadilla to get us primed for a good sleep as we had to set off at 3.30am the next morning to hit the top for sunrise.
I wont lie to you the climb the next morning wasn’t satisfying or enlightening. It didn’t bring on any life changing moments; in fact we all hated every goddamn step, except possibly the final one. If I were to do it again I’d get the effing bus and still get to see this wonder of the world, as the buses arrived at the same time as us… what the fuck? I feel that the stupid twats like myself and my travel companions that walked should get the honour of first in, not to share with the non sweaty bus monkeys… but once we had got our breath back it was only to be taken away by the shear beauty of this place.
I’ve been in awe of this place since the first doco I watched as a child but nothing can prepare you for the sheer scope and size. The engineering, the vision and pure grit these guys must have had to create such an incredible city in such an isolated and hard terrain is without equal in my opinion. I went photo crazy, I had to hand the camera over to Lauren after 15 minutes as I had already taken 100 photos and even though they were all good, there was really no need for another 100 to be taken.
The walking up there didn’t make me reflect, but ancient surrounds of Machu Pichhu definitely are a catalyst for a good old fashioned ponder. We had been part of a coca leave ceremony days before which consisted of thanking the local mountains for all we have received and are about to receive. It also was made up of a very cool fable about the humming bird, the gist is even with its very small stature it can still make a difference if it just kept trying… this story hit a cord with all that took part in the ceremony and was right at the fore front of my mind as we walked around the ancient site.
We all left the mountain with nothing but respect for this beautiful place and more importantly the beautiful people and culture that created it, but to be honest I also found respect for something else on this journey and that was of course a nice bed and steaming hot shower… I am one enlightened mofo.
One response to “Paul’s Caul… South American Quest part 3”
Excellent post….I’m so pleased that you’re doing the hard yards as I wouldn’t think of doing it in a million years:)