Saturday, October 11, 2008
Here we are (all three of us) at Machu Picchu. Don´t we look happy? Gnomy Gnomerson sure does...he didn´t just finish a grueling hike!
Well, a lot has happened since the last time I was at an internet cafe where the connection was semi-fast! We did go out to Isla Taquile on Lake Titicaca and spent the night out there. It was really interesting to see the ¨culture¨ change when the tourists left! One little girl was walking by us with the traditional way of carrying all of her things in a large cloth, tied and draped over one shoulder. She passed us, put it down, pulled out her pink hello-kitty backpack, folded up the cloth, packed it inside her backpack and carried on her merry way. So much for thinking we tourists are really visiting places that are not affected by tourism! We did get to wander around the island, and found a school and got to talk to some elementary school teachers, which was really great. Amazing how many things are the same...no matter where you are.
We then caught a bus back to Cuzco, and left the next morning for Aguas Calientes, outside of Machu Picchu. We decided, in our youthful enthusiasm (as my dad would say) to walk up to Machu Picchu, instead of taking the tourist bus. So at 4:30am the alarm went off, we struggled to roll out of bed, covered ourselves in bug repellant, and began our hour and a half ascent to the top. ALL STAIRS!!!! When we got to the top, we realized that sacrificing the virgin really had been a good idea after all, because we seriously couldn´t not have asked for better weather. Clear, clear, clear, with sun shining through the andes and lighting up the morning. (Most of you were still sleeping at this point, seeing that it was about 5am your time) We crossed through Machu Picchu, and continued to get our passes to climb the overlooking peak of Wayana Picchu. Another hour or so, all stairs again. I really don´t understand why the Inca built such tall stairs...they were little people after all. As Rahima said, at least after today, I might have a butt. If anything will do it, that will. :)
The view from the top was just breathtaking. My dad and I were supposed to climb Wayana Picchu together in 1996, but due to altitude sickness I spent the better part of my time dry heaving off the end of a bed in a nice hotel room. This time I made it up (thanks to modern drugs and more time to acclimate). I did it Dad!!!
I also got to think a lot about Matthew and Nana, since Nana´s nickname for Matthew is Machu Picchu. Pretty amazing how this place is so like him. Inspiring, unique, strong and silent (okay...maybe Matthew isn´t always that silent!), and it just leaves you with a profound sense that there is something so much bigger than all of us. Pretty good day all in all, and I´m sure after walking up and down, we will sleep well tonight.
We changed one of our flights already, to stay an extra day in Peru and then to have a total of 3 full days in Easter Island, instead of 5. (we leave E.I. a day earlier than originally planned). So we are here until the 18th, and will log at least 23 more bus hours before we get out of here. The running total currently is 38 hours on buses, 1.5 hours in ¨colectivos¨ (kind of like van-taxis), 1.5 hours on the train, and countless taxi rides. Yikes!