They are watching Olympics, I am chilling in Peru

Trip Start Aug 01, 2008
Trip End Aug 16, 2008

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hello again,

    I guess you are all watching the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. I kind to  trying to get away from that so here I am in low key Peru.

    After my failed first attempt at the Sacred Valley tour on August 3, the guide actually came on time today (well, 15 minutes late) to pick me up to see some of the other Inca ruins in the area. The tour include Pisaq , Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero ruins. Out tour was  big enough that the guide had to walk around the city to gather all the tourists up. After getting on a tourist bus( wow luxury) we took off for a tourist market for some souvenir shopping and restroom. Here we saw soome tourists posing and taking photos with the llama and the Quechua children dressed in their traditional customs. We also saw an in door guinea pig pan where 100´s of guinea pigs are eating and running around not knowing what they are  in for....

   We stopped first at Pisaq ruins. This ruins at located on the side of the cliff and the main ruin sits the top of the mountain. Our guide, Pilar, explained that the location is perfect as a watch tower in case the enemy invaded, since the Incas were conquerers, the other conquered tribes were too happy with the Incas. Getting up to the ruins was quite a hike but this is nothing comparing to the Wayna Picchu hike I did yesterday. Once we arrived, Pilar continued to explaine about the type of stone works that the Incas build. For the area of importance, the Incas use finer stone works where each stones are fitted perfectly as oppose to the other areas that the walls are made of some random stones piled on top of each other.  We had a very nice buffet lunch to follow, probably the best meal I had so far. I am surprised how may Americans I met so far on this trip more so than any other places that I have visited. I met another couple from New York, a school teacher from Orlando and a math teacher. I guess its summer time, while the kids are out for the summer, their teachers get a chance to travel the world. Its a very nice schedule. 

   After lunch, we went to the next ruin of Ollantaytambo. It is interesting that I have been to this town 2 times on my way to and from Machu Picchu but never really get a chance to see its ruins. This ruin also sits on a hill in a stepwise fashion. The lower part has water fountain, river, and ceremonial areas. Our guide also showed us how the Incas were able to break the rocks but putting the wood stick in the correct places in the stone and then wet it. As the wooden sticks expands with water, they break the stone by expansion. Also the Incas utilized harder stones to shape the finer surfaces of the stone. After taking some photos, we left for our last stop, Chinchero ruins.  Several travellers left to catch the train up to Machu Picchu.

   As soons as we arrived at Chinchero, our guide took us to the shopping area and showed us the demo on how the sheep wool was cleaned with a root juice, spun onto the spool then dyed with colors with different local plants and insects. I am surprised the color marron red ´s main ingredient is the insect found on the cactus , this the exact same method of how the Aztecs obtain the red dye. Coincidence? Not sure. We were offered soem coca leave tea and allow to shop some fine textiles the locals weaved. After we left the area, there were these kids kept chasing us down asking us to buy postcards, hats, gloves, small toys, they first offer a price, when we ignored them, they kept following us saying ¨may be later, my name is Jose¨. Quite annoying.  I saw the Chinchero ruins which is a combination of Inca architecture and Spanish colonial church. This was one of the earliest church ever build here in Peru tracing back to 16th century.

   I chatted with several other tourists in the group, they mentioned that they have the same problem of no one picking them up from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, also flight cancellations. Wow, I guess I am not alone on this. Except I learned from them that these small glitches are not something to sweat over and ruin your vacation with.

   Tomorrow will be my last day here in the Sacred Valley and I will heading down the coast of Peru, hope the weather gets a bit warmer.

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