Inka Blog

Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

 Inka Cola, Inca Pizza, Inca Hotel, Inkafé, InkaBucks, etc…and now for the Inca blog.

The ride to Cusco from Puno was amazing, passing through landscape of green lush canyons, rivers and small towns. We passed a couple of taxi drivers pulled over on the side of town jamming on the guitar together, little children laying in a grassy field, twisting flowers in their hands, piglets napping and women washing clothes in the rivers. The only downfall to the ride was that we could see the driver kept nodding off and the weight of his head jerk him awake. A British passenger behind us ran up to the front to see if he was, in fact, falling asleep and he assured us that he was, but an attendant was next to him poking him into consciousness. Eventually the bus pulled over and we got a new driver, conveniently at a common enough place that there were people selling crafts, children dressed in traditional attire with baby lamas in their arms offering a photographic moment for change, and enormous corn on the cob with homemade cheese, delicious!!! Why don’t we have this perfectly healthy scrumptious snack on the streets at home? Why?! I’m not talking about that sweet, small kernel, genetically engineered bull-crap. I’m talking about semi-sweet corn kernels the size of a quarter and with a bite of salty, thick cheese to make this sensation complete!

Once in Cusco we, for some strange reason, missed Arequipa. Cusco is great and beautiful and has a lot of great archaeological sites nearby but we really didn’t like all the people asking us to buy whatever they were selling or asking us to eat at their restaurant and if we said we were full, they would try to sell us drugs. All the older adults we talked to didn’t seem to have the drug offering issue but Cusco and Peru in general, is popular for it’s pure cocaine among some young travelers, so we were offered quite a bit. Obviously we would never take that kind of an offer and so it was just an un-classy thing we had to deal with. What was not only un-classy but purely disgusting was the museum of Cusco’s artifacts in the basement of old Inca ruin, right in town. The museum may of had interesting things to see but I wouldn’t really know because the translation in English was so dreadful I stopped trying, and the bathrooms must have been the kind you can’t flush toilet paper down because it smelled so rancid I had to escape.

And now for the good stuff. The art museums were amazing, and the vegetarian restaurant we liked was so good we ate their 8 of our 9 days there. We loved going to Sacsayhuaman, pronounced “sexy woman,” where there are ruins with stones placed perfectly so there are no holes or cracks between them. Seeing all the other old Inca ruins was very interesting as well. We tried top walk up to the archaeological site at the top of the mountain at over 4000 meters high but at about 3800 meters I couldn’t go on, the altitude was making me dizzy so we hailed a bus. Well not really a bus… it was a van but it’s used for public transportation and when It began to rain on our way down, we took it again (but I'll save that for Chris). We also went on a tour of the Sacred Valley and learned a ton about the Incas. People with Inca heritage have lungs three times the size of ours so that they can get more oxygen in the high altitude and they are generally short because of the lower amount of oxygen in the air. They have a lot more hemoglobin then we do for the same reason. Also, for as smart as they were they never invented the wheel as a tool, but they did make toys for children with small wheels.

We stayed in Cusco for 9 nights because we needed to stay in one place for a while and also because a couple of those days we got sick off of the only Indian food restaurant in Cusco, and didn’t leave our hostel room. Machu Pitchu was and still is closed until April so we will have to come back another time,oh whaa ;-). Overall Cusco was nice and I saw spectacular ruins but whereas some come to Cusco and never want to leave, I just didn’t get that feeling. Maybe it was all the hype.
Chris-So how many passengers can fit in a half ton nine passenger van. it's not a trick question. In fact, when the vehicle is used as a public bus it would be realistic to assume one can stuff fourteen people besides the driver, the man that opens the door and collects the fares, oh ya, and add Sarah and I. I think eighteen passengers can be counted all together. the idea that any two people can drive and collect correct fares for all the travelers in this circus side show made the fair for the ride a general admission ticket and worth every penny, or Sole. after walking down a high elevation highway in the pouring hail watching lightning strike so close that the thunder comes with no delay we jumped into this vehicular shaped poop-lic transportation. Though when lightning strikes less than a hundred feet away and the thunder roars loud enough to wonder if the earth was going to explode made that van look like a vessel of Latin angels coming to our rescue. I'm serious. lightning and thunderstorms like this got that Garth Brooks song stuck in my head to the point that I'm still praying for an ackie braky heart just to change the track. This adventure takes place in the longest known inhabited city in South America, Cuzco.

Cusco is a city thriving in culture. So thriving that it's very easy to take this culture home. And what I mean by that is that everything the people make is for sale and many other things are mass produced. Touristic cultural nick-knacks and inka paraphernalia is so obtainable the demand can't keep up with the supply. We went to an antique market in Valparaiso, Chile and found so-called antique Peruvian souvenirs that could easily still be found on shelves at gift shops in Cusco. this is sad because it seems like everyone in the touristic area of Cusco wants a slice of the pie but when more sales people than tourists make for small slices and many disgruntled tourist that ignore the existence of the locals to avoid being badgered. I can almost imagine what a job fare in cusco would look like if they had one. Cluttering their city with store titles that just have to start with the word "Inka" just to entice some stupid tourist to go in and enjoy a cup of coffee from "Inka-bucks" to get the true experience of what the Inkas actually did not drink during their rule. every trinket says inka or Cusco or Peru on it so good luck finding something original or unique. I'm not trying to be stuck up but I believe there was a time when one could visit this historic place, you know... before the McDonald's was put in, and walk to town and markets and really slip into this robe of amazing upbringing and architecture that still leaves question mark shaped faces on archaeologists. I'm just bitter because I was born too late to have had that experience and now I have to experience yet another foreign city tainted by the oh so addictive American dream. Though don't be too discouraged if Cusco is on your itinerary. There is a sense of pure native lifestyle and some unique trinkets can be obtained. Just look past the fast food restaurants, the casinos, the restaurant host slash drug dealers,the bored taxi drivers, the desperate travel agents, the other tourists, the night clubs, the pick-pocketers, swindlers, and all the garbage souvenir shops. Walk everywhere and look at everything. We were told by other educated travelers that Cusco and Machu Pichu is just a trendy jet-set. It's not that there is nothing amazing to see but it's a place people have to go now when there in South America so that less educated people won't tell them that their trip was a waist because they skipped it. 

So I wish Cusco the best and I hope that their exploitation will only have good effects in the continuing development of their culture. The archaeological sights are incredible and the fact that so many people travel from all over the world to see them reassure us that these many ancient sights are protected and will continue to be so no matter how the city of Cusco or the Sacred Valley change. The ruins will still be unchanged. Hopefully.
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chrisarah on

We are in northern Peru by Ecuador right now just relaxing on the beach. Did you read the blog before the Cusco blog titled "Lake Titicaca is a real place"?

chrisarah on

Oh and I want a llama but because I can't have one I really want you to have one, dad wont have to mow the lawn so much!!! ;-)

rogerandlori on

The baby llama is so cute. I bet it was wonderful to hold and cuddle it. Cusco sounds ok. Not as nice as some of the other places. Didn't realize that they had so much modern stuff like McDonalds and stuff like that. As far as their shops and wares, I think that is the way they make their money. The beach there sounds nice and the pics are great. So, where to next. Can't wait to see you guys. Do you have nice tans? Love Mom and Dad

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