The Road to Machu Picchu

Trip Start Mar 08, 2005
Trip End Mar 29, 2005

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

We woke up bright and early, or dark and early because it was 4:30 and the sun was nowhere to be found. We woke up a cab driver who I guess slept in his car to catch the first fares of the morning. We headed over to the station to catch our train to Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu.

The train ride was gorgeous, winding our way through the Andes with a river following us most of the way. We were sitting in those lovely train seats that are four seats facing each other like a dining table with no table, our legs pressed against the strangers across from us. They seemed nice. We didn't chat much. It was called the backpacker train and was a lot cheaper than the first class train that left fifteen minutes earlier. But we were the only backpackers in our car. All the other passengers were just cheap bastards.

The food and beverage cart rolled up to us and offered us Croissants. I may have been delirious from lack of sleep but I just couldn't stop saying the word croissants in that thick, Pepe LePew French accent. I combined the word with the other 20 French words I know, creating nonsensical sentences that entertained the hell out of me (i.e. Where is the croissant? Do you have a croissant for two, with a private bath? How do I get to the croissant from the Eiffel Tower?, etc.). After about 10 minutes of this I noticed that Beverley was less than entertained. I then noticed that the older couple sitting across from us was even less amused. Beverley then let me in on a little secret - they were French, had been speaking French the entire train ride, that they hated me, and that I was obnoxious. All true, all true.

So I stood up and spent most of the next three hours standing next to the luggage in the back of the car. It was a lovely view though and I didn't have to watch the Frenchies seethe and discuss in hushed voices all the reasons they hate Americans. I'd like to point out that I'm one of the few travelers I know that really enjoyed France, even Paris, and I think the French are lovely, hygienic people with little to no body odor and impeccable manners.

We rolled into Aguas Calientes and a nice young lady immediately offered us a private hostel room with two comfy beds, private bathroom with 24 hour hot water, all for just 20 soles - about $7. So we went up to our room, checked out our great view, unpacked a little, cleaned up and headed out. I went to pay the woman who owned the hostel (not the one who escorted us) and she looked down at my hand holding the 20 sol bill and smiled politely and shook her head. Twenty dollars she said. (the following conversation all takes place in Spanish and all in the present tense because I don't know how to speak in the past or future tense.) I explained that the girl said 20 soles. She said maybe 20 soles each, I said no, she said yes, I got pissed, told her we were leaving, and stormed off. I expected her to acquiesce. She did not. I went up and started packing. She let me. I went back down and tried to bargain some more. She said she'd give us the room for 40 soles, $14. We had to do it, but I did explain that I hated the little girl that led us there and that she was a filthy liar. I was thrilled that I knew how to say liar in Spanish. I do not know how to say filthy, but it was obviously implied.

So we left the hostel and headed up to Machu Picchu. We spent two days there, so I'll post it all for tomorrow. I'll throw up some pictures as well.

Long live the French and lying little Peruvian girls.

Sidenote: The hostel room was lovely. Comfy beds, great hot water and water pressure. Unfortunately, the second night we were there a nice thunderstorm came in and the roof leaked and I woke up drenched in cold rain. I was exhausted and confused. I hadn't wet the bed in months. After a few moments I realized what had happened, tossed my blanket aside, stole one of Bev's blankets, and moved my bed away from the leak in the roof. Just another day in Peru.
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