Welcome to Cusco, now lets start the tour

Trip Start Aug 28, 2008
Trip End Sep 06, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Saturday, August 30, 2008

We boarded the plane and once again we were delayed.  This time it was due to an oil spill behind the airplane.  It was 1 in the morning and we are the last plane waiting to leave MIA and had to wait for the fire trucks to clean an oil spill.  Never knew how they cleaned these before, but apparently they spill sand everywhere and sweep up the sand.  Everything was cleaned up and we were off for our 5 hour and 45 minute flight to LIM.  Typically this is only a 5 hour flight, but we had to work our way around Gustav.  The in-flight movie was 21.  I should have checked on this before leaving as I had just seen that movie three days prior to departing.  Since I couldn't sleep with all the excitement, I watched the movie again anyway (for those that haven't seen it, good movie, not as good as the book.  this is officially the first time I can say that since I never read a book before seeing the movie before). 

We landed in LIM and went through immigration and customs.  Once we got through customs there were a bunch of people dressed in uniform.  Amy said to me how nice it was for the airport to have people directing us where to go.  Well instead they were trying to rent cell phones.  And you cant say no to just one of them, all ten people ask you if you want to rent a cell phone despite what you say to the first person.  We then had to go to the LAN counter to get on the next flight since we missed our connection to CUZ.  Got our new flight and the agent told us to come back 45 minutes before the flight to pick up our tickets.  This gave us time to grab some breakfast before the flight.  We then went back to get our tickets and after waiting in line, the new agent told us we were late and would have to run to our flight.  So in true Amazing Race form we ran through the airport, paid the domestic flight tax (Peru's version of extra fees to nickel and dime the customer), then went through security.  Made it to our flight with 5 minutes to spare. 

The LAN flight was fantastic.  This could be my new favorite airline.  Left right on time, we got breakfast, and there was in-flight entertainment for the 55 minute flight.  The entertainment was Alan Feinberg style bloopers (for those of you who do not know Alan Feinberg, think British style "Smile, You're on Candid Camera" or for you younger readers, "Punk'd").  Very entertaining, but I was more interested in looking out the window at the view of the Andes Mountains.  Landed in Cusco, grabbed our bags and met our Driver (Mariano) and Tour Guide (David) to start our trip.  We thought they were going to take us right to the hotel to clean up, but instead the tour started immediately.

We first stopped at the llama and alpaca farm.  Learned the difference between the two "South American Camels" and were able to feed and pet them.  This is where we tried coca tea (used to help with the acclimatization of the altitude.  Apparently coca leaves have 19 medicinal qualities).  We then walked over to the woman's center to see how they turned the fur into thread for blankets, sweaters, textiles, etc.  Finally, in true Disney fashion, we ended in the store for some over priced goods.  Ended up buying a hat and scarf to support the locals. 

Afterward we headed to Pisac to check out the ruins and go to the market.  This was our first experience with Incan ruins and what a sight.  We were dropped off at the top, walked up and down the mountain for 3.5 hours and finally felt the altitude.  We never got a headache, but boy is it hard to breathe at 10,000 feet.  Learned an awful lot about the people of the incan times.

We then went down to the town of Pisac and stopped to have some lunch.  I split a Cusqueña (local beer) with David and had the chicken of the devil, which is grilled chicken topped with a spicy salsa.  Most entrees in Peru come with fries since they grow 1000 different varieties of potatoes.  Overall, the food in Peru is fantastic, especially for the price.  We then walked around the market and picked up a few presents for others. 

Finally after a long day we checked into our bed and breakfast at Kuychi Rumi (located in one of the towns of the Sacred Valley called Urubamba).  Rodrigo showed us to our casita (#4) and gave us the tour of the 2 bedroom/2 bath house.  Came with a kitchen, fireplace, and balcony on the second floor.  Since I was working on close to 30 hours of no sleep, we decided to take a 2 hour nap.  Woke up around 8, and called down to Rodrigo to get someone to start the fire for us and to get room service.  Perhaps I didn't notice this when Rodrigo was giving us the tour, but there was an interesting statue placed next to the fireplace (check out the pictures below for your own assessment).  Just hung out in the living room for a few hours till the fire died down and went to bed for the night.
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