The Gem - Machu Picchu (Part 1)

Trip Start Jun 25, 2009
Trip End Jul 05, 2009

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two words came out of my mouth when I stepped off the bus and onto the Machu Picchu terra firma... "Holy Shit!"  I couldn't believe Rowena and I were finally here, at Ma-fuckin'-chu fuckin' Pi-fuckin'-cchu!  Sorry for all that profanity but I wanted to convey my true emotions.  It was that surreal.

Machu Picchu is considered one of the seven NEW wonders of the world discoverd by a Yale archeologist, Hiram Bingham, in 1911.  I'm going to capture some text in the following paragraph here from the Moon guidebook since I can't do justice on the info about the place:

Source: Moon Peru Guidebook 2007 (for legal reasons :))
"Bingham discovered more than 100 human skeletons in cemeteries around Machu Picchu, and an inexperienced scientist on his team incorrectly concluded that 80 of them belonged to women.  The finding prompted the idea of Machu Picchu as a giant acllashuasi, or house for the Inca's chosen "virgins of the sun".  Subsequent research on the skeletons proved that half were men and half women, but the sexy idea blazes on (and is still repeated today by Machu Picchu tour guides).

Part of Machu Picchu's power is that it is a riddle, a blank slate upon which generations of historians and explorers have scribbled their pet theories.  Some claimed Machu Picchu was an exclusive religious complex or a giant coca plantation.  Others said it was a boarding school for brainwashing children of leaders conquered by Incas.

The latest theory, which is gaining widespread acceptance is that Machu Picchu was a winter retreat built by the Inca Pachacutec in the mid-15th century.  Scholars had long believed this, but concrete proof came in the form of a 16th-century suit filed by the descendants of Pachacutec, which UC Berkeley anthropologist Dr. Join Rowe found while searching through archives in Cusco.  In the suit, the family sought the return of the lands, including a retreat called Picchu."

If you skipped the previous 3 paragraphs, Machu Picchu is old, mysterious, and beautiful.  That's my synpopsis.

Remember my rant about tourism in this area?  Let me take some time to enforce it:
- bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, US$10/person
- park entrance fee, US$45/person
- box lunch we bought from the Rupa Wasi Hostel, US$10/person

... and so on, and so on.  But damn, the place was still worth it.

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excitethesoul on

Re: awesome pictures!
We were there at around 7AM sis. You can actually try and catch the sunrise at 5:30AM if you want. But getting there early, afforded some privacy from the horde of tourists that would arrive during lunch time. We got lucky too with the weather as in the morning, this place is sometimes covered in mist. One would have to wait 'til later in the day to see a clear view of the site.

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