Hobo Ron, Along The Rail Tracks

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We got up and were walking by 7:30am, ok, so maybe it`s not really that early. We decended down to Old Santa Teresa, moved for the same reasons as Old Santa Maria I guess. There are a couple of different vallies that you can walk up here and I was glad in the end to have a little help in order to take the right one. We started walking through the local slate quarry and then past some workmen that were builing a bridge for a new road in the area, thatīll be a sad day when itīs finished.

After about three quarters of an hour we got into the valley that we needed to walk up, no way to go wrong now. It was at this point I said goodbye to my other two companions. I told them that I like to walk alone and sat on a rock for a while to give them a good head start. Despite the fact that I was walking up an access road to the hydro-electric plant it was still great, the cliffs here plunge straight down to the river and I was able to see several sections where rock slides had covered the old abondoned railway line.

I think it must be about 10 Km to the end of the railway line, which was the start for me. I caught the other two again and we had a coffee in a restaurant near the station. Donīt get the impression that there was very much here, just a station, two restaurants and a number of stalls. We then started the section on the rails. I made my excuses again and let them get a good headstart, a bigger one than the last time.

Before we went our seperate ways the guide earned the money that I didnīt pay him and pointed out the fact that we were on the backside of Machu Picchu, the side that you canīt climb, and if you squint your eyes and tilt your head then you can see the head of a man, see the pictures.....

It was quite tricky walking along the tracks. You had to keep adjusting your gate and you had to concentrate on where you were walking so you didnīt trip. It was a relief whenever there was a little path to the side, but those were few and far between.

I missed my chance at a quick comeback and only thought of a great reply after Iīd passed a couple of Americans. I passed the first one and I said something like, "Hello, Good Afternoon", while he said something like, "Hey Dude". I then passed the second one and I said the same thing, he replied with "Whatīs Up?". If only I was quicker I could have just said with a straight face "Machu Picchu, why do you ask?", but no, it wasnīt to be.

I then came across a dilema, or more accurately a tunnel. I had no idea what the train schedule was or how long the tunnel was. I walked up to it and peered in, it didnīt look too long. So I sped up into a jog and got through to the other side without any problem.

There was a little section of track and then another tunnel, I started to worry about how many theyīd be. I walked tentatively up to it to peer in again. Before I got there I heard the train whistle and noises suspiciously like a train in motion, heading towards me. I left a big brown streak as I ran back down the tracks towards a wide section that Iīd made a mental note of before. After a little while the train popped out the tunnel, probably doing something like 10 miles per hour, I guess they need to go at that speed as to not hit cheapskate tourists that are trying to get to Machu Picchu!

I looked for an escape from the tracks after this, and found a little track that lead down to a road, which lead me all the way to Aguas Calientes. I was shattered when I arrived and immediately sat on a park bench for a while to rest. The other two must have arrived a while ago and I went looking for somewhere to stay. At this point the guide popped up behind me, shouting my name. I donīt know if heīd been looking for me or not. To cut a long story short, I ended up sharing with the optician again.

We all had some lunch together, and I really needed it. It was barely 2pm and we had a while to kill. So whatīs the best thing to do? try and go looking for some English Football. Arsenal was playing in the second leg of their Championīs League Semi final against Villareal, what better way to spend some time. We reckoned that itīd be easy to find since Aguas Calientes really is a Gringo capital, only bettered by Cusco.

Sadly Cable TV hasnīt reached Aguas Calientes yet, I should really be happy at this but itīs already been overrun by tourists and it really is beyond salvation. Itīs only going to get worse here, and I donīt like it as it is.

The Opticianīs guide disappeared that night. He jumped on a train after saying that everything was organised for his dinner, tour of Machu Picchu and return trip to Cusco. Fair enough, so we wished him a happy journey and he was off.

At dinner though, thing started to go wrong. It turned out the guide had only left enough money for a small pizza, barely enough to feed a ghost. He didnīt even leave enough money for a drink of water, surely thatīs against the Geneva Convension. I was laughing at this on the inside, but being supportive on the outside. Then his return ticket on the train only went as far as Ollantaytambo, which wasnīt a surprise to him, but there was no provision for his bus ticket back to Cusco. Now my funny bone was really being tickled. The people in the restaurant really werenīt being helpful as theyīd only been sub-contracted out, "Not our fault" they said.

In the end I had to leave him to it, I had a little bit of last minute shopping to do. Enough food for the whole day at Machu Picchu and one glass for beverages.... I was in bed by 9pm again, and it was almost 10pm before The Optician turned up. Poor guy, although I had started to worry a little for him.

It was time for sleep, Iīd be getting up before the sun tomorrow, whatīs that all about?
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