Machu Fucking Picchu...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, December 15, 2006

I love the fact that the bus says 'Destination - Machu Picchu'.  It doesn't say Leeming, Mt Lawley or Perth City Centre.  It says:  Machu Picchu.  Back in the early 90s, a vastly intelligent, funny and handsome Chinese looking kid sat in a classroom somewhere in South Perth, gazing at a poster fastened over a crack in the wall, his thoughts running 'What the fuck is that?  Where the hell is that?  How do I get there?'  The first questions were easily answered by the poster's caption:  'Machu Picchu, Peru'.  Many years on, now enlightened, I can share the answer to the third.  Get the bus.  Not to Leeming.  Or Mt Lawley.  Not even to Perth City Centre.  The one to Machu Picchu.  Do it...
Machu Picchu is an amazing place.  At the break of dawn, it's eerie, surreal, intangibly majestic - the silence so pure that the drifting fog is audible as it dramatically, seemingly intentionally hides, then unveils, the towering Montana Waynapicchu - the quiet only broken by the occasional sound of a digitally-simulated camera shutter.  You know those movies where someone gets sucked into a TV show or a photo?  Visiting Machu Picchu feels like that.  As you stand high on at the watchmen's tower, it feels like you are living in a postcard; the very view in front of you the archetypal, famous image of Machu Picchu but with 360 degree potential - the surrounding Andes, indeed, completely, utterly spectacular - the kind of place where, back in the day, you could easily be convinced of the existence of the Gods - Pachamama - the provider of the earth, food, sun. 
You know what else the Gods provide?  Rain.  Fucking rain.  Despite the 3 perfect days previous, the gods decided that hte ideal day for a terrential downpour would be the one day that I visit Machu Picchu.  Cheers big man.  Or Pachamama.  Whatever...  Muchas gracias.  Constant rain?  Forever freezing cold?   Average.
Question - what do you wear to Machu Picchu during terrential downpour season?  Waterproff gear?  Fuck off.  Don't be ridiculous.  Recommended attire?  Old school jacket, jeans, cons and a shoulder bag.  Definitely.  What was I thinking?  Really...  Standing amidst the wet and the fog in the Machu Picchu December, immersed in a surreal image of a sea of vibrant multi-coloured ponchos glowing through the thick cloud, I quickly came to the conclusion that I am the least prepared person that has ever come to Machu Picchu, bar one random Israeli dude.  Cold.  Soaked.  A small price to pay for not having to wear hiking boots however.  But despite this - the near-death cold and mild pneumonia - a single glimpse of the amazing Machu Picchu still sent a feeling through my body which, during these travels, I have learnt to recognise as my body saying 'Living the dream'. 
Although Machu Picchu is the central tourist site in the region, Cuzco was the centre of the Incan culture.  Now, my Quechua is not very good - indeed even worse than my Spanish - but I understand Cuzco means, in Quechua - 'wicked town, great nightlife'.  I think.  Appropriate name.  Aestetically lovely, charming with generally friendly locals, Cuzco is one of those places where you can get stuck.  The beautiful stones of the ancient Incan wall remains and merge the modern building in the city's centre; cathedral after cathedral overlook the Plaza de Armas; ancient ruins sit upon the hills immediately surrounding the city; cheesy clubs cater for gringo trail followers everyday of the week.  Cuzco is an easy and great place to be, my experience even further enhanced by wonderful people and super mario bros. Cuzco?  Machu Picchu?  Brilliant.  One day, I will return, with more time and less lazy, to do the Inca trail.
So, to the Top 5.  Unexpected shit happens everywhere.  But it also happens in Cuzco.  And, today, I'm struggling for a Top 5.  So, here are the Top 5 unexpected things that happened in Cuzco:
5.  Having my picture taken and ending up on the wall of some random restaurant
4.  Playing chess against a Peruvian restaurant owner.  The score stands at about 6-0.  This guy is shit.  Then - uncovered check, queen in danger.  Good move Digbert...
3.  Tourist touts thinking I'm Japanese - that never happens in touristy towns.  Arigato...
2.  Living in one of the most inappropriate dorm rooms ever...  That kind of shit should just not go on...
1.  Little girl, probably about 4 or 5 years old, selling finger puppets in Plaza de Armas.  Bargaining ensues.  Then, at a certain point of negotiations, she says 'No - that's just not commercial'.  What?  What the fuck? 
Lima...  Mexico...  Do it...
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zinek on

I've just stumbled upon your stories here and I must admit, it renews my faith in human inteligence/humour on the net.
After a looong time I've read travel story that actually TAKES me somewhere and triggers occassional chuckle or two.
It doesn't hurt you've liked my home town (Zagreb, Croatia) either :-)
Just keep going

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