Domesticated Corn and Machu Picchu

Trip Start Nov 17, 2006
Trip End Jan 24, 2007

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Update 8: Domesticated Corn & Machu Picchu
Location: Cusco, Peru
Date: Thurs 14th Dec 06

The last 3 days have been a bit of a whirlwind. I caught an overnight bus from Arequipa to Cusco arriving just before 6am in the morning on Friday. I met a couple of British guys on the bus and we all traveled to the hostel together and rested for a little while before heading off for some breakfast which we had at 7.30am. 8.30am came and i had booked a trip to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and i left at 9am. I booked at the first agent - who happened to be one of the few open and he approached me as i was walking down the street and took me to the adjacent office. It cost me US$141 and I knew the price he was giving me was competative as my friends had checked it out for me in advance.

We went round a heap of ruins that morning in the Sacred Valley, had lunch and went to more ruins in the afternoon. Some of the ruins here are really amazing including the precise stonework of the incas and the shear size of some of the rocks they moved - in the order of 20-30tonnes! I think the thing i took away most was that little piece of information that the inhabitants of the valley had domesticated corn, thats right, domesticated corn over 4000 years ago. I mean it must have been a wild ride. Very tough! :P

I left the group at a town called Ollantaytambo where i was to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the town servicing Machu Picchu. Problem was, i had a total of 12 Soles on me (AUD$5) to do me for dinner and all food for the next day, and just $7 in the bank. I thought i was going to pay for my trip on visa and so my keycard account was running low - pretty amazing i had just enough money for the tour (i had to take out US$140). So i was in a bit of a pickle and no internet cafe had headsets so i could call home and get my amazing parents to bail me out as they have done so many times through my life! The other problem was, that internet was really expensive in this town which would eat even further into what little i had left. I decided to take the risk and go online, and thankfully, Chunga (andrew chung) - one of my friends from sydney - was on msn (i was 8am on sat mornin in sydney), and i was able to get him to call my mum (who was home!) and i had $200 in my bank in 1 minute!!! so cool!
I got to Aguas Calientes at 10pm and as i stepped outside the station, i was amazed by these mountains towering almost vertically for hundreds of metres and were surrounded by clouds. the hostel was ok, with a good bed but poor shower which i didnt go near and my room was right next to the reception, so i got woken many times as people left or came at odd hours of the night.

In the morning i was supposed to catch the bus up at 6am and meet my guide at 6.30 at the entrance to Machu Picchu. Problem was i couldnt remember this at the time and by the time i left it was 7am and i got to the top at 7.30 - and of course my guide was no where to be seen. It had been raining all night in Aguas Calientes and at Machu Picchu and was still going when i got there!

I sat under some umbrellas for a while looking at people who had just arrived from the inca trail. They were soaked and i felt great in my warm dry clothes! they told me that it had just started raining for them the night before and that the first 3 days had been perfect! Seeing as the weather was bad, i decided not to hurry into Machu Picchu. By some stroke of luck, i spotted my friends jacket in the area just above where i was and was able to spend the day with them!

Machu Picchu was fantastic. The rain finally lifted round midday but we were soaked. lyle and i climbed a big hill near machu picchu to look over it and it wasnt until i reached the top that i appreciated the place for what it was. It truely is magnificent.

Next update from Lake Titicaca.
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