Wheres Paddington?

Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday April 15th 2005
Some sleep on the bus, but wake up when we pass through what looks like a horrible town - I think Juliaca - I know its dark, which never gives a good impression, but this city, with its wide streets but narrow road, where the driver has to zig zag across the road to avoid the huge mounds of earth randomly dumped.

There is however worse to come, for some inexplicable reason, we stop, and dont move, and when I work out how to open the window, I can see fire, rocks on the road, and a large crowd - which I think is a little unusual, particularily given its 3am. So we sit there until 5am when they let us through - at last, except this happens at the next village, and the next, and the next. I find out afterwards that this was farmers demontstrating over land taxes.

So I arrive in Cusco after 15 hours, not the 10 I was expecting. I would have loved to take photos, but it was a little intimidating, and I didnt really want to annoy them....

Arrive in Cusco, which is a very pretty town, at least the centre - big plaza, big churches, lots of tiny cobbles streets, and, to top it all, sunny and warm.

Walk around a little bit - Cusco is at 3300m and you do feel a little short of breath, and book the Inka Trail for the 19th - giving Stephen a mere 36 hours to acclimatise when he arrives on the 17th. Booked with SAS travel, probably the most expensive operator, but they have rave reviews from Lonely Planet, and Carey, last seen in Malaysia, went with them last week and gave similar rave reviews.

Saturday 16th April 2005
Wandered the city today, my usual MO, and start by going up some steep steps, to gain a better view of the Plaza, and to see how tired I would get!

Cusco is surrounded by mountains, most of which are built on, so you can wander up, and it is a very pretty city to look down over. Walk north of the main cathedral, eventually succumbing to one of the street postcard sellers, and then back down past various churches and monuments in this pretty city.

Onto the food market, where there are lots of women in traditional dress, and take various "people" photos when they werent looking! - the rest of the market was huge, street after street of stalls, and people using every available space, to sell everything and anything - If your looking for a rusty nail, or a remote control for a 20 year old TV, this is the place to come.

In the evening met up with Carey, the scottish guy IŽd met in Asia, and who IŽd last seen in Malaysia - quite surreal to see him again after such a long time, and had a nice meal of Alpaca (a kind of Llama).

Sunday 17th April 2005
Got up with the aim of buying stocks for the Inka trail, but ended up trailing around far too much in the boiling sun, only to buy eventually from a place not so far from my hotel.

Met Stephen at the airport at 12.50 - he had been there a few minutes as his flight was early, and I was quite happy not to beleive some guy telling me there was someone looking for me, but found him, and then re toured some of Cusco.

Altitude at this point did get the better of me, though mildly compared to before, so retired sick for the day!

Monday 18th April 2005
Miraculous recovery today, helped by drinking 3.25 litres of water, plus meal drinks and see a bit more of Cusco, going even higher than before for better views.

Had a pasta meal to give me energy for tomorrow, and then attended the briefing for the Inka trail
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