Inka All

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, April 3, 2008

A last relaxing day before the Great March to Machu Picchu.

We met with the guide early morning to learn more about the trip and get last details on things we need to take. Apparently we will go in a "small" group of only 8 travellers which is good. We have read of groups of up to 18 people which makes it more of a fun fair than a jungle trek.

Anyway in order to continue getting used to the heights and walks, we did a short trek to Sacsayhuaman which is impossible to pronounce so we just kept saying Shaggyshaggywan.

As with most of the ruins around here, no one seems to know exactly what its use was, perhaps a fortress, perhaps a holy site. In any case the architecture is impressive, with huge stones perfectly laid one on top of the other. Apparently any stone that could be easily moved was taken down to Cusco by the Spaniards in order to build churches and other buildings.

The rest of the day we have spent preparing our pack for the treck and looking at travel alternatives for after the trek next week. This took us to observe the huge price differences that taxis and bus companies offer to tourists. Some of them really try the perfect rip off:
- Taxi from bus station to centre on arrival: 8 soles (2 euro). Taxi today 3 soles
- Bus to Lima with Cruz del Sur: offer of 160 Soles (40 euro). Offer with Flores 90 Soles (nearly 20).

Up to now we have not bartered and negotiated as much, but after the bus offer of 160 soles (and they gave us a shorter travel time than the reality), we are not going to play their game anymore. It seems that larger cities are worse for trying to rip off  tourists.

Luckily we seem to have got away with only minor "inflation" up to now. Its pay back time!

A couple of restaurants we have tried which are just "too good to be true":
- "El Misti" (Tullumayo street) which offers dinner for 3.50 Soles (1.6 Euros) consisting of soup, main course and mate
- "El Encuentro" (end of Tullumayo street at top) which offers lunch for 4 Soles (1 Euros) consisting of salad bar, soup and main course with mate.

With those prices and quality of food it just does not make sense to buy at the supermarket. You can however go into the "typical" restaurant for tourists and end up paying 10 times more...

A final comment, every business here has the word "Inka" in it:
- Inkacafe
- InkaInternet
- Mister Inka Hotel
etc, etc

The city is also full of massage and sauna places (in theory for "after the Inka Trail") but it seems strange that all the ladies in the street offer it only to Marcos and not usually to Veronika. We wonder what is behind it...but wont try...too touristy. The Spanish history books fail to mention the "Inka art of massage and sauna".

Also, every street in the centre is packed with sales people for restaurants, souvenir crap and treks or trips to the ruins. We probably say "no gracias" at least 200 times per day at the least.

As we are on a trek and will spend and extra night at Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) please note there will be no updated until at least next Wednesday 9th of April.

Cheerioss until then.
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