Peru Part 3: Cuzco
We had to drag ourselves up by 3 AM to get a ride to the airport. The flight was pretty packed, but uneventful. As soon as we got to the airport the vibe was different. It was cold, there were musicians serenading folks (and selling CDs of course) waiting to get their luggage from the carousel. Cuzco was both charming and repelling. Charming in the sense that it was beautiful old city filled with culture, repelling in that it was filled with western tourists and folks were economically driven to push their wares, their water colors, their alpacas, and their children on them for survival. The charming won out but their was always a sense that the place would be a little better if everyone would just leave (not true, it would fall into economic ruin).
Our cab driver had some trouble finding our hotel The Casa de la Gringa. It was a new agey place with fairies painted on the wall and a clear connection with some natural healing guru who can apparently get you really fucked up on some homemade hallucinogenics. Not exactly the perfect place for Rachel and myself cause on top of all that the room and bathroom sucked (it had 20 seconds .
As soon as arriving in the hotel we were off to find breakfast and we ate at this delicious bakery place called Cirrcolina. It might have been one of the most delicious smelling places I‘ve ever entered. Rachel had a cornbread, eggs and guacamole thing that was insanely tasty, as well as the tastiest beverage of her life, a hot chocolate that had 9 types of spices in it… yum. While we were having breakfast and writing postcards we first noticed the altitude sickness… which I dubbed Space Madness from the classic Ren and Stimpy cartoon (is that old enough to be classic?). Rachel wrote a post card and the text reads as follows:
Peru is real. I likes. A lot.
Hot chocolate is
Hot chocolate is
best $3 I ever spent.
Cusco is here - I am
I added: I think Rachel is losing it.
From breakfast we headed over to SAS travel who we scheduled the trip to Machu Pichu through. We had to pay the remainder of our balance and they were informing us that a bunch of trips were canceled for the two days before we were going due to a nationwide strike over Peru taking the water supply private (Coca-Cola assholes making water too expensive for the average Peruvian to afford to water their crops) but that we should be fine. In the process of discussing the money we owed and the possibility of getting shut down entirely, the Space Maddness really hit Rachel and she just had to sit down (we didn’t know it yet but she was also developing a cold) while I ran out to get cash.
After taking care of that trip Rachel headed back to the hotel for a nap while I wandered about town. Cuzco was a very pretty town and they also have an interesting flag.
After Rachel got up we got a coffee and a tea at a café. In front of the café were a shit load of tourists from the US and Europe, ya know the type 20-27, they don’t bathe cause they have to prove how much they can “rough it,” they talk whit about how worldly they are cause they spent the last 4 weeks in a foreign country (you have to read between the lines to add, in the most touristy place in the entire country, and a place where you can get laid and weed real easy). Well anyway this gaggle of youth was amusing to say the least but after a half an hour we were off to find a drink.
We ended up at Norton’s Biker Bar. The place was kinda empty, which was fine with me. We had a few drinks, discussed one of our favorite topics to argue about, religion, and tried to name the many flags that were attached to the ceiling.
After that we went to Pacha Papa for dinner, we had Potato Cream Soup, Papas Rellenas (mashed potatoes wrapped around beef, raisons, carrots, and peas then deep fried), and a delicious alpaca steak skewer. I felt kind of odd ordering the alpaca after noticing how cute the little buggers were, but it was god damn scrumptious. After dinner we slipped off to bed early to our freezing bedroom with a window overlooking a path with constant loud drunk jackasses on it. It’s so cold that the room has at least 5 blankets and it’s still cold (partially cause Rachel keeps stealing all the covers.)
The next day we take breakfast back at Norton’s and then go back to SAS as we have decided to plan out the rest of our trip with them. We then checked out an Inca ruin that Spanish monks built their monastery around. It was quite nice. Most of the day we just relaxed. I sat on a balcony overlooking the main square writing notes about the trip while sucking back cappuccinos and smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes. Rachel ran around and hunted down some lovely jewelry.
There were also the most absolutely adorable children playing with pigeons in the main square.
And of course we had to take a picture with the alpaca, only cost us a fiver.
Diner was another fantastic experience, we ate at Tanka Panka and had a potato dish with a peanut sauce, an unforgettable Avocado a la reina (avocado of the queen… which was avocados with the most delicious chicken salad flowing over the sides of it) and an alpaca tenderloin in a mushroom sauce. The highlight of the evening was the fact that these dogs were constantly playing around the table where we were sitting (well actually the one of the dogs was desperately trying to mount a smaller dog while a third dog watched) but this scene was broken up when a mule came burling around the corner and what I must assume is top mule speed (at least on narrow stone walkways) and sent everyone scattering.
And Some more of Cuzco: