A Travellerspoint blog

Cusco

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Well I am now into my 3rd day in Cusco. Time is really flying here.

The hotel I am staying in is really nice and traditional. Really nice wood working and the Peruvian style of tiles. Anyway guess you dont really need to know about that.

We had a 5.30am wake up call on our last night in Lima and got a bus to the airport and then a plane to Cusco. Didnt sleep really well so I was exhausted but since the flight was only 45 mins didnt really get any sleep. When we got to Cusco is was so beautiful. I was expecting to find it hard to breath but everything was fine. Let me tell you something about altitude sickness, its a creeper, you can think you fine then bang, you knocked for six. Mine didnt kick in until that night and it started with a slight headache that turned into one gigantic migraine yesterday morning. I had 2 of my migraine tablets and they made me all dopey but I was at least able to do yesterdays tour. The funny thing is that our tour leader is a local Indian lady in Cusco and she did this Andean acupuncture on me. Dont stress it didnt involve needles. It was like this band made of string type stuff, like the wrist bands they all wear here and had wooden cogs around it and she tied it to my head reall tight to the point it pretty much cut off the circulation and then she pressed in spots around my skull for 5 minutes. I know this sounds silly but it actually worked, and quite fast and really effective. I want one of those bracelets!!!!!

Anyway I got sidetracked, so we checked into out hotel and then went on a city tour which took in all of Cusco and the Cathedral and museum and then went to the 1st inca site. I have my 10 day pass in front of my to type the names out but she holepunched through the name, its something like Tambomenay. It was a small hike up to a point which was quite nice. The we went to Saqsaywaman which we got some really cool photos at. I was walking round with Dan and realised we both love taking the photos. Hes a real funny guy, makes you crack up about 5 times a day. Because he is like 6 ft 2 with blonde hair, all the Andean people want to take pictures of him so as we have to pay 1 soles per picture of anyone here when they took his picture here he started saying sinco soles sinco soles, por fabor por fabor which had us all in hysterics.

Dan is the guy who managed to get a lift on a police motor bike by simply being lost in Lima and saying ¨ Please sir, you really have to give me a lift on that bike, im only here 2 more days so manged t get the lift¨ Then another time we saw little kids playing soccer in the alleyway with a coke bottle so he jumped in and started playing with them¨ Guess it helps that his Spanish is better than my English.

AnywayAfter the tour we came back to the motel and I pretty much just crashed because I was tired and the headache had started. NOTE The Andean Headache remedy was on the following days tour.

Yesterday we did another tour which took us into the Sacred Valley. We started at Pisac where the market is and it started to bucket down. Bought a poncho and some gloves here and got heckled by a shoe shiner. I kept saying. No Gracias, estoy bien, Por Fabor no necissito. Which is no thanks, im really fine, please, I dont need.

Anyway then we had lunch at this buffet place which was great because I had not eaten for a day because I felt kinda sick the day before. By this time id had my headache remedy and was feeling top guns. This restaurant was in the valley surrounded by mountains, it was intense, so nice you didnt want to leave.

After lucnh we went on to Ollantaytambo and did a 2 hour hike around it and seriously, this had been the best place we have visited. Took about 200 photos here, it was awe inspiring. Dan and I went crazy with our Cameras and once again, walking down he got mobbed by requests for photos, I stirred stuff up by repeating, Prince William, Prince William because he is a spitting image of the prince, so after about 30 photos he got away and I asked him if he wanted an agent for 5 soles a day. Pretty good price I reckon.

Our final site for the day was to a place called Chinchero where we saw a church, we got mobbed the whole way up by these little Andean kids, wanted to sell us fake us dollars or these poorly made gloves and hats. They were incredible you kept repeating no and all they did was get whiney. Mike had a great idea of buying smarties for them, a packet cost like 1 soles which is about 35 cents so we all bought 2 packets and gave them out. Problem solved, for 70 cents we got them off our back and made an entire Andean Towns kids happy.

We then got back to the motel and 7 of us went for dinner. Dan negotiated a price where his meal was for free if he could convince us to all go in so we went in and ate and he paid the entire tip so we got our meals plus a glass of wine and coke for like 20 soles (under 7 dollars) per person.

anyway into day 3 here now and im going to have a shower and go look around.

Cheers

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 08:04 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima and its culture

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Lima is so noisy, there is construction going on everywhere here. I tell you guys, they are not big on OH&S here, no scaffolding, only a dodgy rope around the waist they tie to a pole and there support beams is normally just a couple of planks of wood around the side of the construction. Wouldn't be in construction here for quids.

I did a Lima city tour in my 1st afternoon. We saw Ancestral Lima and visited a place called Huaca Pucllana. Which is smack bang in the middle of town and was build in the 4th century AC, it was constructed as a holy city and we learned about their society and rituals. They were big into sacrifices in those days. Because every 10 years of so South America has the El Nino, which is massive rains and crazy weather and they also have earth quakes so they didnt do sacrifices much but when natural disasters happened they thought their god was a little shirty with them so sacrificed people to make him happy again.

We then went to Colonial Lima and saw San Martin Square and Plaza Mayo which is like a massive square with beautiful buildings. Lima is really an amazing place guys, I love it here, ill be back again, there is only a small amount of skyscrapers, and it is made up of 45 districts each with its own Mayor. But in Colonial Lima they have a really good Mayor who has cleaned up the streets, its so clean, safe and everyone is happy and polite to us Gringos. I was even walking around with my camera out and it was perfectly safe. The other interesting thing about Lima is that the sun only comes out 3 months of the year. It is always cloudy no blue sky, so they paint everything these bright colors to bring some life into their town. The other thing is the street vendors, they are everywhere, anything from pens to peanuts, you think of an item of food or any other item and you can find it at a street vendor. But you don't buy from them because they have fake notes and the stuff is not of good quality. Well that's what my tour guide said anyway.

I also visited the Convent of Saint Francis which has all of the underground catacombs, They were a pretty solemn but unbelievable experience. They have the bones of about 25,000 people down there and we were allowed to walk into it. I'm glad I had a tour guide because it was a maze down there and would have been easy to get lost.

This is getting long and I have only described one tour, I better type faster and explain in less detail hehe.

For dinner I went to this Restaurant called Junius and it included a traditional Peruvian dance show. The food here is so nice, its spicy and kind of like Indian but not um sort of like curry sauces but everything is spiced. But not hot, just heaps of flavour. The show was really good too. Had a couple of beers and tried a Pisco Sour, they go mad for that here, and WOW you think our liquors are strong, this stuff knocks your socks off. Its like a brandy with lime taste and is intense. I don't like it much but you cant say that to people here. I also had a shot of Pisco straight and that was like being 15 years old and invading your old mans liquor cabinet and making a rocket fuel.

Anyway I had an all day tour on day 2. We went trough Barranco which is the Bohemian part of town, its like all actors and artists and musicians and is all painted so bright and its really hard to explain I will show you guys pictures when I get home. We then went onto the Sacred city of Pacacamac and to get there had to pass through what we know as Shanty's but which they call New Towns. It was pretty emotional in all honesty, it bought a tear to my eye. It is made up of people from the highlands coming to Lima for work but who are so poor they cant afford housing so they have these towns they set up built from any material they can get their hands on. I am telling you all, I write this with a tear in my eye because seriously, we dont know how lucky we are in Australia and im glad I have seen this because it makes me appreciate everything in my life.

Pachacamac is amazing, its about an hour out of Lima and when you get there you feel like you are in the middle of a desert. Its sandy, rough, dry and about 15 degrees hotter than Lima. Its an old citadel with ancestral shrines built in the 4th century. It was built to be dedicated to their local deity's and is like a pyramid type structure made from mud brick which they call adobe. We saw a few sites here including the Temple of Pachacmac, the Sun God shrine and the palace of the chosen which is woman who were chosen to be sacrificed. They are chosen at birth and it was meant to be a great honor, they lived in this citadel on their own with no male contact and the family's didn't have a choice if the Incan prince and royalty chose their daughter because it was an honor. To accept it made your family rich and looked after, you got a higher social standing but to refuse led to becoming lower in the social ranks, even to the point of possibly becoming slaves. I got heaps of pictures of this place and it is 4 times the size of Machu Picchu. It was taken over by the so many groups overt time including the Wari who were a crazy warrior class and destroyed a lot of it but the Spanish came and restored a lot of it and so did some other society in between the Spaniard's and the Wari.

In the afternoon I did a museum tour which was pretty good and then went and had some drinks last night and watched the football. Peru vs Paraguay. It was a draw, and they go crazy for football here. They were supposed to win because it was at home and Paraguay were without 2 of their best players

Anyway I am going to stop this here, if this pc crashes im in trouble and it is pretty old.

Ill keep in touch in a few days when im in Cuzco.

Cheers guys

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 08:22 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Australia to Peru in 33 hours

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View South America 2007 on gasheppard's travel map.

Hi guys and girls,

Im here, im safe but im very very tired.

The flights were LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still so tired. My body clock is all mixed up so I got to my hotel in Lima at 1am and couldn't sleep until 3.30am. I got up at 9.30am and just had breakfast. I was so hungry. My flight from Sydney was delayed for 2 hours which in a way was a good thing because it made less waiting time at Buenos Aires. What a weird airport. Everyone smokes in the terminal and there is no money exchange or Internet cafe in transfers without going through immigration so I could do nothing but wait the 5 hours until the Lima flight came in. I couldn't even get a coffee because I had no pesos. The flight coming in however was long and tiring, I slept on and off in half an hour stints but when sunrise came, we were flying over Patagonia. That's the southern alps just off Antarctica. Man what a view, I took a few pictures, it took my breath away. Just for as long as you could see there was these ice covered mountains and it did really look like you were on another planet.

Not real impressed with Aerolineas Argentinas. My Spanish is shocking, I'm lucky if I can pick u´p a single word in a whole sentence and they do not like speaking in English. I was luck at BA Airport though that because I greeted the guy in transit in Spanish. he knew straight away that I some English and switched so he was fine and helpful in getting my connecting flight.

I still need sleep so after this will go back upstairs and get a few hours. Its 10.48am here and I am going to spend the next few days doing a few tours of Lima. At 2.30pm here I am doing a 3.5 hour tour of Historic Lima that takes in Ancestral Lima, Colonial Lima and contemporary Lima, I guess that's from old to new. I have no Peruvian money yet neither so have to try find some. The airport transfer had 3 other Aussies on it but they are all doing different tours. 2 of the guys had been waiting for my flight for 2 hours so got picked up at like 10.30pm and had to wait around. They were annoyed because their tour started at 6am the following day so they were not going to get any sleep. There was also another girl on my flight in the airport pickup but once we got picked up we were on our way.

Lima is a real scary looking place at night. The girl in my airport bus said it reminded her of when she was in Africa, you don't walk the streets here at night if your a tourist. Doing the day its kind of interesting, I mean I have not left my motel but the noise, the cars are all dented and don't stop at intersections, they just honk before they get to it. There are dogs everywhere walking across the streets and there is construction everywhere, no cranes, no scaffoliding no safety equipment.

My hotel is real nice and the bed was fantastic after 33 hours in transit. The shower was hot and all up, its a great hotel with friendly staff. They take US dollars which is helpful for me.

I have 3 days here before my tour starts. My plan is to do the city tour today. Then a Lima by night tour tonight which includes dinner and a show. Then a day tour tomorrow which includes a lunch and also The Pachacmac and museums of Lima. The Pachacmac is a sacred citadel with shrines and was built dating back to the beginnings of Christianity where pilgrims came to pay tribute to the deity the Pachacmac oracle.

Anyway thats long enough for my first entry. See you guys soon.

Posted by gasheppard 09:03 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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