Trip Start Jan 15, 2006
52Trip End Sep 05, 2006
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Tomorrow morning at dawn we set out to hike the Inka trail to Machu Picchu
Cuzco is a truly beautiful city and we have enjoyed exploring for the past few days. The city contains magnificent Inka ruins as well as impressive colonial architecture and churches. There are a great many tourists and for the first time, most of them are from the states. The outsiders fall into two main demographics, 20-something backpackers and 55-plus retirees. Hmmm... Do 40-somethings with kids not get to travel to exotic destinations? This may be something to consider.
We had a quite difficult drive to Cuzco from the Colca Canyon. We have a couple of Peruvian maps as well as our GPS, each of which showed a fairly large road that covers the 300km in a direct route. Unfortunately, Peruvians are probably the world's worst cartographers. (Bolivians are not far behind.) We have learned to inquire about routes before setting out
Navigation in Peru is no picnic either. It is quite rare for the maps to agree with each other or with the GPS. Towns, roads and landmarks are all in different places. Kia is forced to juggle each information source (as well as the compass) to come up with some sort of consensus on the correct route. Peruvians, in general, don't believe in road signs. I estimate there is one road sign every 50 kilometers or so and most of these are covered with advertising. Local graffiti artists also find great amusement in repainting signs to change their meaning. One must look closely to see if an arrow was repainted with a brush. The one saving grace can be the lack of good roads. If the pavement appears to be younger than Kia, then we can be pretty sure the road leads somewhere important.
Given these difficulties, I have decided to temporarily suspend the rule against asking for directions
I am greatly disturbed with what I have read about Bolivia's 'nationalization' of their energy industry. The NY Times makes it seem as if the Bolivians are genuinely surprised that the Brazilian energy company, Petrobras, has decided to suspend all investment after the government decided to rewrite the existing contracts. I think the government understands that they have neither the capital nor the expertise to develop the fields, but the country seems to have an overwhelming need to blame their problems on outside forces. This is going to continue to get worse.
I will be off the air for a few days while we are on the trail.