Day : 307
Temperature : Getting warmer!... about 21 degrees
Weather : Difficult to tell through the smog / fog / smoke!
After an incredible two days visiting Machu Picchu we returned totally zonked to Cusco. The journey back was a little eventful, when at Ollantaytambo our guide did not have our names on his list, and we were then shunted off to another "bus", some rusty old minivan, which had two other non-spanish-speaking tourists in it. We watched whilst our original bus then drove off, taking it's weary occupants back to Cusco, and we proceeded to wait and wait and wait again. After speaking to the driver it became clear that we were waiting for another train to arrive from Aguas Calientes, in order to collect more passengers
. I knew from looking at the timetable in the train station that the next train was not due to arrive until about 11.45pm, which meant we would have to wait another hour!!! Having been up since 3am we weren't too happy. Grrrrr! However, it seemed that I successfully managed to communicate, in Spanglish, my displease at this situation, (ie a lot of ranting!) and within a few minutes money was exhanging hands between our new driver and another local man, and we were soon on our way to Cusco. We arrived just before one o'clock in the morning and were promptly dumped somewhere near the main square, before legging it, at top speed up the narrow, cobbled street to our hostel (because the driver refused to take us there himself...funny that!) as we nervously avoided eye contact with the half a dozen dodgy looking folk that were, I was convinced, malevolently lingering in various doorways in the dark! The mind goes wild in certain situations, especially when one is tired!
We spent the next day relaxing in Cusco, doing laundry, checking emails, catching up on the events in the news around the world, and organising our next few days. In the evening, we met up once again the Sanjib and Kirsty, the couple who we had met in Machu Picchu, and we all went out for a meal in the evening.
Having decided not to fly to Lima because of the cost, we took the delightful 21 hour bus journey instead
. What a joy. After checking our luggage in, we were individually videoed and searched upon entering the bus. We were all then videoed again whilst sitting in our seats. We were then informed about the security details of the bus, which consisted of on board video monitoring, doors locking from the inside, and GPS location which meant that in the event of an unscheduled stop or stopping for too long (ie armed robbery!) then an alarm would be raised immediately. As you can imagine I felt much more reassured by this information!
We didn't sleep brilliantly on the bus due to the fact that the road wound it's way through the Andes for hours upon hours on end, resulting in the passengers being thrown from one side to the other as the bus rounded each corner. By the time we disembarked in Lima, we were once again exhausted. Fortunately, our hostel was fantastically quiet, and had super comfy beds and pillows, and the following night we slept like babies!
We both really enjoyed Lima. We stayed in the Miraflores district, one of the nicer areas. It was also marvellous to be wearing shorts for the first time in months! Except for the fact that our lovely golden tans have now disappeared, only to be replaced by pasty, white skin....we now look like we have gotten straight off a flight from the UK
! There wasn't much basking in the sun to be had in Lima however, as the smog / fog / smoke was barely allowing any light to penetrate the sky! We did think about going down to the beach, but then one look at the awful film of brown, bubbly sludge slopping around on the surface of the water and we promptly changed our minds. We did however manage to go SHOPPING! How exciting this was!! You have to bear in mind that it has been 10 months since we have done ANY shopping for decent clothes, and we have been wearing the same tattered clothing for all this time....and so we spent 3 whole hours in the shopping mall, after which we had successfully bought some underwear for Kev, a T-shirt for Kev, and a nice trendy Billabong T-shirt, a cardigan and a new top for the beach for myself! Now, we just neeed to find more room in our rucksacks!!! Hmmmm!.....We also met up once again with Sanjib and Kirsty for Sunday lunch, and again for dinner on both nights that we were there. They had taken the more direct route of flying to Lima, and were interested to hear of our tales on the bus.
So now we have just under two weeks before our flights leave for the Galapagos, and so we have decided to head to northern Peru and hit the beach for 10 days......ah it's tough!