Peru, day 10 An Amazing Race start to Cuzco
Trip Start Jun 20, 2007
11Trip End Jul 06, 2007
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We get up and get in a cab to get to the bus station for 7:30 for an 8 AM departure on the Inka Express bus tour. When we show up at 7:40, but the lady tells us that it is the wrong place, that they only have small buses there and gives the cab driver another place to go, we think. We show up at what as does not look like a bus stations, talks to some other cab drivers and tells us the bus is gone, despite it only being 7:45. We are totally confused and between our little Spanish and his minimal English all we get is that the bus is gone. He takes off for what we assume is another bus station, but as we get further and further out of town, it becomes apparent that the cabby is chasing the bus. He keeps pointing out a bus in the distance and driving crazy to catch it, only to realize it is not our bus, and then we are off after the next bus on the horizon. Finally, we catch what actually appears to be our bus. It is pulling over to pick up several other folks that have missed the bus as well. I double check that this is in fact the bus we have tickets for, throw our bags in, pay the cabby and we are off to Cuzco.
The bus is really empty, so after a quick intro by our tour guide, Jonathan heads to the back of the bus to lay down because he is still feeling crappy. I pray the antibiotics kick in soon. Along the way we stop at Pukara and check out some old church. According to the brochure, we are supposed to see some pyramid from the first peruvian culture...but we don't. Jon doesn't bother getting off the bus, which is a good thing as he didn't miss anything. The next stop is at the highest point of the trip as we go through an Andes pass. Locals are selling their wares, it was freezing, but cool.
Lunch at a buffet is the next stop with pretty good food. We sit with a brother and sister from Argentina. Jon eats guinea pig. He says it is chewy. Off again on the bus. The scenery is amazing. We see where the Urumba River starts from small mountain streams. The next stop is an alpaca petting zoo/place for tourists to spend money. As usual, the alpacas don't think I'm all that great, but they LOVE Jonathan. I get to feed a little baby a bottle!
There were also a bunch of cute guinea pigs, but it was disturbing to think Jon had just had one of their friends at lunch.
Back on the bus yet again, with the next stop at Raqch where there are temple ruins to Wiracoch- supreme god of the Incas.
As we are leaving, we realize there are 2 guys missing from the bus and an all out search begins. Jonathan pegged these 2 as toolboxes from the get go! Maybe the altitude has gone to my head, but I start running down the road and end up finding them and then run back to the bus to let everyone know they have been found, It then takes me a good 30 minutes to catch my breath, stupid lack of oxygen.
The final stop is at the tiny town of Andahuaylillas to see a church considered the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. It is beautiful, but far more interesting os the feast of San Pedro festivities going on outside. Music, dancing, food, a parade, it is great, but unfortunately we must move on. Getting back on the bus or tour guide is drinking something an old Peruvian woman has given her. I ask if it chicha and the old lady insists that I have some from her cup. I can't be rude, so I take a swig. Luckily, it has been mixed with strawberries so it wasn't all bad, but I can't imagine drinking more than a swig.
On to Cuzco, our tour guide not only stole 4 soles from us, she also sold us out so a tout attacks us right off the bus. She wants to take us to some hotel, but we check into the Casa Andina for a night just to get away from her. Unfortunately, this hotel is not as nice as the one in Puno. We walk around town to get our bearings, set up our trip to Machu Pichu trip for Monday and check out a few hostels to move to tomorrow.
Today was a super long day!