Well, I thought I’d better write out a couple paragraphs about the rest of the trip before I forget it all. Jody and I got back safe and sound yesterday from Peru. All told, it took us just over 24 hours to get from the depths of the Jungle back to the good ole Capital City. The day started with several hours on the river in a motorized canoe, followed by hours waiting for a delayed flight in the jungle, capped off by the red-eye from Lima to Toronto, and a narrowly-caught flight back to Ottawa where bright-eyed Alix was waiting to take us home. Unfortunately, that didn’t end the journey, as we then had to drive directly out to get Jonah and back again, an extra 2+ hour trip! Needless to say, we’re a bit road-tired today, but tonight I might start checking out the 1600+ pictures we took!
Well, hard to believe, but we´ve now got less than a week of this great trip left. I guess all things must come to an end. On the plus side, the time really hasn´t seemed to fly, meaning we´ve really been enjoying the trip, and it truly has felt like a proper getaway!
We´re back from the Inca trail, and no worse for wear. If you´ve ever contemplated heading south and seeing this area, I would definitely recommend getting back to nature and doing some proper hiking. Our 4 day journey wasn´t exceptionally difficult, but it had it´s ups and downs (literally). One of the downs would probably be the fact that on the day we started, Apu the sun God decided that it was time for rainy season to start. For most of the trail, the mountains were shrouded in clouds, and yes, we did experience both hail and heavy rains at various points. That being said, it certainly didn´t dampen (get it, dampen?) our spirits or reduce the experience in any way.
My personal favourite part of the journey wasn´t the trail, or even Macchu Picchu itself, but the hike we did on the site of the ruins, which was to climb up Wayna Picchu, (Young Mountain), the bigger peak behind the ruins. It is an uphill trail that is incredibly steep in parts, and culminates in a peak of a few really big boulders that you´re free to scramble around (1000s of feet above the valley below). We took some great shots from there, and both remarked that ´liability insurance´ obviously isn´t something required in South America. But obviously since I´m writing this, we both made it down in one piece. The rain even let up while we were up there.
With the brief internet breaks I´m using, it´s easier to just send a message to everyone rather than respond personally. Don´t take offence, and please keep writing back, great to hear from home.
Anywho, here we are in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. I´m sure those Incas would be rolling their collective eyes at the amount of panhandling / harrassing going on here! It´s nuts. I mean, I don´t mind getting a restaurant suggestion, but getting swarmed by 5 different people at once yelling about their menus to me just gets to be too much! But, given that over 60% of this city´s population of >300,000 has only tourism as their income, I guess I don´t blame them.
So we´ve spent several days now at high altitudes (right now, i´m sitting at 3462m above sea level!). We went direct from Lima to Puno, which is on Lake Titicaca (and over 4000m up!). That caused me a bit of a problem on the first night, which resulted in my going to bed around 8:30. Luckily, the one good night sleep fixed me up. Well, that and the coca and mint tea that I was sucking back!
We spent 2 days in this region, with one of the nights being spent on and island called Amantani, living like the locals. Whew, what a unique (read intense) experience. Our family of 9 lived in 2 little shacks (about 7ft x 14ft), the third shack was for us. We were treated like family, which meant zero privacy, with fairly frequent ´visits´ by some of the children. On this island, we also hike up to the top, which sits at about 4180m. That´s almost as high as our Inka trail will take us (4198m). We also got a chance to dress in the traditional clothes of the island inhabitants, and attend a fiesta, with local live music (wouldn´t buy the CD), and lots of bailar (dancing).
Just thought I´d write a quick email while I have the chance.
We arrived in Lima bright and early yesterday morning (7am). After a quick 2 hour nap, got organized and went to do some exploring on our own (we had a free day). We took a cab and visited several areas of Lima, including Miraflores and Barranco, which are the sea-side neighbourhoods. Lima is pretty much overcast and foggy all the time, but it was impressive nonetheless, especially the cliffs by the sea. Saw a few brave surfers, but not many.
We did our best to truly experience local living by basically walking everywhere through side streets and such. Mmmm, the odour of gas fumes and urine is sublime! After a while, you don´t even notice. The good news for a guy like me is that if I´ve really gotta go, I can just do like the locals, and go! Hee hee. We also went to the museum of anthropology and archeology for a couple hours and wow! Can the old cultures do amazing things with clay and metal! Took lots of pics to hopefully put up on flickr when we get back. I held off on taking a picture of the clay inca with the really big ´package´, which I now regret. Troy, you would´ve loved this stuff. Simply amazing.