The Inca Trail, Cuzco, Arequipa, Ica and Beyond

Part 5 of 7

22nd November 2000

Peruvian Treats

I'm in Peru now and am about to start the Inca Trail and do some rafting among other things.

But first I've got a reunion tonight ..... about 10 people I've met along the way from South Chile to Bolivia ...... I wonder how many bottles of the red stuff we'll have .... it's averaging 2 each a night so far ....... got standards to maintain you know !!!

Inca Trail and Sunday Roast !!

Just done the Inca trail ...... 4 days of shear hell ....... but going for a Sunday roast on a Wednesday !!!

More details later.

Cusco, the Inca Trail, and Beyond

Well it's been some time now since I sat down and typed an epic, but the time has come to do it. Three weeks of action packed adventure. Well I did find time to crash in a bar called the couch bar ...... which "surprisingly" had several well comfy settees to sprawl on.

The Inca Trail

Let's start with the Inca trail ..... it a killer. Four days of shear hell on the legs. But my pre-match training did consist of meeting up with Claudio (pre-arranged in Derby back in August), and having a couple of swift jugs of vino over a Mexican meal !

My group (10 people) for the hike was a bit of a classic ..... all English (plus 1 Swiss girl). But 7 of us had met up earlier on our travels, so there was none of the usual "hello who are you" shite, we all knew one another before starting, which freaked the shit out of our tour guide (Alfonzo).

The Inca Trail is not for the weak hearted or vertigo sufferers ! My arm has been permanently disfigured where by one of the girls (Karen) who suffered big style from vertigo ..... going up shopping mall escalators sometimes freaked her out. So you can imagine how she felt being 4200m above sea level walking on what she described as a spiral staircase without a banister (very apt description I might add) !!

But she managed to finish it unscathed ....... colour of knickers afterwards well I'm not sure of that !!!

A bit of history / facts for you ...... Inca sites and landmarks that we passed :

Day 1
LACTAPATA
- Town by Hillside
Day 2
RUNKURARAY
- Egg Hut.
SAYACMARKA
- Dominant Town.
Day 3
PUYUPATAMARKA
- Town Above The Clouds.
INTIPATA
- Sun Stairs.
WIÑAYWAYNA
- Forever Young.
Day 4
INTIPUNCU.
- Sun Gate
MACHU PICCHU
- Old Peak.
WAYNA PICCHU
- Young Peak.
PUTUCUSI
- Belly of the World.
   

The walk itself is about 35km but it is up and down all the way at altitude (thank God I had some coca leaves ...... me and Henry (English lawyer chappie) chewed them constantly ..... although Henry got a mouth ulcer from them.

You can do a 1 day train trip to Machu Picchu ...... classic Nathan comment .... a tour guide was taking a group of immaculately dressed 40 year old church going women ....... she said to them, as we walked passed in 4 day old sweaty and grimy (in a couple of peoples cases "poo & spew" stained) clothes, "And you can do a 4 day walk from the 35km mark, but it's a very tiring walk" ........ "too bloody right" came my reply as I plodded past them !!! A look of shock horror flashed across their faces !!

Sunday dinner on a Wednesday

Then came the much acclaimed Sunday dinner and a Wednesday ..... roast chicken, proper roast potatoes, stuffing, broccoli, beans, cauliflower- cheese and gravy !!!

With apple pie and ice cream for dessert ......... it was then time to settle down on the sofa and watch a video "Something about Mary" and have a cappuccino ...... pure unadulterated bliss !!!

Several Days Later

Having spent the best part of the next 4 or 5 days sat on my arse either watching a video or drinking coffees & eating potato skins, I decided that I had to get out of Cusco ..... it far to easy to re-enact a day in the life of 40 Owthorpe Grove !!!

Arequipa & The Nazca Lines

So it was of to a place called Arequipa to see some Condors. We went to a place called the Colca Canyon (the deepest canyon in the world) in an attempt to see condors, but after waiting over 3 hours none had appeared ........ but then as we were about to get up and go in a totally pissed off mood 2 condors ......... we left happy !

Also in Arequipa I saw an ancient frozen Inca mummy, it was of a body of a 16 year girl who was sacrificed on a mountaintop nearby ... very spooky.

Next on the agenda was a trip to Nazca to see some ancient pre Inca lines ...... giant animals, trees, hand etc engraved into the ground. No one knows what they represent, but one legend has it : they are maps of ancient star configuration.

Very interesting, but the best part was going up in a 5 seater plane and been thrown from side to side as the pilot twisted and turned so you could get a better view of them.

My next hair raising activitiy was only a couple of hours away. We went to a town called Ica and headed off into the sand dunes to an oasis village called Huacachina.

Sand Boarding

I'm in a place called Huacachina, near Ica. This is a small villiage, with a lagoon surrounded by sand dunes .... and guess what I did here .... Sand boarding ! That's right boys and girls sand boarding was my next death defying activity.

The sand dunes are the highest in the world ..... next month they are holding the world sand boarding championships here and the Discovery Channel were there doing some pre-championship filming ...... I don't think I'll be featured ...... I was a bag of shite !!!

On Sunday afternoon I was sat by the bar of the hostel, when Luis the bar bloke started talking to me ..... the general jist being "your Spanish is shite, you need a Peruvian girl for a couple of months to help you improve" ..... he then pointed at this really foxy girl that I had occasionally (only occasionally !) been leeching at and called her over.

For the next 3 hours we were talking (just talking, nothing else), then I got an invite to a party with her and some of her friends. I was hardly going to say no.

The party was quite a laugh really, live band, Peruvians dancing and getting pissed ..... most entertaining. At the end of the partying it was time to get a taxi home ......... I ended up sharing a taxi with 6 fit 18 year old Peruvian girls !!!

But the reality never turned into the perfect dream !!! They went home and I went home to my room ... on my own ...... well apart from the scorpion I found under my rucksack ...... I was within half a finger of picking it up ...... it was a big bugger as well !!!

But the poor scorpion met it's match when the hostel owner came along with an old shoe !!!!

Beyond

I'm now in Lima trying to sort out my next month. I'm struggling to get everything done that I want to do ...... it's a bind really trying to get from place to place, whilst your dear selves are stuck in rainy, dreary Britain !!

I've got to get to Ecuador, go to the Galapagos Island, and still get to the jungle ...... all before the New Year, and then I've got to spend another 3 weeks on a beach in Venezuela / Trinidad & Tobago !!!

6th December 2000

Beyond Resolved.

Yesterday I said I was trying to sort out my next few days, well I've sorted it out.

Tonight I'm hitting the road. 20 hour bus journey to the Ecuador border ..... that'll be fun ..... but I'm travelling "Royal" class .... comfy chairs, videos, and food & drink all included (20 quid).

I'll be in touch with Ecuadorian stories.

14th December 2000

Galapagos Islands here I come .....

I'm off to the Galapagos Islands tomorrow for 8 days. So I'll be out of contact until Thursday 22nd at the earliest.

Been horse ridings in the mountains cowboy style ..... my legs ache like mad !!!

Happy Christmas and New Year in the mean time.