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Cuckoo in Cusco

going mad and spending money

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Latin American Tour on alexis.johnson's travel map.

First of all, our sincere apologies for the crap titles of each entry. They make you put a title on every entry (and every photograph, if you've checked those out). We're completely out of creativity, and titles are harder to come up with than you might think.

We arrived to Cusco early morning the day before yesterday via an overnight bus from Arequipa. Woz referred to it as the Overnight Gringo Bus to Cusco – it was rammed with Americans/Aussies. Despite having arranged a taxi to collect us with the hostel, no one was there with our name on a sign. *sigh*

The same was true in Arequipa. If a taxi driver does collect us in future, we’ll feel very spoiled. To save us negotiating a price with drivers, we’ve tried to book them through our hostels, but have so far been unsuccessful. Perhaps our buses have been arriving late and the drivers can’t be bothered to hang around. <<shrugs>>

While we were waiting to leave in the departure lounge in Arequipa, an Australian girl whipped out some weird traditional-looking guitar thing and sang Hallelujah and some 90s hit for her friends. It was massively cringe worthy. Was incredibly pleased she wasn’t American.

We’ve both let our guard down when it comes to drinking water. We have been boiling tap water for coffees and teas, but I’m not entirely certain that it helps. We’ve also become suckers for the juice stands, but while the juices are tasty, they use tap water when they blitz the fruit. This has resulted in a bit of dodgy tummies on both our parts.

We haven’t cracked open the Immodium yet, but tomorrow might be a different story. I told Woz that...well, I’ve had worse, but - he interrupted me and said, “But you’ve gotta be careful when you fart, don’t you.”

I reckon that’s the Quote of the Trip so far.

We had a super good meal tonight! This was our first decent meal since we left Lima. We’ve now tried lomo saltado, a quinoa crema soup, and alpaca steak. There were a few other typical dishes thrown in, but I don’t remember their names. I’ll be honest, I still don’t miss beef and other red meats. The lomo saltado tasted like Mongolian beef...and it was served with rice and some chips.

We both would like to try cuy (guinea pig), but the cheapest we’ve seen it priced is S./50 for one serving. That would be more than what we paid in total for supper tonight (including three courses each, a coke each, a coca tea each, and the tip). We’ll probably sack it off.

We’ve booked our Machu Picchu stuff. We have [sort of] settled on arranging everything independently rather than booking through a travel agency. We’re only taking the train/bus rather than going on a trek. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself for not having gotten in shape so that this wouldn’t be an issue. The treks sound amazing and they cost the same or less than doing it independently.

For example, you can do a Jungle Trek which involves some hiking, a zip line, some mountain biking, and accommodation by camping or staying in hostels. Most meals are included, as are all of your tickets into Machu Picchu (plus a guide) and the train back down the mountain. It takes either: 4 days/3 nights or 5 days/4 nights, and it costs less than what we’re paying for just:

• The train to/from Aguas Calientes
• The bus to/from Machu Picchu
• Hostel for two nights in Aguas Calientes
• Groceries to make our own meals

Our reasons for going solo (in order of importance):

• I’d likely complain the whole trek about feet/legs/butt hurting, being out of breath, wanting a shower, being unfit, etc.
• We have days left over to travel in another country
• We can go our own pace
• We can say that we did Machu Picchu without the help of a tour agency

Other notes:

• We paid this hostel (Dream Hostel, such a romantic name) S./14 to wash 3.5 kilos of our dirty laundry. They smell sooo nice!
• We’re paying Peru Rail US$296 (return) to go up the bloody mountain to see Machu Picchu on the 20th November.
• Police chased a man away from us today while we were in the main plaza. He was looking for some ‘donations’ for a charity.

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Posted by alexis.johnson 18.11.2012 08:05 Archived in Peru

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