September 11, 2006 Monday
Had to check out of our hotel by 9:00 a.m., but then we hung out most of the day on their second floor playing with the computers and internet. Visited one of the dozen or so internet cafes and had the camera memory disk copied onto a jump drive (thumb drive). Hopefully there will be a small miracle and we will figure out a way to get the photos of the Amazon Jungle off this camera later. The funniest sign we saw at an internet café offering this service was “All your memory into CD burnt.” We didn’t want a CD, but they were also set-up to just put it all onto our jump drive. Took 5 minutes and cost only 10 soles.
Neither of us felt like going back up to the
again. Contrary to the majority of
opinions, one full day at Machu Picchu
(1/2 day with a guide and ½ day alone) is plenty. Unless, of course, you are a little nuts and
also want to climb Huayna Picchu.
Definitely need a second day to do that. Machu Picchu
The excitement of the day at Aguas Calientes was caused by a tourist throwing bread into the town square fountain under the Inca statue. Several dozen people clustered around the fountain for hours, removing the rainbow trout because now the water was “dirty.” Didn’t seem to us that those bread pieces would really hurt those fish, but the local people were all bent out of shape and felt that they needed to save the fish from the contamination of that bread. So a couple of them hiked up their pants legs and climbed into the cold water of the fountain. They captured all the fish by hand and transferred them to clean water in buckets, and started emptying the fountain to clean it. That is when we sort of lost interest and drifted away. Didn’t find anything else going on to entertain us, so we went back to the hotel and played on their computer.
It was interesting watching how small children are cared for in that little town. Little kids ages 1-5 are left with an older sister or cousin, usually about age 8. She handles that responsibility quite well, while still being young enough to enjoy also playing with the younger kids. We saw no fighting or squabbling like you would have in the
with kids that age. And the kids seem to
be quite safe because they are playing in the town square all day. The entire town is pedestrian only, except
for the main river road where the buses run from the train station up and down US . These people have a pretty good life; very
slow-paced and no crime. Machu Picchu
We ate another Peruvian pizza, cooked in one of their small wood-burning ovens. Every single restaurant or café in Aguas Calientes sells pizza. They also sell the “Tourista.” For 10-15-20 soles, you get either an appetizer, salad or soup, a main course with side veggies, and a beverage. There is always a large selection of each. All this for only $3-$4 US. “Menu” here does mean a menu; a menu is called a carte. “Menu” means special of the day and always includes 3 courses at a very cheap price. The food is nothing like we enjoyed in
Cusco. This is
just typical tourist fare.
BTW, we have an old Lonely Planet travel guide printed in 1991. Man!, have things changed around here in the past 15 years!! Apparently there used to be a narrow path to the
. Now it
is solid restaurants the entire way, with nice stone walkways and streets all
the way up to the entrance to the hot
springs . In
1991 the hostel known as Gringo Bills (called a hostal down here) charged only
per night. Gringo Bills is exactly the
same, but today they charge $90 US per night.
We paid $100 for our extra night at the Towers hotel, and that included
buffet breakfast and free internet. Sure
makes Gringo Bills seem overpriced. We
did not check the prices at any of the other dozen or so hostals in town. U.S.
Caught the 4:45 train back to
but got off in Ollantaytamba as we had been instructed by Lima Tours. There was a nice bus waiting for us at the
train depot. There were 8 others on our
train who were also Lima Tours customers.
The train would take another 3 hours to reach the depot in Cusco. The bus had
us back at our hotel in Cusco in 1 ½ hours.
The luggage we had left with the hotel when we left 4 days ago was already placed in our new room. As soon as we arrived in our room we received a call from the front desk telling us that Lima Tours would pick us up at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow for our flight to Puerto Maldonado, so the hotel would provide us a wake-up call at 5:00 a.m. We think this is the first time that a hotel told us what time we would wake up rather than allowing us to make that decision ourselves.
The altitude of
immediately affecting Judy, so we opted for early bedtime and skip dinner.