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Cuzco

Written on: Tuesday August 14th, 2007

A journal entry from: Bolivia, Peru, and the Galapagos!

(NOTE: There are three more journal entries after this one.... including the Amazon, the Sacred Valley, and the Inka Trail.... click on!) 

We traveled from Puno to Cuzco today on a public bus. I took no pictures of the journey to help jog my memory, but I do remember the landscape being quite arid and the towns we passed were quite poor with trash piled and spread all over the place. Upon arrival at the Cuzco bus station, we all loaded into a van taxi and headed for our hotel, Tika Wasi Hostal. The hotel is located on a hill overlooking the main square (we could see the towers of the churches there from our room) and the rest of Cuzco. The nicest thing about the hotel was its courtyard with hammocks and swings to lounge in. Unfortunately, the hotel had fewer amenities than we had expected for a town the size of Cuzco, namely no internet and no laundry service. Yet this wasn't a huge inconvenience because the hairdresser around the corner also did laundry on the side, and there were numerous internet cafes within a couple blocks.

The craziest thing about our neighborhood in Cuzco was how narrow the streets were. They were wide enough for one car and one pedestrian, yet they functioned as two way streets with mini sidewalks on both sides. Two cars going oppposite directions on the same street would play chicken with one another until one gave up and backed up thus allowing the other to progress forward. Also, the corners were quite tight, forcing cars to do complicated 15 point turns at some intersections in order to turn the correct direction.

During the afternoon, a few of us strolled the streets of Cuzco. To sum it up, Cuzco is the tourist capital of Peru. Women in traditional dress roam the streets with baby lambs asking for money for pictures. Adolescents tout massages on every street corner (I suppose for after the Machu Picchu hike). Every shop sells shoddy outdoor gear in addition to whatever goods they are trying to sell. And there are at least 5 shops per block selling various goods made from alpaca wool including colorful (tacky) textile goods (purses, blankets, rugs, hats, socks, gloves....), and also various leather goods with "Cusco - Machu Picchu" embossed on them. Also, in equal numbers were shops selling pieces of large gawdy silver jewelry.

Some of the group stayed out late tonight, but I chose to get to bed early because I was catching a flight into the jungle the next morning with four of the girls in our group (the remaining four decided to stay in Cuzco).