Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cozying up in Cusco (by Todd)

We made it back to Cusco eager to find a place to stay - finally the third place we checked had a room available, and claimed to have hot water so we threw our packs down and took it. We should have checked on that hot water claim, however - the hot water that did exist lasted only for my shower, after that (for the next two days) we had trouble resurrecting it. But eager to sleep in the same bed two nights in a row, we decided against moving hotels.

Our first night in Cusco was pretty uneventful...having hiked to MP early that morning, up and down Wayna Picchu in the late morning, and having a touch of ´Montezuma´s Revenge´(or whatever the Peruvian equivalent is), I was extremely beat and needed to sleep....all I could manage was a little walk around town before I had to pass out for the night.

The next day we attempted to cash in on our ´boleterios turisticos´, which are used to visit many of the historical sites around Cusco. The highlight was the mountain fortress (ruins) of Saqsaywaman (say "sexy wo-man"). We also visited a site called Qorichanka, which is a monestary that was built on top of one of the Inca´s most important religous temples, and actually incorporates some of the original Inca structures. Sadly the walls of gold that once existed were melted down during the Spanish conquest, leaving the true version only to one´s imagination.

Our second day in Cusco we arranged to go on a white-water rafting trip with Mayuc rafting, which was an excellent trip, even though the rapids were not strong enough for Juli´s tastes...mostly class II and just a couple class III rapids along the way. Though the guide did add to the excitement by tipping our raft over at one point and we did do something new (at least for me) - after shooting down one rapid we turned around and paddled back into it, at a point where the water dropped about 3 feet, and we had the raft ´surf´the wave created by the falling was really tough to exert the effort to paddle back in (we failed on our first attempt), but once we were positioned, water came gushing into the raft but the raft remained right on the small ´falls´on its own. The Mayuc base camp was also equipped with a sauna which made dealing with the snowmelt water in the river a little more bearable.

On our return from rafting we headed to the bus station to board an overnight bus to Arequipa, a town a bit south of Cusco. Unfortunately there were no ´cama´(full recline) seats available on the bus, so we settled for a ´semi-cama´seat which is generally equivalent to an airplane seat. Between our seating arrangements, the noise level on the bus, and fact that the bus broke down on the way, it was a long night and morning of travel to Arequipa.

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