Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lima to Cuzco - A Story of Ceviche, Alpaca, Anticuchos, and an Important Macchu Pichu Warning!!!

Let us begin with our last evening in Huanchaco. Our Japanese friend Tom, who we met in Quetzaltenango happened to be passing through Trujillo and we caught up for a light dinner before heading to Lima. Turns out he is planning to head to Europe soon and work for as a dogsled guide! We took a cab to the bus station and took what was probably the most comfortable bus of our voyage to Lima. It was a double decker, dinner and drinks were served, and we had our own headphone jack to listen to the movies or other music stations. We arrived in Lima around 7 AM and caught a cab to the Miraflores area. We did our usual wandering around and found a hostel we liked, Pariwana, which actually had been recomended to us by an Australian in Huanchaco. That first night the hostel had arranged a trip to the largest fountain and light show in the world, the Magic Water Circuit. We learned that the water show and park was funded partially by ten million US tax dollars. It was a very interesting show, and it seems like Disney may have stolen some of it for their show! Afterwards we had some beef hearts outside of the park and caught a taxi home.

At about 2 AM the next morning our friend Elliot finally arrived after passing through immigration. That day we did a walking tour of Miraflores on our own, and we had ceviche at Punto Azul, known for having the best ceviche in the world. The next day we went to the national musuem of archaeology, anthropology, and history. This walked us through the history of Peru for the past few thousand years. There is a blue line painted on the sidewalk outside of the musuem that leads the walker to the Larco Musuem. We checked it out but decided not to spend 30 soles to enter since this musuem is known principally for its odd collection of pottery depicting human and animal sexual activity. This type of pottery is available in tons of stores anyway. The next day we booked our ticket for Cuzco and said goodbye to Lima around 3 PM.

We arrived in Cuzco around noon the next day, got settled here in our hotel on Calle Resbalosa(means "slippery street" in Spanish) and started wandering around town. First we headed to the company that we had booked our Inca Jungle Trek through, Lorenzo Expeditions. Despite being recommended by Lonely Planet, they had no record of our reservation. We had sent various emails back and forth, and now were being quoted different prices, so we just decided to walk away. We found another tour company that so far has been much more helpful, we will let you know the quality after our trek.


Our new tour company alerted us to a glitch in the system for purchasing tickets in advance, which we thought we had done. The system allows you to reserve tickets for MP and Huayna Pichu online, however it doesn't accept foreign credit cards. Essentially, holders of foreign credit cards have to present themselves to a bank here in Cuzco to pay. What the website doesn't say is that if you don't pay within five hours, your reservation is cancelled. This meant that our reservations for HP had already been cancelled.


We all wanted to go to both MP and HP, and our new tour company was kind enough to purchase the admission tickets and since he has a local credit card, it was no trouble booking it, however now it delays us by about five days. Anyway, with that taken care of, we rested a bit, and had some beef hearts, lamb kidney, and regular steak for dinner. Yesterday we took a longer walking tour of Cuzco. We took a tour of the San Francisco church and saw the biggest canvas painting in South America. We also went through a few of the markets in town and saw a twelve sided stone.

The Incas really did some amazing stonework, making all the pieces fit together in alignment and not using mortar. We had dinner at a restaurant next to our hotel which served alpaca! It was quite delicious, and the dinner even came with sopa de zapallo which we had also been looking for.

This morning we headed out to Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qénqo, and Sacsayhuamán. Again we admired the magnificent stonework and interlocking boulders. Especially at Sacsayhuamán the stones are really huge and yet are all interlocked forming very straight walls with no mortar. We saw what is thought to be old forts as well as watch towers. Tomorrow we will probably head up to Pisac and explore more Incan ruins. We will keep you posted!

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