Cusco is the home of the tourist.
The central streets are line with stores and services to cater for the tourist population, and you can pay any price to stay and see Muchu Piccu. For example, the most expensive hotels rival the prices of New York, while the cheapest dorms are dirt cheap. You can be a dumbass gringo and rock up to a restaurant and pay American prices for dinner, or you can be a tightass backpacker can ask for the “menu ejective” and eat for a fraction of the price for basically the same stuff. You walk the streets and get asked if you want a massage, tour, information, weed & cocaine constantly.
Plaza de Armas.
When I arrived, it seemed that most of the hostels were booked out, due to the festival of the sun – the Inti Raymi. I booked into a hostel called ‘The Point’ a vaguely Australian themed hostel. At first I thought it was nice, it had a backyard with some things to do… volley ball, a blow up pool etc, but the longer I stayed the more of a dump it became for me. Only three toilets, and three showers for the whole hostel, which were constantly not working. A lot of the staff were reckless junkies.
backyard of the point hostel… where it all happens.
Inti Raymi means, sun festival, in Quechua which is held a day after the winter solstice, as the festival was held in Machu Piccu on the actual winter solstice. The festival was OK, but I really should have gone up to the Sacsayhuamán (pronounced ‘Sexy Woman’) or into the sacred valley. Should have know better! There was a parade, and the act portrays the Inca king was carried about the square to meet his people and blah blah. That day was started with beer… classy.
Freezing cold, and an amazing sunrise.
That evening a rave was held out in some ruins, and everyone seemed to be going. It was S/60 for a ticket, so it wasn’t that cheap. It was pretty funny, a fire in the outside, some music and a bar. When our hostel group arrived the party was only just getting started, it was really weird, but then it cranked up and we stayed until sunrise, which was absolutely beautiful. Fun fact – I learned from a tourist ‘star geek’ that the planets will align fully by the end of this year, making a three stars in a line. At sunrise, two planets were aligned and amazingly bright!
The next major fun activity I did was the rafting on the Aprumic river. See the post.
After the Aprumic, I enrolled into Spanish school, which started out OK. The teacher was a bit amateur, but I started to learn past tense verbs. During that week I started to get sick and by the end of the week I had a pretty shithouse fever which lasted for almost a week. While I was sick, I also developed a chest infection or bronchitis or something. This sucked because the Machu Picchu trek was coming up.
Eating Coy: I want to a nice restaurant where we ordered Guinea pig for dinner… and it was delicious. Think chicken, but perfect crispy skin. We chewed through the bones, head, everything.