Saturday, January 23, 2010

Machu Picchu

When most people are asked; why Peru? The general consensus would be to see Machu Picchu, and yes I admit that was one of the main reasons why I had an interest in Peru. That and one of my tourism college Professors really liked to say Titicaca a lot. It’s a major tourist attraction and now one of the Seven New Wonders of the world. It may be a bit over rated and overly touristic especially after staying a night in the fake town of Aguas Caliente built solely to house the Machu Picchu traffic. In the end it is still Machu Picchu, an ancient mystery, an advance civilization and it will always be breath taking. It is ruins of a lost civilization that will never be forgotten. What makes it more incredible than other ruins it its location, high up in the mountains with the peak of Wyna Picchu towering over it. A lot of people take the infamous Inca trail to get to it. I on the other hand didn’t want to pay a left nut (or a left boob for that matter) to get there. Instead I took the cheaper but still adventurous option of the Inca Jungle trek.
The first day we biked down a mountain in the cold pouring rain through rivers and mud slides. The second day was a tough hike in the hot jungle with the reward of hot springs at the end. Day three was more jungle trekking. Our guide snuck us off the trail and away from the other groups through palm trees of every fruit you could imagine, to a beautiful cascading waterfall. It was freezing cold but refreshing. The final day, the day I had been waiting for since I jumped on a plane to Peru was the hike to Machu Picchu. We left at 4:00am in the pitch black and pouring rain. Heaving a bag full of extra clothes and food I forced my way up every one of the Inca steps. The air was moist and the altitude high where breathing wasn’t so easy. I was convinced I was going to die before I would make it to Machu Picchu. The guide said this wasn’t a competition but somehow I was lagging behind as the young American college students flew up, apparently they didn’t listen. The rain died down and I knew I was close. With some encouragement from the guide I made it to the top and we were at the gates waiting by 6:00am. Everyone was assigned a guide, mine was Miguel. Once in and with Miguel the rain came again and in full force. We were all freezing and wet. To top it off there was so much cloud and fog from the rain you could barely see 10 meters in front of you. This is it? I thought. Yes, I went to Machu Picchu but I saw feck all. I had almost given up hope when Miguel finally shut up and the rain stopped. The cloud and fog cleared enough to see the grandeur of Machu Picchu. I got some amazing photos and views before the swarm of tourists arrived and I found myself stuck in a mob of photo happy Asians.
Peru isn’t just Machu Picchu but no matter how touristic it is one cannot come to this country without seeing it. It’s like going to a Japanese restaurant where they don’t have any wasabi.

1 comment:

  1. This was my favourite entry so far. I saw your photos on Facebook of Machu Picchu which were so gorgeous, but then the story that goes with those photos is even better. I think that you should try submitting that as an article to a travel magazine. It's very entertaining! Miss you!


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