Best week of the year so far :)
13.05.2011 - 22.05.2011 20 °C
I didn´t manage to write everything last time so I´ll try and remember to put it all in now. So last week James and I went to a football match in Cusco with a load of people from the spanish school. Most of the people who came were from the US so just kind of pretended they knew what was going on but whatever. The stadium didn´t have seats, instead just concrete platforms to sit on. It was absolutely packed where we were sitting, and a little after we sat down, the home fans arrived. They were behind the home goal and there were about 100 people all dressed from head to toe in red, bearing great big drums and trumpets and all singing, drinking and dancing. They literally didn´t shut up the whole match, but it was quite nice seeing how passionate they were. The match started and Cusco almost immediatly scored so everyone in the stadium was buzzing, the fans behind the goal started a sort of mosh pit and pushed eachother around the stands singing, during this they also thought it was a good idea to let off flares in the stadium, so every now and then there would be a huge bang and the mosh pit would turn into a big crowd of smoke and fire. It was pretty funny to watch. The trouble started in the second half when the other team scored. The man who scored was south american but was a black man, and I began to see how racist South America can get. From Then on out, whenever the man who scored got the ball, the entire stadium would say ´ooh ooh ooh´and make other monkey sounds and movement, it was really terrible! But the man didn´t say or do anything, so I imagine that he´s used to it, even if it isn´t fair. This carried on for a while until eventually Cusco scored again. However the manager from the opposing team was not at all happy! One of the Cusco Players said something to the bench and the manager started to pace, then in one quick movement he ran onto the pitch towards the player and punched him square in the jaw! Seeing 100 riot police run onto the pitch to break apart two entire teams was very funny, even funnier when the manager was dragged away screaming that he had a point. I didn´t really understand the reaction from the crowd except for the constant repeating of Ímbercilo!´which was a clear enough indication of what they all thought. They seemed pretty relaxed though so it obviously happens alot. Suddenly hundreds of riot police were everywhere, all around the stadium, which made sense as when the players started to leave bottles and glass was being thrown at the opposition, especially at the man who scored. The police had to put their shields over their heads to stop themselves and the players being hit. It was a very interesting afternoon anyway, I guess it´s just like Peruvian Green Street.
The night we got back from Nasca, Cruz Del Sur lost James´ bag. They put it on a bus heading for Araquipa which is on the other side of the country. We weren´t worried at first because they said they could get it back by the time we got to Cusco but they were lying and we still have not had it back. James had his sleeping bag, his coat, hat and gloves that he´d bought especially for the trek, all of the chargers and adapters and most of his clothes. So we spent the night before leaving for the trek shopping in Cusco, looking for coats, batteries, chargers and spending a fortune trying to get everything ready, which sucked. Luckily SAS travel who we did the tour with, had a spare sleeping bag when we got there.
Real Gap kind of messed up the Lares Trek for some of us. They had an outdated version of the itinerary on their website, which states that on the first day we would do two hours of walking then go to some hot springs, and in general they made it sound like a bit of a doss. However when we went to the breifing at SAS travel we found out how wrong they were. The Lares trek is hiking for 4 days, up to 10 hours a day. It´s considered much more physically demanding then the Inca trail because not only do you have to climb much higher mountains, but you also do the same distance in one less day. You reach heights of 4700 meters but are constantly at 3000 meters above sea level so the altitude makes you out of breath so quickly, and gives a lot of people (including me) altitude sickness!
The Lares Trek with SAS travel has literally been one of the best weeks of my life! I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I froze to death, passed out and was generally knackered the whole time i was doing it. We had a guide called Saul who was so interesting. He grew up in the Andes so knew all about the culture, he was so willing and excited to show us everything he could that he really did make the Trek as good as it was. We also had an awesome group. There were 20 of us so usually there is someone who winds everyone up but we all got along so well and everyone was so nice! On the first day we walked for 8 hours through the Andes and reached or highest point just before lunch. The walk up the mountain was really hard but we all got there and had a photo at the top. On the way back down we were surrounded by Llamas and Chincillas which was really nice and very atmospheric! The food we had on the Lares Trek was hands down the best food I have had in Peru. We got so much choice! On lunch the first day we had Pasta, Rice, Veg, Chicken, Fish and potatoes and avacados. It was incredible!
We reached camp that night by about 6pm and the Chasquis (porters) had already set up the tents for us. I have never ever been so cold in all my life than I was that night. It was lucky James now had a sleeping bag or I don´t think he would have survived the night!! I was fully dressed and in my sleeping bag but that still wasnt warm enough because the air was too cold to breath so my lips were freezing!!! It was awful! This was the campsite from the mountain above.
The next day was the hardest day because we had the longest trek and the highest mountain to climb. On the way through the valley Saul let us stop off at his friends house to have a look at a traditional Andean house. The houses are tiny so they have their bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room in one room. Also their bed is used as a hutch for their pet guinea pigs, which they eat when they get too fat. The first mountain on the valley wasnt as difficult as it looked, but then we started our upward climb to the tallest mountain on the trail. It was huge! and had a massive upward climb up to the bottom anyway. This is where i started to feel really ill. Perri and I had been walking quite slowly for a while because my stomach was killing me but after lunch i literally thought I was going to die! I walked on my own for a bit and then had to sit down because I thought I was going to faint, then I did faint momentarily and was put on the horse for part way up the mountain. Whilst on the horse I was sick, but because all I´d had was blue powerades it was a flourescent kind of blue... not nice. I walked up the last part of the mountain, when I felt a little better. James was one of the first to get to the top of the mountain, but even he was beaten by the Chasquis who literally run the whole trek, In sandals!!!!
That night was just as cold as the last but I made sure I put on every single layer I had which helped. Before we went to bed, Saul gave us this Peruvian Tea, which has loads of rum in it. It´s funny, because we were with a load of Americans and one was 20 and wasn´t allowed to drink at all! It felt wierd being younger than him and still being legal. After a camp fire was lit and we all sat around it. It was so nice and Saul performed an Incan ceremony where we had to throw loads of Coca leaves into the fire. It was a really nice night.
The last day wasn´t hard and was all down hill, we stopped in Ollantaytambo before carrying on to Aguas Calliente which is just below Machu Pichu. We were given the unfortunate news that we would have to be up at 3am so we didn´t do much in the evening. James went to the hot pools, but I went to the market with Perri and Moira to have a look round. We all had tea together and then were in bed (an actual bed yay!!!) by 8pm.
The morning was hell, but probally worth it. If you want to get to Machu Pichu before sunrise you have to queue up at 3 even though the buses don´t leave untill 5-30. Apparently in Peru people don´t understand the concept of queuing either, as we started quite close to the front, but the front seemed to get longer rather than the back of the queue. We got to Machu Pichu for sunrise and it was deffinatly worth it! I have never seen anything as impressive as Machu Pichu in my entire life! It was absolutely perfect! We climbed to the top first to take the picture that everyone has of Machu Pichu, and got a few group pictures too. Then we had a guided tour and were left to explore. Some some climbed Huayna Pichu, which is the huge mountain you see behind the city, but it looked terrifyingly steep so i backed out. It was so fantastic and for the most part there wasn´t a cloud in the sky. When you see pictures of Machu Pichu they don´t even begin to capture how high up it it or how big it is. It takes 25 minutes to just drive up the mountain, and the river underneath is barely recognisable from the city! And the city goes on behind the photos that you see, there are terraces to grow crops and storage houses. People keep saying that it was made for aliens, but i think that´s a bit stupid, scholors reckon that it was an observatory and also a refuge away from the jungle tribes (that are still in Peru and still dangerous!)
Today we had a lie in which was deffinatly needed!!! We went out last night with the trekking group which was really nice, but went to this crazy club where the dancers came into the crowd dressed in really creepy outfits. Have you ever seen the friends episode where Pheobe has those two creepy pictures of the dolls coming out of the canvas? Well those pictures were all around the club, along with hanging goblins and wierd masks. There´s a festival on in Cusco today but I don´t know what it is for. Everyone is dressed up and there is music playing everywhere.
James has caught whatever diesese I had n the trip and so he´s not been well this morning. We just have two days left in Cusco before going to Lake Titicaca and Puno and then Lima and Guatamala. It´s going so quickly!!!!!!