Coca Tea & a Mad Mob in Cusco

Cusco Travel Blog

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pedestrian stairwell with woman carrying grass.
Monday 25 Feb, 2008

The bus ride to Cusco was a bit unpleasant. The windows didn't open, the fans couldn't be turned on because it was all-or-none, and the seats did not recline enough for me to be especially comfortable. So during the 10-hour bus ride I'd say I maybe got 2 hours of broken sleep. When we got to Cusco my first order of business was removing my contacts!! My eyes hurt a lot and I had a bit of a headache.

Some ladies came over to us and were speaking Spanish so I kinda just ignored them. When Chris came over he was talking to them and we ended up getting a lady named Augusta to help us get a taxi to a hostel.
Cusco
The roads in Cusco are extremely narrow! One lane... and about 1 foot of sidewalk space on either side! It was kinda scary! We drove up to Amaru hostel and started to get out, but the guy at the front said they were full. We drove away a bit confused, but a few minutes later we stopped again at Amaru Hostel II, and this was the correct place!

As usual at every hotel and ticket purchasing place, we had to fill out cards with our name, address, nationality, purpose, Passport #, etc. We got our bags up to our room #206 and then we all sat down with Augusta to figure out plans for Machu Picchu.  We were getting a package deal that included the taxi to the train station, the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the bus to and from Machu Picchu, entrance into Machu Picchu, the hostel in Aguas Calientes, and the train back to Cusco.
the streets of Cusco are very narrow and sometimes hilly, requiring steps!
We got all this for $205 each, but we had to pay in cash. Mind you this is all happening at about 7:00am! I was fading fast and didn't feel well. We each paid some of the ticket price and were going to meet Augusta later that day to pay the remaining balances. 

We then all went to bed cause we were SO tired!! We slept til about 10 or 11am and took our time with showers. We all wandered the streets a bit (watch for those cars!) until meeting up again with Augusta. Gloria and I wandered together and we stopped in a few art galleries. She got two small pictures from a street vendor who rolled them onto a tube for her. While Gloria and I were walking around, we briefly met a cute guy (never exchanged names) from New York. He had already been to Aguas Calientes and said the baths were “murky.
this corner says "no honking" ... but I doubt it happens! ;)
” He had quite a few red spots on his legs, which I asked about and learned were from bug bites! [He had done the Inca Trail... Yeah!!]

When we met up with Augusta, she walked with us to a bank so we could get more cash for our transaction. Once we had our wads of cash, we followed Augusta to her office “Puma (something)” and finished all the payments. At this point we were free to wander again. I was feeling even worse than before (slight migraine and queasy stomach) so we headed to a small restaurant overlooking the Plaza de Armas. [If you haven't figured it out by now, EVERY city in Peru has a Plaza de Armas! :)] I got coca tea and some regular water (sin gas!) The view was nice and the sun started shining. Chris left to take more photos. Gloria and I sat at the table for a while and I just kept feeling worse! After a while I decided to try walking a bit.
beautiful archway over the street
We went to a smaller plaza called Plaza de San Francisco, which also had an arch nearby. We were supposed to meet Chris for dinner at 7:00pm and it was already almost 6.

I decided I didn't feel too well and wanted to go back to the hostel. On the way back I took a small detour but didn't find any great views. I went back to the hostel and right before I got there Chris came running up! He wanted his tripod for a few night shots. Neither of us had the key and we had to wait a few extra minutes for the front desk gal to get the spare. Chris was in-and-out quick and I went straight to bed. (I got 2 more bottles of water on the way home too.) I slept fairly well even though the mattress was stiff, hard, flat like a board! Gloria and Chris returned at about 9:45pm so I got about 2 ½ hours of sleep.
adorable girls dressed in traditional outfits with baby alpacas.
They had an interesting dinner with many vendor girls, a live one-man-band and really good lomo saltado. By now I was feeling hungry from not eating most of the day due to the sickness.

Gloria mentioned they had some yummy alpaca near the hostel and she was willing to go back with me. So Gloria and I start walking and she tells me the story of Chris continually telling the vendor girls “maybe later.” They waited for them and Chris eventually got some finger puppets while Gloria got a belt, some postcards, and some indigenous music. We arrived for the alpaca and it was just a lady and her son selling skewers on the corner! Each skewer was only S/. 1.50! And they tasted GREAT! I ended up buying 3 cause I was extra hungry. We were standing on the corner, enjoying the alpaca, when a large group of men started walking towards our intersection.
this alpaca, who I hesitated to touch, was on the streets of Cuzco.
We decided it appeared unsafe and headed back up the steps the way we came. We stopped about half-way up to look back. The men began chanting something (sounded like a protest) and the taxis approaching the intersection were beginning to turn around or go in reverse! Strange! We thought maybe it was some kind of protest related to the strikes and quickly headed back to the hostel. I wrote a quick email to mom and then we went to bed. We have to be up early for we are meeting Augusta at 6:00am for the taxi to the train station, which will take us to Aguas Calientes. I had a hell of a time journaling that evening because I got really nauseous again. Sweet Dreams!

[11:59pm 26/02/08] - time & date of journal entry

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pedestrian stairwell with woman ca…
pedestrian stairwell with woman c…
Cusco
Cusco
the streets of Cusco are very narr…
the streets of Cusco are very nar…
this corner says no honking ... …
this corner says "no honking" ...…
beautiful archway over the street
beautiful archway over the street
adorable girls dressed in traditio…
adorable girls dressed in traditi…
this alpaca, who I hesitated to to…
this alpaca, who I hesitated to t…
these girls WANT MONEY for their p…
these girls WANT MONEY for their …
woman dressed in traditional cloth…
woman dressed in traditional clot…
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
the church on the hill, above the …
the church on the hill, above the…
the beautiful cathedral
the beautiful cathedral
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
cafe overlooking the Plaza de Arma…
cafe overlooking the Plaza de Arm…
here is my cup of coca tea!!
here is my cup of coca tea!!
yeah the view from the cafe was GR…
yeah the view from the cafe was G…
policia!
policia!
Plaza de Armas... view from the ca…
Plaza de Armas... view from the c…
telephoto shot of the cathedral st…
telephoto shot of the cathedral s…
gorgeous architecture
gorgeous architecture
cafe-view: local woman and some ki…
cafe-view: local woman and some k…
telephoto shot of another church a…
telephoto shot of another church …
cafe-view of the fountain in the P…
cafe-view of the fountain in the …
telephoto shot - saints of the chu…
telephoto shot - saints of the ch…
though most people dont even pay …
though most people don't even pay…
the Rainbow colors of the Inkas ha…
the Rainbow colors of the Inkas h…
walking back to the hostel in the …
walking back to the hostel in the…
:-D not sure if this was REALLY al…
:-D not sure if this was REALLY a…
Cusco Hostels review
Rest Your Head in Cuzco
After confusing our destination with the "original" Amaru Hostal, our cab driver brought us to Amaru Hostel II, where we belonged. Our kind Tour Opera… read entire review
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke