|CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!! If I had known this was all it took, we could have pocketed the 40K and gone to the Abilene Free Fair. Live and learn.|
We arrived in Cusco late in the day, and found a decent place to crash. The next day we were out for a walk in the square, and happened upon two worn-down looking motorcycle travelers - our friends Andy and Cass rode right past us as we walked. We guided them to the "Grand Hotel Machu Picchu" and they got settled in. by then it was 2:30, so we headed to the Irish Pub and started drinking. We found out about an Indian restaurant, so we headed straight there from the pub. Andy and Cass decided to take on the spicy curry challenge, and after we had all eaten our fill we walked around town for a while.
|Us, Cusco, and a certificate for eating spicy Indian food in Peru|
A bit of background - the whole MP (Machu Picchu from here on, b/c I'm cool. "b/c" means "because," btw. "btw" means "by the way") SO, the whole MP thing is a carefully orchestrated fleecing, from the outrageously expensive train tickets, all the way to the outrageously expensive bus tickets and entry tickets. Rumor has it that the British own the whole thing, and I believe that because I want to.
BTW, Americans should get in free because everyone who saw it before Hiram Bingham thought it was a bunch of rocks on top of a mountain! It was of course, just that, but it took an American to explain how to exploit it properly. The cash has been rolling in ever since!
But I digress. We wanted to cheat the system and get in for bottom dollar, because, as Americans, that is our right everywhere in the world. Riding the British-owned train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, riding the British-owned busses to the site, and paying some British park guards (disguised as Peruvians, cheeky buggers!) would have run the average couple around $450. We figured that we could save around $300 by skipping the train from Cusco and riding the bike to a hydroelectric plant six hours out into the jungle and hiking along railroad tracks for the last 10 miles to MP. Obviously a rock solid plan.
After riding over a 14,000 foot pass and getting frozen and hailed on, we were only four hours from our goal! Due to Jill's frozen hands there are no pictures of this. It was terrible, and I felt quite stupid for suggesting it, and knew it would take more than a few lambs wearing hats to make up for this ego-driven logistical folly. Thankfully we went down hill for the next three hours and arrived in a tiny town an hour from the hydroelectric plant.
|This, unfortunately, WAS the right way.|
|Ancient Incan farming terraces nearly lost to the jungle, but structrally perfect - in the middle of NOWHERE.|
|Around a corner in the tracks we found Machu Picchu. The sounds of the jungle combined with the lack of signs and fanfare made it feel more like a discovery than if we had first seen it coming around a corner on a tourist bus.|
|A see-through butterfly along the tracks|