Here I sit with 2 1/2 hours to go before my bus leaves for Puno (Lake Titicaca). Im tired even though Ive spent all day in bed feeling quite shitty. I went out drinking with a friend last night, not sure if its something about Cusco, lots of free drinks, but shit it kind ruined my whole day. So I suppose I wasnt meant for Cusco this trip but theres always another time.
Now as I have several hours Ill make a back track and update you about my trip so far since day number 1.
Arriving in Arica, Chile the next day I immediately bought a package "deal" for taxi across the border to Tacna, Peru and a bus to Arequipa. The problem is I was way over charged, I kinda had a feeling that I shouldve bought the bus in Peru as its much cheaper, but lesson number 1 learned. The border crossing was interesting, not too complicated. Just lots of rushing through lines and our taxi driver collecting us at every point. You have to go through 2 controls for Chile and then 5 min later for Peru. The taxi driver was very friendly and actually paid for my bus to Arequipa as this other company hadnt given me an official ticket, I imagine he went back and got his money.
Bus to Arequipa, long. Within the 1st hour we are delayed for close to 2 hours and some other customs control or something. It seemed that they needed to check everyones luggage. So after many of the local ladies were screaming for the bus to get going we head off. My seat mate was nice enough, Id ask her the name of each town that we arrived and we made a little small talk. She makes the trip weekly as she works in Tacna but has family 8 hours away in Arequipa.
Arriving in Arequipa that afternoon I find a hostal, nice enough. Theres this interesting fellow who seems to spend every day there. Later he tells me hes been doing it for nearly a year. He insists on polishing my shoes even though I tell them Im going hiking so they will be immediately dirty. After that he has an odd request for me to help him strectch his back. A very religious and socially estranged it seems, although he was very nice to repair my shoes with a small fee. Hes a bit too close for comfort as he asks for my address, etc to send an xmas card. I give him that but deny the phone number. I head out for a bit to see the city, its gorgeous at night. The main plaza is surrounded by the Cathedral and other buildings, all in white, its this kind of volcanic stone that looks magical all lit up at night. I wouldve liked to get some pictures but everyone warning me about how dangerous Peru is gave me second thoughts. I kind of regret that because I havent had any bad encounters. I grab a bite of Kebab and turn in.
The next morning I was apparently up very early as there is a 2 hour time difference between Chile and Peru, a bit odd I thought. (Shit, Im not sure how much longer Ill make it writing this. Ive barely eaten all day and what I have I threw up. Ill be okay, another 7 hours of sleep will do me good. I got a seat that stretches out into a bed.) I did a bit of walking around and tried to get into the Cathedral but it was mass so they didnt allow tourists. I get back and have some breakfast and meet Lin from China and a few others. Shes headed to Colca Canyon that afternoon so I decide to join her.
Colca Canyon was a really genuine and excellent experience. We went all the way in to the small town of Cabanaconde and stayed the night for a mear 3 bucks. The next morning we got up early to walk to the Mirador de Condors. It ended up taking a lot longer than we thought, about 2 hours up the dirt road, very dusty, but we did have a companion in a gimp dog that followed us the whole way. We got there later than the guide books suggested but turns out everyone else had been waiting an 1 and a half with nothing, but within 10 minutes the first Condor flew by. Incredibly powerful birds that glide so gracefully along the canyon drafts.
This area was great, I met several locals and got myself prepped for the Machu Picchu trek. Lin was a good companion although being 10 years my senior she did get on my nerves a bit with all these suggestions of what I should do and what I had done wrong. But shes a good conversationist, genuinely interested in my career path of film festivals and explaining it to her was good for me to confirm my knowledge of the film industry and all.
Ill continue another day, this screen is really getting to me. Time is running out but Im not stressing. If anything Ill skip my last plan to the Atacama desert for another date. I need to get back in time to see dear old mom! I cant wait!! :)