July 31 to August 3, 2011
Sunday we awoke at 4:30 am to grab breakfast and ride the bus up to Machu Picchu. The line was insane. I thought that with the new ticket restrictions that there would be less people, but wow. There were the most people I have ever seen. We began by climbing up to the awesome initial view. I love seeing it every time, it really is spectacular. But we had to hurry to make our entrance time into Wayna Picchu by 8:00 am. Wayna is the mountain you see in the background of all the pictures. It doesn’t even look like you can hike up there, but there is this intricate trail carved into the side of the mountain by the Incas. The hike is amazing and the view from the top is 360 degrees of beautiful valleys and rivers. We just sat and stared. It is impossible to describe what we saw. I’ve actually had this thought for awhile that I wanted to stand on the highest point of Wayna, stare out at the endless valleys, and listen to song “The Blood of Cuchulainn”. Call me cheesy, but I did. We hiked down (barefoot), grabbed some snacks, and went back in for the tour. I actually led much of the tour, after seven visits and four different tour guides I have picked up a few things. I know this was a big moment for Dylan, and I was glad I got to be there with him for his important visit. Back in town, we went to a Peru Cup game being played in Aguas between Machu Picchu and Pisac. Machu Picchu won 4-0, it was fun to watch. This group we had the late train back to Ollanta and had a quarter of a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I could see myself eating there when I move in.
Monday was supposed to be bungee jumping, but you guessed it, the new motor STILL was not installed. I feel bad for all the kids who really wanted to go. So we headed to Cusco early and at least the group got a lot of time to shop at the famous Red Market. We had another excellent dinner at Fusiones and afterwards we walked around the city. We hiked up a ways so we could look down at all the lights of the city. On the way back there was a basketball game going on in the city court! Yes. We had so much fun there last year watching Stratus put together a furious comeback. This time we could not read the team name on the jerseys so we kind of picked a team and cheered. The quality of play was about middle school level, we kind of wanted to challenge the winning team to a game. I think we could have won pretty easily.
Tuesday we started at the San Pedro market. Did we drink frog again? Of course, and all the kids tried some! Espiritu de Rana is good stuff. I had to leave quickly to go and organize my gear. I dropped off all my Rustic stuff and donations at Gabe’s apartment and picked up all my motorcycle gear. I haven’t seen it since Houston. It feels like an eternity ago despite it being only six weeks. I then had to track down motorcycle insurance. I went to a few different places until I found a company who sold it. So for $180 I am insured for a year. My Spanish has definitely improved, I was pretty proud of myself for buying insurance in another country in another language. It was actually quite easy.
We had Chinese (Chifa) for lunch and headed to the airport to catch the flight to Lima. It was delayed so we waited for an hour or two. It finally arrived at about five. But wait, Peru’s version of the FAA has a rule that no flight can leave Cusco after 5 pm. Ouch. We had 11 students with multiple international flights that they had to catch that evening in Lima. So we were stuck at the airport for seven hours waiting to get transportation to a hotel, trying to rebook flights, and notifying parents. I feel bad for Dustin who has been on Rustic trips for 6 weeks and all he wanted was to head home. We did get to stay at a very posh hotel though, so it wasn’t a total loss.
So now we are flying back to Lima on a 6:30 am flight. I look down at the mountains below, thinking about how in a few days I will be returning on the motorcycle. It makes me a little nervous, but it is definitely exciting. Ahead we have a ton of flights to rebook and a day of drama at the airport. I hope it all works out. I wonder if I will get paid for another day of work, haha. (Approx $7) So Rustic is not done quite yet, the adventure at customs will have to wait…