Thursday night Alex and I slept in the volunteer house. That means I got to do laundry, take a hot shower, and sleep in a nice bed. It was nice. Friday morning it was time to search for an apartment. I started with Senora Frida, the older woman who sells cheese sandwiches in the plaza each morning. Her place was okay, but very simple. It consisted of one, big, empty room, and a small bathroom. The bathroom had an electric shower that came up to about my neck. There was a sink in the small courtyard for washing clothes and brushing teeth. She wanted a little more than what I wanted to pay ($65 per month) for such a simple place so I told her thanks but I was going to keep looking. The next place no one answered, so I went over to the good old Blue Puppy where the manager said he had a place I could check out. I asked him and he told me it was rented out earlier that morning, I literally missed it by a few hours. That is fine, there were plenty of other leads. I bought another Paulo Coehlo book at the book fair in the plaza ($1) and headed back to Cusco.
The drive back was pretty incredible. I couldn’t believe it. I had traveled that way almost a dozen times in a bus with Rustic students and never noticed how awesome the views were. It is just a different game on a motorcycle. You can see everything.
I still had most of my stuff back at Gabe’s apartment, so I needed to head back for the weekend. Besides, I knew he was leaving the following week so I wanted to hang out one last weekend. The students go home on Fridays so I couldn’t start at the dorm yet. I ran a few errands and fixed the bent bracket on my bike AGAIN. This time, however, it was bent too badly. I will have to find a welder at some point in the future to fix it properly. I left my bike on the street while I unloaded my gear, and when I came back, there was a business card from the manager of Norton’s Rat. Sweet. He must have seen my bike and knew that I should stop in. I planned that for Saturday.
Can't quite bend it back into place...
The rest of the night I spent in a internet café since the internet wasn’t working at the apartment. I uploaded a few blogs and pictures. It cracks me up how difficult it is to find convenient internet down here. I need wireless to update email and newspapers on my ipod touch, and for Skype. But it is never fast enough for Skype. I can go to cafés for things like checking email and uploading blogs, but since you pay by the hour I usually have to write them first before I go. I guess I am just spoiled by the States when I have 24-hour internet on my phone, and I always have a fast internet at my house and classroom.
Saturday I did a few more errands around town, and started to pack up all my stuff for the move Sunday to Ollantaytambo permanently. In the late afternoon Alex and I headed to Norton’s Rat. The manager (owner is back in the states) had lots of stories to tell, and we had a great conversation. He brought down the huge book that motorcyclists had been writing in for 10 years. There have been so many!! Hundreds of people had written entries, put in pictures of their bikes, taped in business cards, explained their trips, etc. It was awesome, and of course I told my story and put in my card. I also gave the manager my card so he could direct anyone traveling my way over the next few months to me. I would love to help out any adventure motorcyclists headed to Machu Picchu.
Adding my story to the book
That evening we had a huge bonfire and cooked up some chorizo and long, thin hot dogs. I miss cooking brats on the grill, but that is exactly what the chorizo were. Now, everything in Peru is close to the states, but never quite it. For the first time, they actually tasted better than my favorite, Johnsonville. Heck yes. At about midnight, we headed out to karaoke. It turns out Raul can sing pretty well, it was fun. After singing, we went out dancing until 5 am. Once again, it seems like going out in Peru is often an all night affair.
Sunday we headed back to Ollanta for lunch with the Loayza’s. They wanted to have a big meal for Gabe before he left. The main course was tamales and an ENTIRE pig they cooked in the huge bakery oven next to their house. It was so delicious. After lunch we sat for hours talking and sipping the new Cusquena red beer. Max stopped by as well with a group he was with. I am still pretty silent during conversations, but at least I understood more of it and actually contributed one or two sentences. I know I will get this language soon.