Friday, September 11, 2009


Up early again this morning. This is starting to get on my nerves. We wanted to get in line for the first buses to Machu Picchu (MP) so we would beat the crowds. We made it to the bus stop at 5:15, only to encounter about 300 people in line for the bus. Only two ways up to MP - walk or by overpriced bus. The walk is, of course, very steep - we chose the bus. Great ride up - beautiful views of the valley as it opened up above.

What to say about MP? It is truly amazing. The amount of stone work is staggering. They basically took a mountain peak and leveled it, using the stone for structures and terracing. The view is breathtaking - steep, sharp peaks adjacent, snow-capped moutains in the distance, and a river valley winding around it in an oxbow below. If the site were in your run-of-the-mill valley, it would be popular and interesting, but nothing like it is now. As the day changed, so did the light on the mountains and the fog in the valley below.

Of course, we were not the first ones there, by a long-shot. One thing I noticed was that there were lots of young (mostly) white people posing for pictures by jumping up, arms and legs out-stretched, face in astonishement - while the person takes the picture. What is the reason for this? Is it supposed to be a physical expression of the pure joy these people are feeling? Are those who view the pitures supposed to beleive that the energy of the moment was so overwhelming that the people just floated off the ground, only to come back down when their experience subsides? Odd. Also odd where the asian kids who wre posing for pictures by bending slightly at the waist, flashing the "v for victrory" (or peace sign), and holding their mouths agape. Are they claining victory over the challenge they set forth on? Showing their commitment to world peace? Sorry - no pictures - I was too captivated by the jumping and sign flashing I forgot.

Went back down to AC after about 6 hours among the ruins (about the right amount). Got back on the train to Cusco. This time, we had to take the "Vista Dome" train - a second class train - since the 3rd class was sold out. It had skylights, which were nice - you could see the mountains. They served cold, flavorless empenadas on nice ceramic ware. They had an Alpaca sweater fashion show - very odd. The train attendants put on sweaters and strutted down the aisles, while technco played in the background. People clapped and whistled. Great fun. You could, of course, by the sweaters they were modeling.

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