It has been, what- around 11 days since I departed Chicago, and I´ve already started forgetting what day of the week it is. Don´t even ask the time. My days have all started to merge together… Was that yesterday that we climbed Ciero Blanco?? Nope, 2 days ago.
Its all a very strange and surreal- though undoubtably good feeling.
I really need to try harder to write in my journal- and in this blog- for no other reason than to keep track of time. Every day here has been so packed to the brink, it´s nearly impossible to remember it all. And my memories are important to me- they will be my most valuable souvenir.
Let´s look at this past Saturday alone- our day began with an early morning trek up Ciero Blanco, spectacularly exhilarating sandboarding, followed by lunch at a little local place, next we explored the streets of Nazca, ventured to a nearby village for a traditional Inka festival, climbed to an ancient magnetic energy field, caught a ride home from a Police truck filled with locals wearing party hats and drinking wine, joined a local family whom we met on said truck for wine in the lively plaza, grabbed fried chicken and fries for a late dinner, THEN hopped on a 14 hour bus ride to Cuzco….
How about Sunday- Woke up in a new hostel, in a new city, took a tour on horseback to The Temple of the Moon, explored the magical streets of Cuzco, grabbed food at a market, bought alpaca sweaters, and planned for Machu Picchu. Unfortunately due to a nasty case of Montezuma´s revenge (I won´t go into it- nobody said traveling was glamorous all the time), I had to skip out on the Salsa lessons and clubbing that Anna and Max were so lucky to partake in. I don´t want to talk about that. Luckily, I woke up Tuesday morning feeling (mostly) myself again.
Tuesday was a day for planning and coordinating, exploring. I made the decision to do a trek to Machu Picchu and began sorting my options.
In the evening I met with my Panama layover friends, one of whom just began a job with a volunteer travel agency in Cusco. While visiting her we learned of an opportunity to have dinner with a group of Peruvian students in their student housing. Naturally we decided to go for it.
The group of 25 or so students were incredibly gracious hosts- providing us with a home cooked meal of Aji de Gallina, and for dessert -a thick hot, purple syrupy drink. Strange but soothing. We were encouraged to talk with the students ( since the actual group we were with was apart of the Spanish school), and then we all had to introduce ourselves in our non-native language.
This moment was another reminder of how much I want to improve my Spanish… My evening would only add to that feeling.
Later in the evening, myself and my friends went to bar a little off the gringo path. The place was warm and wet and smokey and dark, with musica Latina bouncing off the walls. The three of us notice we are the only white people. We sat with two random patrons and bought a couple liters of beer to share. We chatted with our new friends (some of us understood more than others). The more Peruvians I meet, the more I love this country.
As the night warms up we are invited to dance salsa… We stay on the dance floor until the bar closes at 1.
It’s a good night.
Today I booked my trek, bought and rented gear and supplies, and finally laid low a little.
Tomorrow I wake a little after four, to join 9 strangers on a 5 day trek ending at Machu Picchu ….wow