Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Perú & my Mama!
Okay, we did about a hundred billion fun things and I couldn´t be more grateful that she came to visit and travel with me (and I´m sorry that I was a poo-head daughter sometimes!) so I´ll try to sum things up the best I can!

Lima- We cracked ourselves up doing the cheesey Mirabus- one of those double-decker city tour busses that points out the obvious, and then went for Bubble Tea! Yep, they have delicious "té burbuja" in Lima, along with a large Asian population, which fortunately means Barrio Chino (aka: China Town)!!! We also went to a fancy-schmancy restaurant one night and had an amazing Malbec from Mendoza and and insane seafood dish.

Cusco- Took a plane from Lima and got there in a bit of rain, and found a fine place to stay with a llama outside the front door. That night we hung out in a cozy little pizzeria owned by a man with a bomb moustache, where we had alpaca pizza-Yum, seriously! After quite an ordeal at the ticket-station we took a fun train-ride the next day to Aguas Calientes, which is the town nearest to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu- As soon as we got settled into our hostel we headed up the railroad tracks, to where a trail starts... haha, this is where Mom and I start laughing about the word "trail." More specifically it was a series of never-ending wooden ladders between whihch you climbed up super steep dirt and rocks. But the view from the tops was phenomenal- you can see the whole side of Machu Picchu and the zig-zag road that leads up to it.
The next morning we headed out about 5 and joined the masses-tons of people waiting for the busses up, and then waiting to get into the actual ruins (which you apperently buy tickets for in advance, haha). Took "the picture," you know the famous view, and then hiked around to the Inka bridge where they´re wasn´t a single other person.From there we explored the main complex, and took a nap at the bottom of Wayna Picchu- where the the llamas harassed us and then eachother... The Sun Gate was our hiking option instead of Wayna Picchu and had an amazing view- I still cané beleieve I went to Machu Picchu!!!

Ollantaytambo- Ollantaytambo has to be the greatest town int the Sacred Valley! We took the train there from Aguas Calientes and ended up staying an extra day. Our first dinner at KB was ají de gallina (a chicken dish prepared with ají chilies and a nutty sauce) , chicken kabobs, and a real salad! Bought a couple hats from a sweet man there, on his way to sell stuff in Cusco, and stayed at the Chaska Wasi hostel.
The next morning we woke up to the neighbor´s donkey, then headed out to the market. We had a banana bread snack before catching a colectivo to Urubamba and from there another to desvío for Maras. From there we got a shared taxi to visit the Moray ruins-circular terraces used for agricultural reasearch, and salinas/salineras- a massive hillside divided into rectangles where locals harvest salt. It´s visually stunning with all the shades of shining white broken into little squares and piles of drying salt scatteres around. On the was back we played with the giant, sweet pop-corn I´m obsessed with and took silly pictures in the taxi.
When we got back we climbed up the unrestored ruins opposite the Ollantaytambo ruins in the valley and ready about them from that side. It was chilly, so we headed down the hill and found a house with a red, platic flags to advertise that they had chicha (the chewed, fermented corn beer). I stuck my head into the doorto make sure that they had it, and sure enough they did and insitsted on us coming in to drink. So Mama and I went in and visited for at least half an hour. There was a sweet wife, half-deaf husband, two older sisters, a little boy, and they all spoke spanish in addition to Quechua. There were tons of guinnea pigs basically running wild in the house (the chair didn´t do much to keep them caged in), and when I told the woman I had had on as a pet she couldn´t believe we didn´t eat it. She proceeded to tell the man how funny she thought that was. We talked about travel, the US, languages, education, food, everything, payed our 50 cents or so, said thank you´s, and went on our way. So much fun, and dinner again at KB- build your own massive burritos this time.

Lake Titicaca- From Ollantaytambo we took buses toCusco and then a tourist bus to Puno, on lake Titicaca. The bus stopped at the "Sistine Chapel of the Andes", the town where they make the ceramic, good-luck bulls, a beautiful mirador for the snow-caped peaks, and passed pink flamingos in the shallow river. On the lake we visited the floating islands of Uros, they are constructed completely from layer upon layer of reeds, but now exist more or less for tourism. On Amantaní we stayed with a family, whose adorable son played his little recorder/flute int eh fiels with the sheep, and went to a "dance" loaded up in our traditional dress for the evening. With the family we mostly ate quinoa soup, half a dozen typed of potato, and once we even had fried cheese. The views to the mountains on the Bolivian side were beautiful!

Cusco (again)- People said it was horrible touristy, and there are heaps of tourists, but its still a nice city to explore! We took pictures with (and got yelled at for touching) the 12-sided stone, did some shopping for hand-made llama and alpaca scarves and hats, wrote post-cards in cafés, made multiple trips to the Bolivian Consulate to get my visa (he had run out of them from Nort Americans- of course, haha!), got really good massages, and walked around a ton and visited the markets. This is also where we tried cuy (guinnea pig) for the first time- they brought it out whole for us to take pictures with and then brought it back again all chopped up. Oh man, we were laughing so hard! Oh yeah, we named him "Freddy." We also had pisco sours a couple of times at the fancy Inka Grill right on the plaza a couple of times, and me some really nice travelers there.
Speaking of the incredible Pisco Sour:
2 oz pisco brandy
1 oz line juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 egg white
1 dash Angostura Bitters
-Shake ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a champagne flute, and add the bitters as an aromatic garnish.

Huaraz- In Huaraz we did a 5 day trek called Santa Cruz, which was one of my top things to do in Perú. Even though the fact that rainy season clouded a number of out views and we woke up wet some nights, we had a great time. I loved being out and hiking, especially with Mama, who kicked ass! Our group had people from Holland, Germany, South Korea, and Denmark, plus our awesome guide Orlando. Some of the translations and explanations of cultural differences were hilarious, and we had some good laughs in the kitchen tent.

Thanks Mama!!! TQM

1 comment:

Ian said...

It's been far too long since I last heard from you. You've been on the road for over a year and it seems you've been having quite the adventure. I'm envious. Raising a glass to you!