Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tourist Ticket- the Cusco area


Wow…what a day! It all started at 11 am…haha, because that is when I woke up after a very fun Saturday night. But I got right to it, made a big pancake breakfast for Claire and myself, and then headed right out. Yesterday I bought the “boleto turistico” or tourist ticket which covers almost all of the major sites in the Cusco area and the Sacred Valley. Luckily I got it for just 70 soles, the student price, instead of 140 the adult price, since I have an old student ID with no expiration date! My plan was to do Cusco areas sites today and take a Sacred Valley tour next Sunday. So I walked, about 45 minutes or so, very far uphill, to the first site called Saxsaywaman (yes…it does sound a lot like “sexy woman.”)

All of the sites are Incan archaeological sites, used for different purposes, but all of them included temples. I didn’t have a guide so I was just discovering on my own, next week for the Sacred Valley I will definitely do a full guided tour. As I climbed through the rocks of Saxsaywaman I was thinking, you know, every step I take is probably the highest elevation I have ever stood at in my life. My mind thought that was pretty cool, my respiratory system was not as pleased. Speaking of my respiratory system, I was lucky not to initially have too many adverse effects of the altitude, but I haven’t adjusted well. My nose has been stopped up for a month and a half and I can’t stop coughing, and it never seems to go away. Not sure if that has to do with the altitude or the massive amount of dust or what. So I stayed at Saxsaywaman for a while because it is absolutely huge site and you can walk all over it and find spots with amazing views.

Anyway, after Saxsaywaman I had a quick lunch at a cheap place on the the walk to the second site Q’Enqo, which was mostly used as a hospital. It even had a little cave and you could see the spot where they would lay bodies down and treat patients on the very very cold stone. At Q’Enqo I ran into a guy who told me he was a chaman. Chamanism is pretty common here, and he offered to show me a little bit and promised he wouldn’t ask for a dime, so I thought, why not. It was pretty cool, and he was an honest guy, never asked for any money, said he was just doing it because he believes in natural healing. Anyway, he “analyzed” my energy and then took me to a few different spots at Q’enqo to do what was basically meditation mixed with pressure point healing. It was kinda fun! My energy is now restored! Maybe its psychological but I totally did feel like I had a lot of energy after that. The next stop was 7 km away, so I jumped in a “combi” which is a small van where they cram in tons of people and go up and down certain routes charging very little for the lift. The next site was Puka Pukara which has just spectacular views of the region and the mountains in the distance. I met some other tourists while I was there and they took some pretty good pictures for me, which I’ve posted on facebook. My last stop was Tambomachay, a smaller site, but again with amazing views over the area. I finally caught a combi for just 2 soles all the way back into Cusco.

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