Adios Ollantaytambo, Hola Macchu Pichu!

So once again, I awoke way too early in the morning to make my way down to the train station to purchase my ticket to Macchu Pichu.  After standing in line behind another American (from Califoria) who was WAY too obnoxious for my taste, I finally had my ticket, with enough time to grab some breakfast (chocolate pancake, but no syrup or jam ??).  The train ride was, of course, beautiful.  It is amazing how many different
environments there are in the Andes.  Apparently, the Incans new this, and had different crops grown in different regions, and then circulated them.

Once the plants started getting lusher, and more tropical rain forest like, I knew I was close.  I was amazed at how much more this part of the Andes reminded me of Oregon, and immediately felt so much more comfortable.  We also passed by several sites where the mudslides had wiped out the tracks, and remembered that several people had died here just a few weeks before.

I had the luck to be sitting next to the obnoxious American guy, who kept telling me that you could see Macchu Picchu just around the corner.  And then, 20 minutes later, yes, it is coming up just around the
corner.  And then 20 minutes later, yes, it is coming up just around the corner.  Hm.  I never did see the ruins from the train, ah well.  This is also coming from the guy who spoke with authority that 7 kilometers is equal to a mile (I believe that it is 1.6 kilometers to the mile). 

In any case, I stepped of the train in the little town of Agua Calientes, aka Macchu Pichu Pueblo.  And it is delightful.  It is also  nice, for the first time to not feel like a freak!  There are quite a few tourists here, and since the town was created for tourism, and everyone who lives here moved here to work in tourism, there is a very welcome feeling towards tourists.

The town is quite small, just a few streets that are jam packed with restaurants, most of them empty at this point of the week.  Apparently, there is supposed to be a lot more people on Sunday, when the groups
come in from hiking the Inca trail.

I checked into my hotel, Gringo Bills, and was quite delighted.  My room is at the very top, and I have to climb up a variety of outdoor staircases (but within the hotel, hard to describe, the hotel rooms all face inward, and the hotel is on a hillside), all lined with lush greenery.  I found myself in a nice room with a queen sized bed and my own bathroom.
Hallelujah!  Pretty good deal for $20 a night.  The hotel that is up right next to the ruins is over $400 a night, can you believe that!!! 

The only traffic here is foot traffic, and the train that comes in and leaves every few hours (one is arriving right now, as I type, in front of me).  Which also means there isn't any pollution, such a relief to breathe fresh air again for a change.

I wandered around the city, up the steep street that had people beckoning me to eat at their restaurants.  One guy, who told me his name was "Numero Uno" started chatting with me, and a woman who was there piped in as well.  We chatted for a bit, and I continued on my
walk upwards.  The young woman, Edita, came along with her 3 year old daughter, and walked with me to the hot bathes, which was one big pool with lots of people in it, and didn't look too appetizing to me.  Edita told me that she also worked in a restaurant, same owner, different location, and that they had free drinks there, so I should stop by for dinner.  Well, you know free drinks sold me!  I said goodbye to Edita, and made my way back to my room.
Once I had settled into my room, it was time to take a shower.  And yet, for some reason, the water in my sink didn't want to work.  And same with the cold water in the shower.  Hm.  I heard some people being
escorted to the room next to mine, and peeked my head out, and mentioned to the woman who worked here that "No hay agua en mi habitacion".  Ai ai ai.  So she ran off to fix it, and I ended up chatting with the two people that were moving into the room next to mine.  It was a woman with a son (who was my age).  I asked where they were from, after hearing a slight Irish accent, and sure enough, they lived in Ireland, but were originally from Sweden.  The mother retired to
the room, while the young man (Taurjus) and I chatted for awhile.  Finally, the water was working, and we returned to our rooms to clean up.

I made my way out, to find Edita's restaurant, where I had a decent dinner for only 10 soles ($3.50).  I really felt for Edita, because she is only 23 years old, and is struggling to make a living for just her
and her daughter, since the father is god knows where.  I know that is hard enough in the US, but in Peru it must be impossible.  I admire her determination.  She told me, that one day, in maybe 10 years, she would have her own restaurant.  I wonder how different her life would have been if she was born in the US, or mine, if I was born here.  I guess it is the young women here that I especially relate too, because we are so alike, and yet, have such different lives.  There was another young woman, who also had her son there in the restaurant, trying to make a living.  After all, it isn't like they can afford day care.  They are just hoping to be able to afford sending their children to school, so that they might have a better chance.

I promised Edita I would return the next day, and returned to my room, which, a few moments later, I had a knock on my door from Taurjus, and we sat and chatted a while.  Both of us had to get up early (him for the train, me for Macchu Picchu) so we said good night, and he gave me a quick little kiss ;)

My goodness, and that was just one day!


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