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So, here I sit in the only internet cafe in Ollantaytambo.  What a town this is!!!  Yet, for some reason, my Spanish really is sucking!  I think it is because I am alone all the time, and thinking in english, my spanish is already rusty! 

I left on Monday, after cramming as much as I could into my backpack, and abandoning my other bags at the South American Explorers club.  My family wished me off with lots of "bueno suerte" (good luck), and take care, and good travels.  They even gave me going away gifts!  I felt like such a heel for not bringing anything, because I didn't have much space, and didn't think I was going to be with a family.  I am determined to find lots of wonderful things when I return, to send back to them.  In a way, this is better, because I know their personalities, likes and dislikes. 

So, I got in the taxi, and hopped on a bus just as it was pulling out of the station.  Once aboard, after about 30 minutes into the trip, I started wondering if I had gotten on the right bus, since it was going a different way than I had gone before to Urubamba, where I needed to change buses.  I realized I could either freak out about it, or go with the flow.  So, I just figured, well, if I end up in some other town, I'll just find a hostel, or hop another bus back.  No big deal.

Luckily, it wasn't a problem, as it took me to Urubamba, and much quicker than the other route.  I think I shaved a good hour off my trip!  I didn't have to wander around the bus station at Urubamba either,
as a man asked "Ollantay?", and I followed the way he indicated, to a combi. 

Okay, what is a combi?  Well, it sure as hell isn't a bus!!!  It is basically a van, that they cram about 20 people into.  I peeked my head in, and saw the seat he indicated, yet didn't know how I was supposed to get
through the wall of people.  And then, the sea parted, and I shoved my way into my seat, crammed my backpack in front of me, and endured the urine smell for about another 20 minutes, when the van was deemed crammed full enough to take off.

This was quite an experience, but eventually we made our way to the town of Ollantay, and the whole 2 and a half hour ride (both busses) cost me about $1.25.  One girl began cursing the bus driver that he didn't deliver us to the main square, but the town is so small, it only takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

I wandered over to the plaza, and peeked my head into two hostels, to check out the rooms.  At one, a little boy about 7 years old, lead me to the hostal that I was looking for, and I went ahead and booked the room. about $8 a night, but I have to go downstairs to use the toilet and shower (and there is no toilet paper, or soap to wash your hands at the sink.  It's okay, I'm over it.)

My room has three beds in it, and rustic wooden floorboards.  One window looks directly out onto the amazing Incan ruins, and the other looks up at the old Incan storage facility, set high in the cliff side.
Absolutely amazing.  There is also a patio, that you can sit, with with river running under your feet, looking out at the ruins, the mountains, and the bright stars above.

I crashed for a few minutes, feeling a bit lost and alone, and then decided to buck up, and then was fine.  This little town is so lovely, and so ancient.  The streets are cobblestone, and the old Incan walls and
streets run through the town.  It is not difficult to imagine the life when the Incans lived here.  On the sides of the streets run water, aquaducts from the time of the Incans, and still running.

The restaurants here are quite quaint, if geared to the tourist, and a little more expensive than Cusco, but not much.  And the wind whips through the three valleys that the city sits in the middle of.  The
smell of smoke is in the air, and it almost feels like camping.

Tonight, at my dinner, a young man brought out his violin, and played several songs for us, in exchange for a few soles to buy his dinner.  How beautiful it was!

But, it is lonely here as well.  I see the other tourists wandering around in pairs, and wish that I had someone to share this amazing place with.  Perhaps someday I will return, and show the dog sitting up high in the second story window, and the man pushing the two bulls down the old streets, sit and listen to the wind singing through the wheat of the fields, and feel the sun beat down upon our faces, as we sit by the Urubamba river, watching the butterflies and bright blue hummingbirds touch down upon the exotic flowers.

But in the meantime, I will just realize how blessed I am to be here at all, and let everything soak in, and realize that just to be here is enough.  That I will just have to appreciate everything a little bit more
to make up for the missing person at my side.

-Jillian
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