August 2, Moray Ruins, Salinas Salt Flats and Cusco Airport
I woke up a little later than usual, well rested from the evening. I had to pack before the taxi arrived at 10:30. The internet was not working so it was decided that I would go into town and the taxi would pick me up at the cafe on the corner where I could get Wifi. I needed to check my flight time so I could be sure nothing had changed. The taxi would be picking up my luggage at the Lodge along with Ruth who worked there so she could go to Urubamba and pay the Internet bill (the reason why we did not have internet after all). It took about 1 1/2 hours to get to Salinas on a long, windy dirt road. The flats are Pre Inkan and still in use today, I understand that they are a collective where people can buy a flat and farm the salt but also much participate in the surrounding community initiatives. I did not hire a guide but found it to be so interesting (check it out on Wikipedia?). I bought a few more souvenirs at the stands and got into my waiting taxi. He then drove me to the Moray Ruins which was another hour away, again, on a winding dusty road. Along the way, we drove through what could look like Texas or Arizona except for the occasional herd of livestock being tended by dirty Peruvian children, some were quite small in charge of a herd of sheep, mules or a few cattle. I thought about how different their lives were to the children growing up in our country. They would spend the whole day alone or with 1 or 2 other children in this expansive agricultural range, with the responsibility to keep this flock together and bring them home at day's end.
Moray is famous and beautiful as it is a set of concentric rings built into a crater. The Inkans explored the biodiveristy of the plant species and set up this 'lab' of multiple microclimates to see which plants grew best. It was quite incredible and beautiful. When I arrived, there was about 100 school children doing a ceremony with music, running through the circles, perhaps for Pachamama? It was quite spectacular to see them running and dancing around the circles from high above. They finished as I headed down, this would be what I hoped, my last climb of stairs in Peru. After taking lots of pictures and enjoying my last stop, my driver took me to the airport, 1 1/2 hours away. Cuzco was quite hectic traffic wise but the airport is so small that it was not problem to get there an hour before leaving. I checked in my back, made it through security and sat at the gate. I ate my chocolate bread as I was hungry and finally had a chance to relax. I had long flights ahead of me but I realized that now begins my journey home.