26-27th April continued:
As usual in these high altitude towns that we had become almost used to hanging around in, Rach and I awoke the next morning breathing heavily due to the usual lack of our good friend oxygen. Breakfast in this hotel rated fairly highly in our prestigious top ten breakfast count-down, mainly due to the marginal dryness of the bread and sweetness of the jam. It was during breakfast that we found ourselves having this frustrating conversation with Lisa:
Lisa: 'I was very proud of my resourcefulness yesterday. I washed some stuff in the sink and then I could see it wasn't going to dry so I thought maybe I could use a hairdryer but we don't have them in our rooms.'
Me: 'So how did you dry your stuff? Or is it still wet 'cause I did the same thing and mine is still bloody soaking'.
Lisa: 'Well, I remembered we have space-heaters in the rooms don't we, so I just angled that up at my clothes and they were dry within an hour!'
Me: 'O my God why did I not think of that?'
Rach: 'Do we even have a space-heater in our room?'
Me: 'Sigh, yeah I think it was that thing I angrily kicked out of the way yesterday 'cause I was so raging that I had no way to dry my clothes...'
After breakfast, the Peru crew was collected together in the lobby before the bus trip. It's fair to say that there was an air of trepidation running through the group, manifested in their many, many questions to poor Ruben about the quality of the bus, motion-sickness possibilities, journey length and other passangers that we would 'unfortunately' have to share our journey with. As usual, Rach and I were kept very much on the outskirts of this concern, as we had come to know what to expect from the word 'bus' in central and south america, and that was not the rickety, ramshakle minibus full of disease and chickens that eveyone else seemed to be picturing, but a simple coach a la school trips. Seven hours would also be a breeze for us after the Monteverde and Sixaola episodes we were sure.
But still the questions kept coming thick and fast, and only relented slightly as we clambered aboard honestly the nicest coach I'd ever encountered, with, as I excitedly exclaimed to Rach 'actual footrests!' Simple minds. After several minutes of sitting waiting to pull out of the bus terminal, listening to Ruben wearily answer quiery after quiery, someone decided it might be acceptable to bellow down the coach to the driver that the air-conditioning wasn't on. Upon this I commented 'I can't believe they're actually complaining about air now.'
Once everyone had seemed to accept that this wasn't the bus of death, the journey passed by quite pleasantly, stopping only halfway through at a casual roadside market. It was here that as we desended the coach steps, Rachel and I were literally thrust an actual, proper live lamb, and charged one sol for the privelege. Lamb holding completed and it was on with the drive. Rach and I were just about to clamber back onto the coach when we were informed by Carole-Anne that Trevor had whiled away the break by buying himself a lovely set of pan-pipes. We thought nothing more of this until we were all nice and settled down on the coach of fun, staring at the rolling scenery in a tranquil state. I think we can all guess what happened next. A breathy, tuneless dischord permeated the relative quiet of the coach, causing sleeping passangers to wake and others to look up in confusion. This was only the tip of the iceburg however, as the pan-pipe attempts went on for no less than half an hour, as if he thought he would somehow have magically turned into a pan-pipe master inbetween blows. Bless him.
Eventually, we arrived in Cusco and were stunned at what we saw. This was 100% our most favourite Peru place so far. (See photos for full wow factor) After frolicking around in the Plaza de Armas and taking stupid tourist snaps with Ruben, we headed to a casual bar for some 'mouth blowers and couch munchers' as the menu cryptically stated... For me and Rach, these consisted of mainly potato based products, some amazing potato skins and fluffy potato sticks. Of course, the obligatory left-overs were also stuffed down, before we all headed back to the hotel. Here we were introduced to Michael and Jennifer, an Australian couple who were delayed in joining the group as they were flying from Heathrow during the volcano terror. We then all sat down together for an intensely terrifying briefing on the massively looming Inca Trail trek...