Machu Picchu: "It looks exactly like it does in the pictures". This is what I overheard an American tourist say when they saw the ruins for the first time. Although it´s very hypocritical to mock tourists after visiting a place like Machu Picchu, but it´s certainly odd how the Incas could have build such a place so many years ago and then now there are people that can say such idiotic things, it really challenges the theory of evolution. Americans aside, the ruins of Machu Picchu is an incredable sight. We set off before sunrise on the last day of the trek and were able to see the light creep over the valley onto Machu Picchu from the sun gate on the other side of the mountain. The view from the top of Huyana Picchu, the large mountain overlooking the ruins, is equally stunning and worth the torturous climb up.
Before seeing the ruins of Machu Picchu, I went on a four day trek along the old Inca road, passing many other ruins along the way. For the most part, the road is the same one the Incas built and is still very stable today(if very steep and jagged. On one of the days, the road was shrouded in fog, which by using enough poetic licence and ignoring the hordes of other tourist taking the trail, felt like stepping back in time.
Although the trek turned out well, it almost never started. Me and some German students that were in my group were told to wait at the start point for hours as we tried to find out where our guide was. It turned out that he was in prison for not paying child support and the agency sent another guide, Kenny, to try and take his place. However he was not allowed to enter the trail at first as his name wasn´t originally on the list. We weren´t able to set off until late in the afternoon and it was dark by the time we arrived at our first campsite. Luckly, Kenny turned out to be loads of fun, making jokes all the time and playing cards with us every night.
On the last night we stayed at a much larger campsite which had a bar and even a TV. On that night, there was a football match between Cienciano (the local team of Cusco) and Flamengo from Brazil. I watched the match in a tiny room with awful TV reception crammed in with all the guides and porters from all the different groups taking the trail. It was very similar to the Marx Brothers film where they cram tens of people in a small closet and sure enough there were people collapsing out the door by the end. Unfortunatly Cienciano lost, and I missed seeing a potentially bad accident involving excited Peruvians.
On a side note on the stupidity of American tourist, a family on the train back to Cusco managed to get through a complete run of ´99 bottles of beer on the wall´ and when they finished, one of women said "holy balony". I really don´t know how natural selection hasn´t made these sort of people extinct by now.
Back in Cusco, I felt an urge to go on the highest bungee jump in America. I wasn´t able to find anyone else in the hostel willing to take part, only one girl that agreed to watch. It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. They say that you only fall for around six seconds on the first bungee but it felt much longer. Afterwards, I felt it very appropriate to get drunk and do nothing more taxing than watching more Sopranos at the hostel.