26.08.07 - Arrived in Cuzco after an enjoyable one hour flight with clear views of the Andes all the way (as opposed to the alternative 22 hour bus journey) It was well worth the extra 20 quid.
Cuzco is 3326m above sea level (seriously high!) so we had to purchase some altitude sickness tablets which we have been taking every 8 hours since we have been here - and we are not being soft....altitude sickness can be FATAL (we read it in the lonely planet). There is so little oxygen up here, you cant walk very far without gasping for breath, and you feel dizzy and nauseous. it also makes you lose your appetite..we have actually been existing on one meal a day...bring on size zero!!
We spent the first day sussing out the place, (Ed especially extra cautious, as its a fact that most tourists get robbed here than anywhere else in Peru - so says the lonely planet). I (Ed) thought i had it covered, until i basically got robbed in broad daylight by a Peruvian boy wanting to shine my trainers!! He offered to repair them with some ?special? glue, to which i obviously asked how much, and he told me that it was my call, all up to me how i paid him - fine i thought - crack on!! After about ten mins, he told me he had finished. So i got a couple of peruvian soles (approx 50p), out to pay the lad, and he turned to me and said i owed him $100, (like 50 quid!!) Told him to ?go away? in my most polite english and gave him to equivallent of three quid!! Cheeky sod!!
So we spent four days in Cuzco, which was once the heart of the Inca empire and where everyone goes to set off on the famous Inca trail. Luckily we had decided against doing this before we set off as it involved 8 - 9 hours of walking up mountains each day and it recommended you should be a healthy non smoker - so that ruled us out! we did visit the inca history museum , but unfortunately werent allowed to take any pictures. We had a guide with us who spoke fairly good english so he could explain everything and we were told we just had to tip him at the end...after having this private guide for well over an hour we thought a reasonable tip would be 15 soles (almost 3 quid) by the reaction we got from him when we handed the cash over it looked as though we had just tipped him the equivilant of a months wages...! not too sure we?ll ever get this right?!
So instead of doing the inca trail we decided we could take the lazy route and get the train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, walk round the ruins then head back in the same day, which is known as the backpacker one day trip...well everything so far has been so bloody cheap in this country, we are only paying 3 pound a night for accommodation, 5 pounds for a slap up meal for us both and those massive bottles of beer are only 1 pound..although if you want some english luxuries like a mars bar or a twix youre looking at paying at least 80p! (well worth it though!) anyway to do the one day trip to machu picchu was gonna cost 160 POUNDS!!! for a train ride and some bricks?! i mean it was one of the things we really wanted to do, but spending that amount of money in one day seemed insane, you didnt even get a free lunch thrown in...so we sacked it off!!
To sum up we had a pleasant few days in Cuzco (barring one night we spent in a large dorm which included six drunk american girls who couldnt handle their beer, all night we had to put up with shouting, screaming, banging about, until ed had to tell them to shut the ?....? up, which only made them worse! the fianle came around 3am when one of them spent over an hour falling out of bed and being sick all over the dorm!!)
Next stop...6 hour bus journey to the town of Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca where we have a two day tour of the lake booked (only 35 quid - bargain!!)
Until next time amigos.....Lots of Peruviam love to all x x x