I'm reluctant to write more because most of the good photos I have are on my camera, not my phone which. Is where I'm posting from.
The area we drove through was so green and beautiful. There were snow capped mountains in the distance - definitely a place I could live. We've been blessed with amazing weather, and Elle is an awesome travel partner. I've been noticing how my beliefs about myself influence how I act with others - not to get too in depth, but it's been fun to shed those a bit and experiment with a new way of being. After all, no one knows me here, so change isn't so hard. I am what they see, and that is whatever I want at the moment.
We met up at 7am in Cuzco at the Hostel Samanapaitca - a bit spendy but well reviewed - and now closed apparently. When we returned to Cuzco Martine (hostel manager with a crush on Elle) said there was some issue with the owner and the court. Anyway, at 7am we made plans to see some of the surrounding country. We met Lindsey from Toronto and caught a tour bus out of town, headed to the Moras Farming archeological site and the Salineras salt mine. I sat next to John from Miami/Venezuela and learned all about his home and when he had seen already. He gave us some good tips for our leg up to Machu Pichu.
The salt "mines" consisted of flat terraced ponds, filled by the super saturated salt water that naturally comes out of the mountain. The flats fill up, dry, then the layers are harvested off by workers in big hats. Every stop was loaded with touristy shops, but at this one they had fresh plantain chips, warm and salted with the stuff we had just seen drying.
After returning to the city we found a tiny place serving super cheap food, and made an equally tiny old lady happy with our tip. She kissed everyone's cheek and gavels a hug. Elle and I wandered around town and found a bead shop - all the colors and textures I love immersing myself in, inside hundreds of bins and for pennies each. I held back. Mostly.
We decided wandering would be more fun after a shot of Tequila, so we asked a guy handing out party fliers where to go. He took us upstairs to what turned out to be a party hostel, where Tequila shots turned into beer pong with three guys: English, German and Californian. Chaos ensued. I got to see the hills of Cuzco at night, dark and studded with what looked like thousands of white, blue and Christmas lights.
Our next move was a 7 am train to Machu Pichu, from another town an hour drive away. At 4 am "collectivas" aren't so popular, so it took a while before there were enough passengers for the van to leave. Sleepy, we made the train in time.
Machu Pichu needs it's own post, and since it's midnight here the day before we leave for the mountains, I'll have to put it off.
I just keep realizing how much more there is to this country, and how three weeks isn't enough. I already can't wait to come back.