A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

South America Part IV: Maccu Picchu

With our new entourage, we took off on the local bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is in the Sacred Valley and the site of some Inca Ruins. Since we got there so early we had time to walk around the town before we caught our train to Aquas Caliente. It was a beautiful day.

Also since it was so early, we stopped on the street for some breakfast. These three girls scarfed down fried egg sandwiches (one girl a few more than the others) and I ate some delicious rice, potato and bean concoction. We all drank more coca tea hoping to ward off any altitude sickness.

From Ollantaytambo we got on the train to Aquas Caliente. It was a stunning and relaxing ride. Sadly, there is the tourist class and the coach class. I was furious when they wouldn't let us ride in coach. We had to pay more money and travel with the tourists. I understand the importance of tourism. I understand the income it provides for an economy and I participate in it with my travels. But I can only handle tourism to a point. And when it creates a clear division between travelers and the people and culture I have come to learn from, I become incensed.

Aquas Calientes is the base town of Maccu Picchu. It only exists because people who want to go up Maccu Picchu before sunrise need a place to stay the night before. I hated Aquas Calientes! While it was in a beautiful gorge, it was way too touristy.

Since, I was about .9% afraid someone was going to check my passport number with my passport, I decided to go to the Maccu Picchu office in Aquas Calientes to clear this error. Ha! What a waste of time. The man looked at us like we were crazy and said, "What am I supposed to do about it?" Correct information is almost as important to Peruvians as it is to Ugandans.

The next morning we got up and were in line for the bus to Maccu Picchu at 4:30am. There was a collective excitement in the line of people. We were going to see Maccu Picchu! There was a slight fear in me that it wouldn't be all it was hyped up to be. I was feed-up with tourism at this moment but Melissa and JaNahn's over enthusiasm carried me through.

Maccu Picchu is all that people talk it up to be and more. What an incredible feat set in a stunning location. I was very impressed.

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