jueves, 24 de marzo de 2011

Macchu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Gen, Ash, Lloyd and I left Cuzco for Macchu Picchu, taking a tour through the spectacular Sacred Valley- at 110 kilometers per hour. The driver inexplicably turned around on our way to the train station, claiming traffic that was apparently conveyed during an active phone call, and retraced our steps back through Cuzco proper, the four of us hang from our oh-shit bars and rather preferring to survive than catch our train. We missed it. The tour company, after some haggling, agreed to pay the upgrade for the next train rather than having us was for a train that would arrive a few hours before our pre-sunrise ascent up to the ruins. The train ride was glorious, following the brown rolling river along the cliffs covered with vines and fragrant flowers, and we were offered quinoa mint salad and a small mashed sweet potato stuffed with strips of grilled meat, perhaps llama. The windows on the roof of the train allowed us to peek up at the rounded mountain tops, imagining Incans using machetes through the thick brush to find the perfect spot to set up an agricultural, spiritual, political, economic and religious center. We arrived in Aguas Calientes, and dreamt of jungles and storytales. It was raining while we waited for the bus at a quarter to five the next morning, but the buzz kept us awake. Our guide told us of its founding by an American history teacher, and how most of the findings still reside in Yale University. While he talked, the steam floated onto, off of, around, and underneath the vegetation on the surrounding mountains, and suddenly, the postcard image appeared, with much more awe and wonder than can be imagined. We wandered amongst the massive stones carved with inginuity and covered with moss, learning about the barbarity of the Spanish conquistadors who failed to find Macchu Picchu (which is actually just the name of the nearest mountain, since history of the name along with many other much desired facts we never passed down from the local Incans who fled into the jungle). The construction was meant to last centuries to the seemingly invincible Incans, who sadly only inhabited the city for less than one hundred years, less time than the time of contruction. Every building was centered around the sun, ancestors, the natural flow of water from the surrounding sources, and the all powerful royalty. The four of us sat on a terrace, took a million pictures, pet a two day old llama, and left a little more spiritual.

1 comentario:

  1. This brings back SO many memories. (And I'm not even including the many, MANY times we sat enjoying Emperor Cuzco -"Oh Yeah!") First of all, the infamous train rides - full of broken air conditioners and beers, made up games involving running from one end of the train to the other without touching anything, inventing future Chinchilla names, and seeing how many playing cards we can stick to our face at any one time. Oh! And the overnight train - need I say more? But also, our joint rainy experience at 5 in the morning. Sitting in a small Thailand town - watching Die Hard and eating roasted chestnuts on Christmas morning.

    Can't wait to travel with you again, sister. I love you!