Friday, November 26, 2004

Nov 22nd, Day 4

Plugged again
check out the day 4 photo album here

I was supposed to go to the Macaw clay lick in the morning. This was the main purpose of my trip in this lodge. Too see the group of macaw birds that gather to eat the salt. This congregation is supposedly a riotous and colorful wildlife spectacle.
Again was supposed to wake up at 4.00 am and get ready for the clay lick. I woke up at 4.00 am only to find the meaning of a rain forest. It was raining cats and dogs. The collpa trip was cancelled. I was upset. I missed out a great spectacle.

This was the last day for me at the rainforest lodge. Had to return to the airport. Again another long journey in boat and muddy roads. The muddy roads were the same color as the river orangish brown with banana trees and all kinds of plants on both sides.

The Puerto Maldonado airport is so small. I went into the airport and walked across a room. I saw the runway the moment I crossed the room. There were two tourist sitting there. so I was also sitting there eating my passion fruit. I saw an aircraft landing and it was coming straight towards me. Some airport people came and asked us to get back into the room. The pilot had the engine in idle till all the passengers got down and everyone from the airport got it. Felt like a taxi waiting for someone .It took like 30 mins and we were off.

For my flight back to cusco I took TANS peru a different airlines than the one i came , which was LAN peru. TANS peru has old aircrafts and this plane was wobbling after take off and the plates on the top where vibrating and making sounds. There was no air condition and it was hot at high altitudes. I thought to myself that i should have listened to the safety instructions that were told at the start very carefully.

The pilot somehow managed to land us safely in cusco. Cusco valley is about 11,000 ft above sea level. I kind of started feeling dizzy the moment i started walking towards the baggage claim. I was ok for a while and then again i got dizzy. I realized then that i got altitude sickness (dizziness, headache, nausea etc).Because of the high altitude the air is thin here. Less oxygen. The natives here have huge chest and bigger lungs to adapt to the conditions here. But some foreigners might get altitude sickness. Well iam one of them. Chewing coco leaves, is supposed to be the antidote for altitude sickness according to the locals. The coco leave is nothing but unprocessed cocaine .Well you need to do certain process with kgs and kgs of coco leaves to make a gm of cocaine. so few leaves wont harm you. And is pretty much what everyone is doing to get away from altitude sickness here .but u can’t even take a single leaf to US , it is considered as a narcotic . i got to make sure that i didn’t forgetfully spill a few leaves into my baggage before returning to US.

I had to wait for a long time at the baggage claim because one of my baggage didn't arrive. I was pretty much the last guy. Then someone came walking with my luggage and showed the lock. I had safely locked the baggage and left the keys in the suitcase itself. He came there to hand it over personally and asked me to check everything. I just thought about all the robbery stories that i heard about latin america.

Everyone who comes to cusco generally take a day off to get acclimatized with the weather. I thought for a superman like me nothing is going to happen and decided to do the cusco city tour on the same day itself. I had a good ROUND trip.

plaza de armas

Most of the Spanish cities are built with a plaza at the center of the town. So did Cusco, It has plaza de armas. The cathedral there has some great spanish art works and architecture. The missionaries had customized jesus for the native. The last supper painting made me smile. Jesus was having his last supper with everybody and what was he eating. CUI or the guinea pig.

Some of the art works were ever funnier. Statue of the virgin mary with lamas and the moors fighting in the back ground, Kind of a dark skinned jesus. Guess all part of an effort to woo the natives.

Then went to the sun temple of the incas called coricancha. The spanish when they came they destroyed all the incan temples and building and built there own. but they realized that there supposedly superior architecture was not able to withstand the frequent earth quakes of the region, whereas the incan building stood its ground. So they changed there idea and started building churches and palaces on the incan foundation.


The inca's build walls and foundation on big stones. But the greatest thing was this that they didn't use any wheels. The incan civilization never used wheels and no mortar to bind the rocks. The rocks where individually polished, shaped and fitted into with the other stones. It amazing given the fact that these rocks have withstood so many earth quakes. There are some rocks with 16 edges fitting with different rocks.

NO mortar

The Sachsayhuaman fort was ever better, it had large stones on the wall endings placed over small stone foundation. The reason being that small stones can absorb vibrations more than the bigger stones.

There was an indian couple in my tour group. Mr and Mrs gupta from California.when the tour was ending i invited them to join me for dinner and said probably we can eat the famous cusco guine pig .They said they are vegetarians and they are going to a restaurant called govinda. Govinda ?? An Indian restaurant in cusco. i was awed. Think it is a not a complete Indian restaurant probably a fusion restaurant.

I ended up going to a restaurant called El traaco , supposedly the priciest in town. But it was worth it. There was entertainment all through out the evening. I got a table right in front of the stage and enjoyed the entertainment with Alpaca(smaller version of a llama) steak and some pisco sour**.

Pisco sour

When i went to the peruvian embassy for stamping the consulate general asked me to try pisco sour.I thought if the conulate genral is recomending it then there must be surely something special about it.And it was.

A small kid got excited by the music group ad he started his own music.

After 3 days i finally got connected. Cusco the inca capital is the most cosmopolitan city in peru. There is 3 internet cafes ever street. very affordable too, only 1.50 for 1 hour. well that was not $1.50 it was S1.50 that is soles, the peruvian currency. A dollar is equall to 3.25-3.50 soles depending on where u exchange it. the first site i visited was Was surprised to see South africa scored 510.I was hoping india will give an apt reply.


Who are the Incas?

Inca was the last great civilization of peru.They began to expand their influence in the twelfth century and in the early sixteenth century, they exercised control over more territory than any other people had done in South American history. The empire consisted of over one million individuals, spanning a territory stretching from Ecuador to northern Chile. The height of their reign in the 15th century came to a brutal end in 1535 when the Spanish conquistadors took over their territory.

Incas are famous for there gold. Their love for precious metals was esthetic, for neither Incas nor their subjects needed to buy anything. It was said that when the spanish came to cusco, the temple walls where covered with gold and there a garden with trees and animals made out of gold.

During the inca regime people never had to pay any tax.The citizens paid their taxes as work, certain number of man-hours for a year to build temples, fortresses, agricultural terraces, and roads- all for the grandeur of the realm.

Agriculture was tough business in the Andes. The Incas actively set about carving up mountains into terraced farmlands—so successful were they in turning steep mountainsides into terraced farms, that in 1500 there was more land in cultivation in the Andean highlands then there is today. The Incas cultivated corn and potatoes, and raised llama and alpaca for food and for labor.

Incans spoke quechua language, which is still spoken in the andes. They didn't use wheels, didn't have a written script.

Cusco was the capital city of the incas. The city was planned in the shape of a puma.cusco in quechua means the navel of the world. It was the center of the incan world. The incas laid roads to all there cities from cusco.trails run all the way to chile.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour is a traditional Peruvian drink. Pisco is a colourless brandy or spirit made from grapes. It is very high in alcohol and traditionally from Southern Peru.
Traditional pisco sour comes in a nazca type figurative pottery.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?