Friday, February 23, 2007

6. Machu Pichu and Aguas Calientes

It has been a few days. We are in Cusco again after a trip to Aguas Calientes (literally Hot Springs. Well if you want to be absolutely literal, it should be Luke Warm Springs That Smell Like Rotting Onions, but you know, that'd be too long probably).
Aguas Calientes was like a Hollywood movie set. It felt really safe and comfortable, but was a lot like Fisherman's Wharf in SF. This is probably because it is the jumping off point for all the tours to Machu Pichu and unless you want to pay 70 dollars a night instead of the 5 dollars at the hostel, you stay there.

I cannot begin to describe Machu Pichu. It was magical and awesome and humbling and incredible. I spent a lot of time sitting alone and aborbing the sheer emptiness but total completeness of the entire space. It´s surrounded by huge mountains that appear to shoot out of the ground in an almost urgent manner, were it not apparent that they had been standing for millions of years.

We also hiked to the top of Wayna Pichu, another ruin on top of one of these mountains next to Machu Pichu. There were stairs almost the whole way up, chiseled out of the rock and worn smooth from use. So smooth that in the rain, and standing on what felt like the edge of the world it was exhilarating and terrifying.

When we got to the top, we chose the highest stone to sit on, all five of us, were we stayed until it started raining harder than it had been.

With the taste of coca leaves and oreo cookies on our tongues, we descended back to Machu Pichu.

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