Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peru/Brazil/Argentina Day 3: Sacsayhuamán

May 5, 2012
Peru Day 3: Sacsayhuamán

After our busy first day yesterday, we went to bed at 11:30 last night. I actually slept pretty well, only a bit of tossing and turning. We're all finding ourselves a bit thirsty (due to the altitude). The stuff we read said that insomnia is a possible side-effect of high altitude but I was glad to get a pretty good sleep. Up at 6:45 and was excited for the hot shower... and just a trickle of water :/ oh well. "Well, at least there's something", I said loud enough that Kev could hear me outside of the bathroom, and then... "WOOSH!" The water came out like gangbusters and it was very nice and a good wake-up vibe.

Christy arrived! We were so happy to see her arrive safe and sound after her flight woes and she looked happy to be finally here. We all sat down together and had hostel breakfast and it was fantastic - cafe con leche, soft-boiled egg, fruit and yoghurt with some funny rice puffs on it, and some bread. Great stuff.
The most tiny and silly of fire hydrants
Everyone was lining up at the bank for some reason
Kev making sure the sleeping bag would fit him
Off we went to get a Bolleto Touristico for Christy and back to Peru Treks so she could pay her deposit. We got her all sorted out pretty quick and that was great. We wandered downtown for a bit, heading back to BNC Bank. I got such an amazing deal there yesterday, I checked my account and the S/. 700 + S/. 5.60 fee was only $267 whhaaat!! So I got literally the exact exchange rate of 2.64 with only a $5 ATM fee from Wells Fargo. Not a bad setup. This was definitely the way to go. We all got some money out and then headed back to the hostel. I saw a girl carrying a baby lamb for photos and that was the one touristy thing I was totally down for, "Now THIS I am willing to pay for!" I gave them a S/. 10 note (like $4) and I bet that's a lot more than they usually get (maybe more like S/. 1 or S/. 2). They seemed to be treating the lamb very well and he/she was in very good shape. So I wanted to show my support, plus I desperately needed a photo with that cute thing.

Awesome statue in downtown Cusco
Me and a baby lamb!
Christy is here!

Frank took some hilarious photos of me with the lamb, that was fun. We headed back to the hostel to chill for a bit and met up for lunch at a place called Pacha Pappa. I got a Recoto Relleno (Stuffed Pepper) as well as a Potato and Tuber dish in cheese and minty sauce! Fantastic. I also got a Chicha Morada - purple corn, brown sugar and cinnamon juice. This is what Frank and Jess got last night, it's not alcoholic so it was super good and I could have it without messing up the acclimatization pills I was taking. We all shared Christy's dessert.

The view of Cusco hills from our hostel
So, many, potatoes
Chicha Morada, my new favourite drink
Recoto Relleno
Amazing potato and tuber dish with queso sauce
We walked after lunch past a coca museum but didn't go in, opting instead to continue walking upwards. Up, up, up, all the way towards the Sacsayhuamán ruins. There was one stop which was gorgeous and had an amazing view of the city, we took lots of photos. :) Sacsayhuamán itself was amazing, a crazy huge place with large rocks cut and somehow fused together perfectly, very impressive. I've been taking some photos on RAW so I can edit them later in Adobe Lightroom, but I've got a technique down now - I'm taking a bunch on JPG (if it's just scenery and not an animal that's moving a lot or something), and keep taking until I get the lighting basically correct. Then I switch to RAW and re-take one or two bracketed photos at the same settings. It's working out well.

Frank photographer, Jess photogenic
Cusco from the hills near Sacsayhuamán
Me in my new hoodie
Viva El Peru
Llama walking around
Awesome stone structures at Sacsayhuamán
There were lots of funny llamas walking around, they were crazy!! We walked over towards the Christo Blanco ("White Jesus") statue. I got a cool photo from afar, dark rocks at Sacsayhuamán and the statue lit up by the sky. Good times. As we got closer I realized there was some crazy barbed-wire fencing around the statue and it said "1945" on the back. This was a nice juxtaposition with one side dark, stormy clouds and the other side around the sky was clearing. It was an interesting sort-of unplanned war memorial juxtaposition in a way. (The barbed wire, the year the war ended, and the clouds shaping a sort of "the dark, stormy problems" counter-balanced on the other side of the statue's arms with clear, whispy, carefree clouds. Very awesome! These photos are posted just as jpgs, but that one I took in RAW. When I have a chance I'm gonna spend a bunch of time post-processing that one, and I'll post a fancier version of that one in the future).

"White Jesus" statue and Sacsayhuamán
Go! Go! Go!
Cusco in clouds
Cusco main square
Christo Blanco and Tourists
We walked back down to Cusco, and it was much faster than walking up! We got a cheese empenada and a grande alfajore cookie to share with everyone. We relaxed back at the hostel for a bit, tired from the hiking upwards in the still-somewhat-unfamiliar high altitude. We headed to dinner and tried Bembos for the fun of it, a sort of Peruvian McDonald's. It was not bad, but definitely a bit strange! I got fried plantains and an egg on my burger. The sauces were good, especially the hot mustard.

Bembos Menu, super confusing
A weird and crazy fast food dinner
Fruit mousse
Tall Lemon Meringue pie
 They have Inca Cola here!! It tasted like bubble gum, but it's still awesome. After dinner I headed to the cake shop we'd seen the night before and we were psyched to knock that out. We got a peach gelatin mouse and we also got an amazingly tall Lemon Meringue pie. Very nice. Also I had a coffee with hot milk, a fantastic end to another exciting day!

Headed back the hotel and was just chillin' with Kev. I wrote my journal, sent a few emails. and just chilled out. Tomorrow it's off to the Sacred Valley and Pisac Market. This trip rocks. :)

No comments: