Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The nicest bus we have taken on this trip so far was the bus we took (kinda) direct from Copacabana to Cuzco. It was new and had nice seats and we got the top front in front of the staircase which meant no one behind us! There are many buses going from Copacabana to Cuzco but most you have to change in Puno, Peru's city next to lake Titicaca. In Puno one can visit the famous floating islands made out of reeds. We decided to skip it since we saw the lake on the Bolivian side and we heard that Puno was not a nice place to stay and that the floating islands were waaay touristy. Although some people really liked it I just don't think we would have enjoyed it. Anyway, buses. So we were lucky to get one of the not many buses that didn't change in Puno but we still had to get out in the Puno station, sign into the bus company and get a new set of tickets, and pay the stupid terminal leaving tax (btw, props to Argentina and Paraguay for not making you pay to leave. It sucks when you're running late and you cant' get out the door to your bus until you go find the booth and pay and get the ticket so that you can leave.)
So far we hadn't had a good introduction to Peru. It was easy enough to enter, we just got off the bus at the Bolivian border, got the exit stamp and walked across a bridge and waited in line to get the entry stamp to Peru. Unfortunately the bus driver never gave us the sheet we needed to fill out so we waited in line, got to the window, got yelled at by the stamper guy who gave us the sheet, filled it out and then had to get back in line! Then we get to the bus terminal in Puno and the people there were really rude! I had dropped coins out of my pocket on the bus and didn't realize till I got into the station and when I tried to go back to the bus the lady wouldn't let me without a ticket. I said I didn't have it they took it at the counter when we were re-checking in. She said no. I went back to the counter where the woman was looking for me to give me the new ticket, went back to the lady who told me now I couldn't leave without paying the tax. I said I just need to look on the bus to find my money! So she took my tickets as ransom as I went to look for the money which wasn't even there (turns out it somehow fell into my backpack pocket and I didn't find it till 2 days later!). Then I was walking to Nick and accidentally bumped into this guy and when I said sorry he just glared and walked away. Then that same guy tried cutting Nick when he was in line to pay the exit tax but Nick wouldn't have it. He gave him the finger wag and said 'back of the queue!' which he prob didn't understand but he went. You need to stick up for yourself in these countries or they WILL cut. Then, when Nick was at the window paying, a woman came up and put money down right next to Nick!!! Unbelievable! Fortunately the woman at the window didn't attend to her like they normally do with cutters, she told her to respect the line!! Victory! Onward with the journey!

So we get into the Cuzco bus terminal at 4 am. We had booked the hostel the day before but didn't know if it was too early to go there so we sat in the terminal till 6am. Soo boring! Then finally I couldn't handle it anymore so we took a cab to the hostel. Turns out we could have gone there earlier, they had a couch and a tv for waiting on till check in at 10:30. Unfortunately for us we never saw the check in because at 9:30 I was told that the room we would have is still occupied and the people who said they were going to leave now weren't and that we would have to go to another hostel. Nick got really mad at this since we were told we would have space and the other ppl should leave, the guy just said that the person was sick. He got us a cab and we went to a sister hostel. At first it looked really crappy but our room was big with three beds and a bathroom and we managed to get it for $10 a person per night where the other one was $11.50 pp pn.

Once we were settled and rested after our journey things started to get better. We walked around the city and ate a really good meal then got cake in the market. Cuzco used to be the Incan capitol until the Spanish saw to the end of that, but there are still some Incan structures left like walls and ruins. It also has some really pretty churches and plazas, a nice place to walk around...except that you get pestered on every street to buy something. We find ourselves saying 'no, gracias' every time we turn the corner!

The next day we looked around for a tour company to book our trip to Machu Picchu and took a free walking tour of the city conveniently called Free Walking Tour. It was a really good tour and we saw some of the Incan walls and ruins that were unearthed when the Marriot hotel started to build on this one spot. They had to stop building and find somewhere else and the ruins you can visit which we did. Inside there were 2 vicunas and an alpaca roaming around that you can pet although they're not the happiest! One of them kept going after this girl in our group we think because she had on a brown tourist llama sweater hehe. But she would not leave her alone, kept biting her!
We also tried a Peruvian dish called La Causa which was made for the soldiers when they were going off to fight for the country. It was really good and tasted like potato salad.
We had lunch at a Spanish tapas restaurant and learned that the statue in the main square is actually plastic but painted to look like copper. We ended at a really awesome hotel/art gallery that Mick Jagger stayed at recently, with some really cool modern art and the coolest bathrooms ever! One bathroom's theme was hell and it was black and red with roses and vines and the other was heaven and it had mirrors on the wall that were all smashed. The tables in the restaurant part were old bathtubs turned into fishtanks with glass over the top.
We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at tattoo designs and re-arranging our bags to start our trip to Machu Picchu the next day!

around cuzco

Plaza de Armas

Free walking tour group in front of plastic statue

Alpaca face

La Causa. Layers of mashed potato, some hard boiled egg and other goodness

Incan wall. they used no mortar they just cut angles in the stones so they fit together. Smaller stones on the bottom and they're built on an angle to make them earthquake proof. 

Vicuna getting ready to spit at Nick
Hotel/art gallery

'heaven' bathroom

'hell' bathroom

fishtub table

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