Friday, August 22, 2008

Fuzzy Brained and Fancy Free

My brain... is not working properly at all.  I blame the altitude (3400 meters above sea level is no joke!) and the travel cold that descended upon me while in Arequipa.  My sinuses are completely blocked and it does not feel good.  However, despite my dopey-headed condition, I am totally in love with Cusco.  I wish I had more time to spend here, 5 days is simply not enough--particularly when one of them will be spent getting to and exploring Macchu Pichu, and another exploring some of the surrounding towns.

My hostal--recommended to me by a couple of Austrian cyclists I met in Lima--is lovely, albeit the water in the shower is a bit on the chilly side.  And for the past few days I´ve been the only English speaker in the entire place, so my Spanish skills have certainly been put to the test (and, I must admit, found to be a bit lacking).  This morning as I was having breakfast a British man showed up, and it actually felt weird to be speaking English to somebody.  Granted, there are a ton of tourists in Cusco, and many of them are English-speaking, but hearing it and actually speaking it are two different things entirely.  Does that make sense?  Please, forgive my congestion-addled brain. 

However, the Brit did suggest a medication to alleviate altitude issues, so I went and picked some up in a pharmacy this morning.  Sitting here in the net cafe hoping it kicks in before I head up to Sacsayhuaman, which is even higher than where I am now.  I plan to take a taxi to the top and then walk back down--being that I´ve been getting winded on very short up-hill climbs within the city, I figured that attemping a steep 2km climb to the fortress probably wasn´t the best idea.  Also, my guidebook says there are horseback tours around Sacsayhuaman and the surrounding sites, so hopefully I´ll be able to find one when I get up there.  If not, I´ll do my best with walking.

That´s about it for now.  Headed up to Macchu Pichu tomorrow, so I have to get my arse up quite early to make it to Ollantaytambo to catch my train (there were no trains available from Cusco, even booking a month in advance!).  I´ll be spending the night in Ollantaytambo and then the next day exploring that town, and also the town of Pisac, which is supposed to have any amazing market.  Not sure yet how I´m getting from one to the other, but I´ll figure it out.

Right, off to use the scary restroom here at the net cafe one more time, then find a taxi up to the fortress.

Oh, and the two guys sitting across from me have been checking me out constantly since they came in.  Honestly, it´s a bit distracting.  Flattering though, considering I haven´t been wearing make-up at all while I´ve been here.  Ah well, eye of the beholder and all that.


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