A Travellerspoint blog

Cusco and Inca

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Hello all,

when Rosie and I release our much anticipated 'Travelling with Cade and Rosie- A Handy Guide for the Travellers' Traveller' we are dedicating a whole chapter to sleeping in airports. After roughly 36 hours of travel we have arrived in one piece in Antigua. Please readers, avoid long stays at San Juan Airport. The chairs are uncomfortable with no room to lie down and the tiles are so, so cold. Instead, try Lima airport. You can find yourself a quiet little terminal with five seats to lie down on to catch some shut eye.

Moving on to other matters.

Since we last wrote we were in transit from Rio to Cusco. We went to Sao Paulo in between for about 10 hours and we can say that Sao Paulo has a fantastic airport. For about $10AUD you can get some killer sleeping pills over the counter. A bouncy ball (priceless) is about $1AUD and is a must for people spending time in airports. We arrived in Cusco tired, hungry and not a little emotional. Only one cure for this. Drinking. We met up with a friend from Melbourne and proceeded to paint Cusco red. In Cusco the main square is called Plaza de Armas, an amazing old style European square (I have not been to Europe yet, I imagine this is what old style European squares look like). Cusco is an incredible place. By day it is the prettiest city surrounded by mountains and expansive views. By night she is a firey temptress. After reading AJ Storen's guide to Cusco (RRP $15 on www.amazon.com) I was aware that one can get very drunk in Cusco without spending a cent. You walk around the Plaza for a while picking up free drink cards to entice you into different establishmenhts. After picking up a good amount we sampled every bar in the Plaza. But I here you say, free drinks, they wouldn't give you good pours... WRONG. They don't have measures and they just keep on pouring and pouring. Amongst other highlights of the night: Rosie dancing on the bar in Mama Africa's, our complete rendition of 'Without Me' in some other bar, the introduction of the step in to Cusco (Rosie forgot to declare it on the way in) and losing the knees in Mama Africas (see 'Jorgy's Dancing Guide- How to Really Dance like a Star' (RRP $6 on www.amazon.com.au)

Needless to say we felt great the next day. Not quite. After thwarting several of Rosie's suicide attempts to end his pain, I thought a massage might help. Poor us I thought, struggling through the daily rigours of travel and life on the go. $7.50AUD later for an hour full body massage, I felt great. Rosie still not so good.
That night was a quiet affair. Found a great dinner spot, $5AUD for a bowl of green Inca pumpkin soup (everything is Inca over there, you think Australia commercialises stuff. They have Inca Cola, credit cards etc etc), and main with a glass of home made lemonade.

Next day we thought we start the Inca Trail tomorrow so we'll chill out and get some supplies from the super market. On the way to the supermarket we found a really high mountain we wanted to climb instead. So we climbed it. By climbing I don't mean cliff hanger styles, but climbing ladder like stairs. From the bottom we wondered aloud to the other how magnificent the views must be and what a great adventure it was to be. We were right on both counts. The way up was an incredible adventure. We literally had to fend off feral dogs (no bites or rabies mums), step past a huge pig and her piglets, avoid bird sized mosquitoes and wasps and pretend we didn't see all the locals laughing at us. When we reached the top though it was spectacular. The view over Cusco was absolutely worth it and whatsmore we thought, how hard could the Inca Trail be compared to this!? Also bottled water was about 50cAUD, don't think there is much of a market up that bloody mountain.

On the way down we had some more trouble with the dogs and discovered that Rosie has the force and may or may not be a Jedi Knight. I actually filmed him moving his arm and an angry dog following his command. Incredible. Also, we went and visited the local market. This is where I came up with the perfect retirement solution for dad. You see, dad has an itch for the butcher trade again. But he also wants to retire with Choc somewhere he can relax. Well dad, how about this. The butchers in the market have solved it. They just bring the dogs along and the dogs just walk around amongst all the uncovered meat. Genius!
Other than that, the market was pretty good. Lots of different coloured fruits, nuts, clothes (I found the cutest baby clothes but didn't think Sam or Jodie would let the kid where it so didn't buy it).
So after a day in which we climbed a mountain in Cusco, fended off dogs and had got absolutely nothing ready for the Inca Trail we thought we'd go out for a spot of dinner before we got organised. Four bottles of red later and we weren't in the best knick to get things done. Chilean Cab. Sauv is amazing ladies and you should see what sort of prices Marg or Michael can get you. I've always thought a Chilean Cab Sauv would look good on the winelist.

Inca Day 1:
So anyway, we awoke to do the Inca Trail exhausted, hung over and underprepared. To get to the trail you get a (roughly) two hour busride to another town we you can get some supplies. After sleeping the whole bus ride we soon felt better. In the town we bought some Greg Chappel sun hats (to protect our burn from the previous day, I forgot to mention we got bloody burnt the day before we needed to carry heavy packs over a mountain), some walking sticks (a must for the trail) and some water. We had some spare time in the town because our bus got a flat tyre. We went and found a little market in a side street and checked it out. Not all that much exciting except a BULL'S HEAD JUST LYING ON TABLE! And nothing much else except seeing a kid have his broken arm manipulated with no anaesthetic whilst screaming his lungs out. But we digress. To try and lighten the load we had one big bag and one little bag between us which we were to share over the four days. All in all our big pack weighed in around 15-20kgs for the first couple of days and our little pack weighed maybe 5kgs. The reason our packs weighed so much is because we took a heap of our own chocolate and gatorade because the vendor's on the trail charge an arm and a leg, people will pay anything when they are hungry, tired and thirsty and there is no other alternative. So we eventually got to the spot where we start walking from. The first day is pretty easy but we were carrying our bags plus a hangover each. We made it to our camp that night just before dark and had a pretty good dinner.

Inca Day 2:
Day 2 is the hardest. From about 2600m you climb for about 5 hours to 4200m. Rosie, another Aussie who lives in London called Andrew and I set a pretty cracking pace. It was actually one of the most physically exhausting things I've ever done. Rosie did the first leg with the big bag and that was very intense. I did the second leg with the big bag and I can honestly say I've never been so buggered or had to dig as deep as I did to get to the top. We got to the to top and began the 2 hour descent, which is bloody hard when you are knackered and takes more concentration to not fall over and face plant. Unfortunately day 2 was pretty cloudy and we didn't get the rolling views we were hoping for. Nonetheless we still got some pretty good views and nice photos. We rocked up to our camp for the night at midday and the next people got there at 1pm, at 4pm people were still getting in. In that time we had a quick lunch and went to bed before dinner. After dinner we went back to bed.

Inca Day 3:
Day 3 of the Inca Trail is gruelling as well. It has two climbs, one of 3800m from 3000m and one of 3500m from 3000m I think. If anyone can be bothered googling they may find some more accurate altitudes. Compared to day 2 it was a walk in the park but with aching knees, groins, calves, back, shoulders, quads etc etc it is still a significant challenge. Again it was overcast and we couldn't see as much as we'd like but we still saw two pretty amazing Inca ruins at the start and end of the day. At the end of day 3 there is a bar. We had some well earned Cerveza's and were allowed to take them to the Inca site. It was incredible to be walking around a 1000 year old ruin with a beer in the right mit and camera in the left. Felt like a bit of a bogan but it made for some good photos. We were stuffed at the end of the night so after a quiet 5 or so beers we went back to our tent.

Inca Day 4:
Day 4 is the day we go to Machu Pichu. We rise at 430 and leave around 5 to get there before the buses and trains roll in. It's meant to be an easy walk but you're exhausted to so it still poses some serious challenges. Its all worth it though when you get to the Sun Gate and see Machu Pichu below you. We went down and had a tour from a guide. She showed us through all the agriculturual areas and the spots where the kings, high priests and guards lived.
After the tour there is about 3 or 4 spare hours to do what you liked. Some caught the bus down the town and others just wandered. Rosie, Andrew and I climed another mountain next to Machu Pichu. It was very difficult getting up but very worth it. The views from the top were incredible. Looking down on Machu Pichu and around through all the mountain peaks. We were sitting on rocks with a half metre either side to certain death. Incredible.

Have to cut this blog short because people need to use the computer.

But got back that night at around 10pm and left early for 36 hours of travel to Antigua where I now sit.
Had a good night last night with the local rums but hit the wall so nothing too outrageous. Bit overcast today so probably no beach will get some things done.
Will post some photos over the next couple of days when I bring the cord.

I know Peter Bilionis doesn't read these but can someone tell him we discovered the greatest Club Sandwich in history. I took a photo and will post it shortly.

Call you today mum.

Posted by cadeabroad 08:35 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Soccer madness

overcast 28 °C
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Since my last entry we have been to the soccer, met a mad pom who ¨likes to drink¨, a naked Irishman called Kevin and a bloke from Sydney called Michael.

In the last entry I neglected to mention that Rosie learnt to Samba- I did not mention this because I wrote it sometime before he woke after learning to Samba.

I mentioned in the last blog we were going to Sugar Loaf and Christ. We did both of those things on Saturday. Was very cloudy when we were at Christ which was a pain in the ass but after a quick talk to the Big Fella he obligingly moved them aside for some nice photos of both the city and His Good Self. After Christ we went and saw Sugar Loaf. Its a gondola between 3 cliffs that takes you to a beautiful vantage point with views of Rio and Copacobana (where we stayed). The clouds were less of a problem because we werent as high and as such got some great photos. They say a picture says a thousand words so please see our pictures for thousand word essays on what we thought of the views.

The soccer has been the absolute highlight of the trip. We went to the stadium in Rio called Maracana- it held over 200,000 people for the World Cup Final between Brazil and Uruguay in 1956 (Uruguay won- not sure if they would have lived to tell the tale). The match we saw was a local derby and won by the team called Botofogo. This was good news for us because we were sitting with the Botofogan crowd. There was maybe 40,000 people there but it is quite easily the noisiest sporting match I have ever been to. Forget Boxing Day, Grand Final or Cup Day, 40,000 Brazillians put us to shame for the entire match with chanting, clapping, general abuse to the other team (they have creative chants that are roughly translated to ¨you are pussies¨- incredibly they have a hand gesture that accompanies that one. Irish (nude) Kevin, Michael and I hit the beers pretty solidly, I´m fairly certain that when Kevin gets around to wondering how he woke to find himself naked on a floor he will think that perhaps it was at the soccer where it all went so horribly wrong for him. I obviously took my camera along, only trouble was I left the battery in the charger back at the hostel. Nevermind, Irish Kevin said he´d send the photos he took of the match........
After the match and the chaotic scenes of celebration that followed, we went back the hostel and got blotto. Rosie and I met the pom called James who we immediately felt a connection with when he said ¨lets get a drink, I like drinking¨. The photo of Rosie and I in the gallery is from this night. At about 5am we decided enough was enough and proceeded to sleep for 3 hours before we had to get up to arrange our flight to Sao Paulo. To his horror though, Rosie awoke next to a black man. After weighing up his options, he decided that if he went back to sleep the problem would go away. Thankfully it did. It was just me and he was still drunk.
We arranged our flights for the next day and left Rio reluctantly on the 20th of March for Sao Paulo (happy birthday sweety). When we got to Sao Paulo we had to change our flights to Cusco for the same day so we are now getting to Cusco a night earlier which is very good news for us. Gives a bit more time to acclimatise and also Cusco is said to be amazing.
The voice that does the English at the airports here freaks me out. He speaks all sexy like. Had the best ever milkshake ever from McDonalds at the Sao Paulo airport. Bought a bouncy ball to amuse ourselves and am reading a book called blink am thoroughly enjoying it............................

Posted by cadeabroad 23:06 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

In Rio

sunny 33 °C
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Some people say that mathematics is the universal language. I imagine those people haven´t had to find a Brazillian to Australian power adaptor in Rio with no grasp of the Portugese language.
After successfully finding our adaptors we came home for a rest and Rosie wanted to shave using is new fandangled electric shaver. Only problem is the Brazilians use a 110v power and Rosie´s shaver barely gave a whimper- he still has a beard;

But back to the start.

We arrived in Santiago at about 1130 their time. After forking about 50US for being Australian, we continuted (Canadians have to pay 115US so no complaining). Our home for the next two days was Che Leguara hostel in the CBD (downtown/centro). After being cooped úp in a plane for the best part of a day we decided to strut downtown for a while. I thought Id keep it lowkey, try to fit in etc. Rosie obviously thought the same because he work a pair of purple footy shorts. Nobody else in Santiago wore purple, let alone short cut shorts that barely covered the necessities. Needless to say everybody looked at the stupid gringos (a little kid called me a gringo the other day because I didn´t give him my just bought strawberry milkshake). That night we did very little, had a late lunch, a couple of beers and a local sauv. blanc to send us to sleep. The next day we had a massive walk with some Brazillians we had met the day before. Moises, Raquel and Danielle (are the three names I can remember) and two others took off through Santiago to see some sights. We went to a cable car that had two stops- the first was the zoo. South Americans have the zoo worked out. no protective cages so far away you need binoculars so that you can see the tiger, oh no. We are so close to the tiger we could pat it (mum, we did not pat it). The next stop on the cable car is up higher to a lookout. We got some nice photos of Santiago from up there and a really big statue of a religious female, possibly Mary, Mother of Christ but Ive read the Da Vinci Code and it could be Mary Magdalene.
From there we went on a gondola like thing, literally down, then up. Moises our Brazillian friend was scared of heights, Rosie and I were only scared of the cable breaking and sending us plummeting 100 metres to our death.
That night we got home after walking at least 10km and went to bed promising our friends wed get up and go to karoke. They finally dragged us out of bed and we did karoke. Rosie is still complaining of having a sore back after carrying me through Easy Like a Sunday Morning- I did a much better job at Betterman it should be noted.

Next day we go to Rio (after we paid $30US aeropuerto tax to leave- it is amazing how much English they can understand when it comes to tax). Its hard to do much because the weather is so good and the beaches so nice. The waves are pretty ordinary and break late so when Rosie and I have a ´´Trever Off´ we end up halfway up the sand. Aside from looking for adapters we have been to the beach a lot. Today (Saturday) we are going to go see Christ (the big statue overlooking Rio) and Sugar Loaf (a cabe car between two mountains in Rio). Tomorrow (Sunday) we are hopefully going to the soccer, apparantly its two good teams so that will be good, I think the stadium fits 100,000 so it will be an experience. Local news: you can get 600ml beers (cerveza) for about R$4, which is about $2,50aud.

And I thik thats all I have to report so far. Stay tuned because I will be adding some photos to the world map shortly which you can find on my site somehow.

Good bye from sunny RIO!

Posted by cadeabroad 07:15 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Before I leave

Just a test run before I leave to see how this all works. It's 5:38 on Wednesday the 7th of March and I leave in less than five days.

Posted by cadeabroad 22:41 Comments (0)

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