Peru Travel Stories, Page 32


My new friend and reader of the blog about Machu Picchu sent an email...

RICHARD WROTE - Note I cannot find how to make the quotation marks on the keyboard.

Andy, I enjoy your messages. I did not understand what you were saying re the Inca Trail. One the one hand you say it is difficult, and later say it's easy. I hope to go there this year so I am curious??.... Edit, Safe travels. Richard R

Richard is astute and fast it seems, yes that is a contradiction, but how do I explain all is both a yes and a no, however here goes.

The trail is laid out like a park sidewalk made of stone, so it is easy, simple, not question you are on the path, sign, bridges, no worries, very safe.

However would you walk with no way back maybe 10-20 miles up and down a mountain with no preparation or exercise. The danger is how do you get down if you have a real problem.

So there is no adventure, no exploration, nothing out of the normal, just a very long walk to Disneyland as another reader called it. The walk is a walk in the mountains, the Inca empire is the present day Quechua Indians, this is the people now, but the Inca Empire spread from lower Colombia to upper Chile and included Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador. All the present road were in my estimation are Inca trails, the trail is just a nice hike. Machu Picchu though and the very rapidly growing city of Aguas Calientes make this place one of the most beautiful place on earth in my view. Aguas Calientes is wonderful.

Macchu Picchu and Inca Trail is Difficult

I did the two day Inca Trail, it is very difficult or strenuous. The path is more or less like a sidewalk and not a mountain path. There is a danger because the tours groups will say it is possible and sell you any type of trip, you could easily pay and take a trip that your body is not capable of performing. The guides do carry oxygen, but they do not care, so caveat emptor, take great care you do not have a heart attack.

The trail is too easy, there is NO adventure, too many people walk the Inca Trail to call it adventure or hard, it is really an easy walk in the mountains. No skills required, except the strength to do the walk. I recommend if you want a trek, go to any place but the Inca Trail.

I hope none of your family members have no died on this trail, it would be a shame to pay a guide, the government of Peru, and be delusion to the point of death, that all people can take a long walk in the woods and live.

I personally consider it a pain in the butt and no challenge whatsoever, but more or a painful annoyance, and an unworthy foe. I sincerely say to young people, go find a good place, take the train see the historical site, but do not waste your money on the trek, way too expensive now and the value is gone. Just another overpriced tourist trap, and nothing of note. Take the train and find a real trek or adventure, make your own path. Note anyone with any common sense would see that paying 75 dollars a day to walk around in the forest of Peru is silly, you can walk around anywhere you wish in the Mountains of Peru for free. South America is full of empty mountains, rivers, woods, and free places.

4:06 AM Saturday, February 26, 2005

I suppose my Mother and Father know me pretty well, I laugh when they can tell what I am thinking and feeling, just by reading emails, blogs, and newsletters. I am grateful that I do not edit my feelings, it would be unfair to my family, friends, and I suppose my readers; however it would the most unfair to myself. I suppose if I testify to the world who I am and what I do, then it had better be true. There is a natural human tendency to make the world appear better than normal, and especially we do not want to make ourselves look bad, I believe this is normal. However, there is no advantage in this stance.

A group of maybe three drunks just past below my window singing in Spanish.

Back to the thoughts.

Well, I am trying my best to evaluate my life in the present arena, there seems to be a mess going on in my life and it is definitely unmanageable. I have not been reminded I am alcoholic in a long time; it is not often I need to resort to reminding myself statements, like “One day at time.” and maybe “Say what you do and do what you say.” I have zero temptation to drink, what I have is what my mother has keyed in on, to open my mouth and say what I think.

We would all cringe at the thought of a mouth full of gravel. But a stone in the mouth can actually be desirable-at least that seems to be true for the cranes that inhabit the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. The cranes tend to cackle a lot, especially while flying. All that noise gets the attention of eagles, who swoop down and seize them for a meal. The experienced cranes avoid this threat by picking up stones large enough to fill their mouths. This prevents them from cackling--and from becoming lunch for the eagles. People have a problem with their mouths too.

==Lord help me to watch the words I say And keep them few and sweet. For I don't know from day to day Which ones I'll have to eat -Anon.

Mind what you say or you might say whatever comes to mind.

I laughed when I read this because it is so true. Proverbs 18-7
love prayers mom dad

OK, so I suppose I could leave this out and not say what I think or write this blog like it was a big secret, there are no secrets in my life, I try my best to be bring all of my feeling and thoughts out into the light.

Nonetheless, what is this all about, it is Angry, and I suppose I am afraid, I want to explain all the situations I am encountering. I have left my group and am going to stay away from them, I do not need the temptation to sit here post photos, explain, what I consider, and it is not my job. There are organizations, or institutions or people that need to be kept honest, I try my best to point out the problems of travel life so that the truth can keep people safe, but in this situation, I am wanting temptation.

What am I angry about?
I am of explaining too well and trying to hurt people.

Wow, what a danger of talking about this, I have a lot or European and American readers that just love to be jerks, write me and say how they believe Americans are jerks, so they make a jerk of themselves by trying to make either me angry, provoke, or just be evil.

I believe it is evil to hurt someone when you can manage to avoid it, I do not believe it is evil to protect yourself. I believe it would be evil to allow or look the other way when people like Sadaam Hussein needs removed from power. The powerful have a responsibility to remove the evil, even when the weak do not understand, or are too afraid to protect themselves.

There is stereotype opinion of Americans of being spoiled, not listening, always thinking they are right, loud, in a way snobs believing that as American and being from the USA, we are someway superior to others.

The problem is in many ways Americans are superior.
The problem is in many ways Americans are inferior.

We as is any nation, we are both, inferior and superior and both at the same time, there are great and wonderful things about the USA, and there are terrible things about the USA.

I am experiencing naïve arrogance, I am told I am an expert traveler… by a friend, and then they do the opposite of my recommendations.

I just edited or deleted a section, not my style, but no need to go further, it is just temptation.

Well, so in Christian Biblical terms, there is some passage or phrase saying and I do not have the quote saying.

“IF you are tempted, there is always away path provide to escape temptation.”

Therefore, I walk away, easy enough.


ANGELO Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
English poet and playwright.
Measure for Measure, Act 2, Scene 2

Travel is dangerous, there is a temptation to believe you can manage every situation, this is not true, your best option is to stay home. If you are tempted to travel, then your next be option is to avoid the temptation to believe you or a guide can keep you safe, it is a delusion. Only a constant vigilance that you could be making the wrong decision and the acceptance that for sure you are going to make a wrong decision will limit the number of wrong decisions. I error on the side of caution, I make the error of being too cautious and not too brave. I for sure and not smarter than any country I enter, they can always find a new way of scamming me, lying to me, cheating me, and making my life miserable. I should stay home, that is the only safe option. However to live a life less normal, I must leave the path, where there are “Lions, Tigers, and Snakes, oh my!”

Fools are protected though about 90 percent of the time, by just ironic coincidence and no pre-thought of their own. The traveled and were safe because the number was not called. The fool believe they can keep themselves safe, the sage know there number is being called, the need to resist the temptation to jump and volunteer is the art.


The group of 8 leaves for Machu Picchu tomorrow, I hope all is well, pretty stupid, I keep thinking about the phrase the ¨Ugly American¨ and think of the popular use of how people interpret the book, it may apply here. I think all is real, or maybe some evil God had decided to send me to Hobo Hell. I think only visiting the Champs Elysee in Paris for two days could be a worst punishment. Tourism, tourist, aagh. Help!

There is very little culture inspiration.


Wednesday 5:13 am, February 23, 2005

It is very cold in my concrete room here in Cusco, Peru, not unbearable by no means, but cold enough that hate to leave the bed. The room is too huge or I would think about buying a hotplate to warm it, but I will be in Arequipa soon and in a smaller room, plus I believe Arequipa is warmer.

“3,360 m (11,024 ft) above sea level”
From Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia

I could not find the altitude of Machu Picchu or Arequipa, but I am positive Machu Picchu is lower and that Arequipa is probably lower.

There is a worry daily from my group of friends, they have read the guidebook too much and are making themselves a little sick, hard to know if they would even complain if they did not know it was possible to have altitude sickness. Maybe I will go back to the encyclopedia and get a clear report on this.

“The common symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, shortness of breath, sleep disturbances, and sometimes nausea. These symptoms, collectively called acute mountain sickness (AMS), appear in nearly 20 percent of people who ascend higher than about 2400 m (about 8000 ft) above sea level in less than one day.”
Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta
We definitely did this, we came from the level of Boston at more or less sea level to the to the 3600 meters of Cuzco. However, they did not complain about this until they did a lot of climbing in one day on the Cusco City Tour. I have been getting tired, but normally I just consider myself getting older and this is normal that walking up step is more difficult when you spend more time typing on a computer than walking up steps.

Just do not push me and I am happy, I do suppose that could be part of the problem. I was following Joe, Suzanne, and Elizabeth down to the Pizza Restaurant last night and Joe was walking at an American pace, it was twice as fast as my saunter so I was uncomfortable. I am always the little boy walk and try to not hard move at all, go very slow and look at everything. I will mention the need to go slower to them, and Joe already said that he got tired so he knew he should stop, so he is responsible and not Macho about this, at least no one here is too Macho.

I did give Michael the 10-year-old son of Gary a Macho Push saying that if he goes with me,
“Mike we are the men, we cannot complain.”
He is humorous and I am trying to say, we go kill the bear, he shakes his head and sort of hides behind his dad, that step into manhood could be a push from me… I have not tried to keep anyone from doing anything and for the most part just let them roam as they wish. I have said taught them.

Bano - Toilet
Cuantes Cuesta - How much does it cost?
Cerveza - Beer for Joe

We are in the cultural parts of Backpacker Cuzco and not on the main Tourist path of Hotels a little away from the dingalings Pizza eaters. Nevertheless, of course, everyone here is eating Pizza as they have found the place with no real help from me.

I have done my duty with five of them and took them yesterday to see the older half-touristy market. Sort of the older city market for food, they would not get close to the food so that was a hoot, Joe did get up close and personal to a Cow mouth. He took a real good photo of the cow’s mouth, I will see what he thinks, and I will put it put to see soon.

I have hit the adults on a regular basis with the fact that Peru is a bump and grab country for robbery and a carry you own toilet paper country.

I think they have been lucky so far on the toilet paper thing, because I know not all of them are packing, most of the time they walk back to the room. This is not good when you leave an expensive restaurant in Cuzco because you need to use the toilet, the toilet is acceptable.

Suzanne experienced the bump and grab yesterday; she was taking a photo, and then placed her hand and camera inside the pouch of her sweatshirt. I guess someone spit or threw water on her and then she took her hand to her face to wipe it off and shortly after discovered the camera is gone.

I have been actively having everyone put their foot through their backpacks when they sit and trying to say, when using your camera you are a target. No money had been stolen yet, but this group is great target, too safe feeling and too much American, plus they walk in packs. A group comes for us the minute we walk toward the Plaza de Armas or the city square.

It looks like we are adjusting as well as you can to a rapid tour of Cusco, Peru, no major problems the two girls 14 and 12 have not ran off with the local boys, and for that fact have not even got chatted up. I told them the girl have been chatting me up and I am ugly, trying to insinuate if boys were not talking with them maybe, they had a beauty problem. This went over their heads.

Joe is the protector of his daughter Suzanne, and Elizabeth seem not interested yet in boys, so they are safe. Are biggest problem is the over sugar powered Kyla who is 6 year old that will jump, run, and hop around without thinking. I wished I knew the affects of sugar better, these kids are overfed sugar. Jane their mother brought what may be a five pound or two kilo bag of gummy bears. She brought a lot of trail mix too, but not the bland tasteless type but the sugar type good tasting.

I have to remind myself that I need to push them to clean some normal food and stop eating the Pizza. I took them to the market and the purchase nothing. I am bewildered like the group is a complete snob with food. I am a terrible person with food, I will hardly eat any new foods, but I make this group look like I will eat anything in comparison. My mother will laugh, me being the one that tries food more than other people do.

The hotel had a kitchen and I believe they should buy some fruits and vegetables, meats if they wish either boil some water and clean them or cook the food. We are going to leave the Pizza tomorrow and go to Machu Picchu, aagh; there is probably Pizza now at Aguas Calientes the village below Machu Picchu. I now know I am going to fail, I am not going to get this group to try the local foods or experience the local food culture.

They did go to the market; they have not engaged any of the local Quchua or India type population in any conversations. I am trying to maneuver them into situations where they must talk. They have not seem to be interested in the people only in what the people are selling, so I suppose they are helping the economy, but there is no cultural exchange.

I am lost, do I somehow take them away from the tourist area or do I just allow them to go to the main tourist areas and look at junk? I am not sure what is best, they will remember the trip, but to take them away from Pizza central is to make them feel uncomfortable on the other hand I feel uncomfortable in Pizza Central. I am saying Pizza Central as I describe the Plaza de Armas area and the wide four-lane road leading kind of down from the Plaza de Armas. We have to walk up the hill from the plaza de armas past the naked lady statue and take a left, we see very few tourist where we are living.

I am not sure what value I have for this group, but maybe the only real value is I speak Spanish and have no fear, this makes them feel safe. Too safe in my opinion, and they need to access the situation themselves, evaluate the dangers and keep their eyes and ears open. We have had one camera stolen; there is no physical danger of being killed, just bumped and grab bags. No one here is a drinker or a drunk so no druggies, so we are not having the normal backpacker problems of getting drunk and getting robbed. Therefore, we are very safe; Cusco is safe and most travelers and tourist to not go out advertising how they were robbed, as for the most part they feel stupid. What is stupid is to hide the fact you were robbed, so that other people believe they are safe.

My mission is to show them the real Peruvian Culture, show them normal homes, normal people, and to hopefully get them invited into the home of some locals. I believe I only have a 10 percent chance of this as the Pizza and some French Bakery is taking us away from Peruvian people. The Lonely Planet, which I recommended very much to keep them safe, had now again becomes the problem as they are reading it cover to cover to find the Pizza and bread shops. I wish that section did not exist, finding food is a cultural experience, finding Pizza is a trip back home, and why do you come to Peru. The time is too short to eat pizza for a short trip American traveler.

However, there is no guide to life, and if it make you happy than there is nothing wrong with enjoying what you enjoy. I just want to give them the memories they will never forget.


American Airlines is forgiven, in a way...
The telephone numbers they gave me lacked the proper code in front and then the lady says,
¨Why don´t you use the free number?¨

Of course I said, tell me please as 5 dollars disappeared in the box.

Sonya at the Hostal helped a lot, note that Hotel is spelled as Hostal in Peru.

They went on the city tour while I chased down my bag, making multiple calls.

So.. I am happy to say hello again to my wandering MALETA or Mochila.

Cusco Peru as we are leaving Boston

Group photo as we leave Boston, the children were not behaving...

This man works for American Airlines in Lima Peru, he is the person that took the report on my misplaced bag, he says to me
“No Problema.”

Says that LanPeru will deliver my bag to my hotel today. So the future will tell today in Cusco.

This is a photo beggar more less in the Plaza de Armas or the central square of Cuzco, probably half dressed up to get photos taken and money, nonetheless very cute.

Photo of Guinea Pig or Coy as they call it in Peru, in Peru in the nicer restaurants you can eat Guinea Pig, Joe did not seem to like the pig, but was a good sport, as best I know the only place to buy is in the more expensive tourist restaurants, as I have never seen a local eat the stuff.


I am trying to post photos daily, we will see how I do... hehehe


I made it to Cusco with the eight other newly indoctrinated Hoboes, not sure what that means, but for sure they have left home. There are four adults and four children in the group.

I am worried about this situation, the trip went well, and nobody really had any serious problems. American Airlines has embarrassed me by misplacing my bag in Miami. (I am embarrassed because this is my country, the USA.)

No one that boarded the train in Boston and transferred to the Lima flight had their bag when they arrived in Lima. I am 80 percent confident it will show up in Cuzco in the next few days, but as of now, I am living with a very small amount of clothing, and almost all of my normal electronic equipment. I am adapting very fast to this problem, I have no serious loss if the bag never arrives in Peru.

Not sure what to say about American Airlines or the USA in general, when I survey my memory of flying on planes, the major baggage problems are in the USA, and not in the rest of the world. There is a large domestic market in the USA and zero domestic market in the rest of the world. My personal belief is the baggage crews do not take baggage serious, they believe that if they do not get it on the next flight than they can always send later to the person’s home. This is in a way ok in the USA, but I do not live in the USA, I live now in Cuzco, or I live where I go next.

I knew there were some problems when the pilot when trying to park the plane in Miami came on the speaker saying,
“I am sorry, but again we are only 50 feet away from the gate, but there is nobody here to park us, I have radioed them six times and still we are sitting here waiting for support to park the plane.”

I am embarrassed at the inability of the USA to demand perfection, for sure, Miami is a now a Latino culture, but this scares me as to whether the USA can compete with China. Europe is not a problem as they are worst than the USA, but China and Asia has no problem demanding perfection or the employees lose their jobs. The only saving grace for the USA presently is that Asia does not know what perfection is, maybe Japan does, but the save face culture sabotages perfection in many ways. I was especially annoyed and worried about the staff in American when an older female Airline Attendant hollered at a man for put his feet up on the jump seat next to the exit. She was not patient and kind, and jumped him in a manner that was unacceptable, he finally told her to get her face out of his face. It was terrible to see as an older woman that should be in a different job, obviously, there was no fear on her part of losing her job for being rude to passengers. Note that all the USA domestic carriers are the same more or less.

We are staying as a group in what could be the wrong hotel; I am very concerned because of problems yesterday. There is a denial maybe of the fact of life about this situation, but my gut says they will not be happy until they are living in a 30-70 dollar a night hotel. I am going to have a talk with the adults today, everyone is say all if fine, but we have people refusing to eat or use toilets. Not liking a situation is different from a refusal.
Touchy situation as these are family situations and not just a bunch of backpackers living on mommas money.

I am in a debate, shall I take them down to the real Peru level of life and show them the facts of life, or shall I put them in the resort and keep them away. A delusion of life is ok as long as the delusion is never broken. Nobody has expressed any opinions on the people, only talking about nature. Sort of like going on Safari in Africa so, you do not have to see the people.

I know I can take them into a world they may never see again in their life, where 80 percent of the people live on the planet. Let them peek, get every disgusted, and then put them back in the resort. Pizza, toilet seats, and only English, I believe I should have a talk with the adults today, try to make some decisions.