The Road to Machu P: Aguas Callientes

We were hungry and all the restaurants on the way were too expensive, run by lunatics, or had no food. But we were more tired than hungry and made a solemn pact not to sit down for food before we had booked a room.

Finding a room in Aguas Callientes was an exhausting endeavor. Firstly, the town is on a hill. You start at the bottom near the highest priced establishments and slowly work your way up to the more moderately priced ones. Marcos and I began miscommunicating as a night with little or no sleep will cause. “Should we go that way or that way?” “Which way or which way?” Eventually we settled on a moderately priced place where we could share a room.

We ditched our packs and began the search for a reasonably priced restaurant and came up golden with the cheapest place in town, serving a menu of soup and fried trout with rice and fries.

Now it was just a matter of finding information about how to get to Machu Pichu. The consensus was that we could either take a bus:$12 roundtrip. Everything to do with Machu Pichu is in dollars. Or we could walk uphill for 1-2 hours, “depending on how you walk”. We went to a local market and bought supplies: sardines, lime, bread, yogurt, and water.

We spent the rest of the evening browsing for artesenias in the giant tourist market. A journal style book caught my eye. Unfortunately, like so many beautiful tourist items, the cover was marred by a garish CUSCO: CITY OF THE INCAS, embossed on the beautiful leather cover. I asked the lady how much it was. “45 sols! It is leather. Maybe 40 for you but that is all I can offer.” I told her the book was nice but I wasn’t really interested. She began to open the book and show the quality. But as she turned it over we simultaniously noticed the yellow price tag for 35 sols. She quickly masked her surpise (and, possibly, embarrassment) and said “It’s expensive because of the leather. But for you, 35 sols!”

We returned to the hostal and packed our bags for the next morning, resolved to get an early night and an early start. I set the alarm for 3:30 and fell asleep, exhausted, pen in hand.

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