Monday, November 8, 2010



BACK TO CUSCO AND THEN ON TO FINAL TWO DAYS IN LIMA

I believe the train ride from Cusco to Poroy is about 60 miles. From Poroy it is then a short ride to Cusco. The train ride was awesome. It was slow - some 4 hours. You just cannot seem to get enough of the Andes mountains. The ride included a great meal and a show. I sat with three people from Argentina. Oh, btw, Manu Ginobili is a national hero in Argentina. (Plays for the Spurs.)

I knew the people from Argentina speak Spanish with an Italian accent. What I did not know is, in the north of Argentina they do not. I first thought the couple across from me were from Nicaragua because they dropped the “s” at the end of their words and used the word vos instead of tu. For example they would say “vo quiere ma” instead of “tu quieres mas.”

The meal was wonderful. We had some type beef rolled up with some type filling, smoked cheese, and the yellow Andean potato. The meal included a beverage of choice. Just outside Poroy they did a show in native dress of the indigenous people of the Andes. After that they did a fashion show of Alpaca and Llama sweaters and scarfs.

We arrived in Cusco and as always Condor had a drive ready to pick me up. When I got to the hotel I went around the corner to buy some saltine crackers and a soda. It was a dollar. I learned if you shopped where the locals shop everything is a lot cheaper than eating out. I was not hungry so the saltines were enough to hold me over until morning when I knew I would have a great breakfast at the Casa Andina Classic in Cusco.

MY CURE FOR FATIGUE

When I was there I mentioned in a post I found a cure for fatigue. It also kills your appetite. - Coca tea - I was drinking about three cups a day for altitude sickness - which I never got. It also gives you a burst of energy for about 3 hours. I came to learn one morning as I was popping my blood pressure medicine, it is not recommended for people with high blood pressure. I monitor mine several times a day, so I was fine.

In my case, I also learned that when you stop drinking the tea, you crash big time - as if you are being sedated for surgery. I decided I wanted to bring it back to the states. The State Department has a web page for what you can and cannot bring back from different countries. Coca tea is something you cannot bring back. I do not know why because you can buy the same Peruvian coca tea on line. The best I can figure is maybe the dogs can smell it and it causes problems with customs - I do not know. I did buy the tea on line. I am doing three cups a day - but I tell you when that third cup wears off I drop like a ton of bricks. I am not doing it every day, but about every other day so that I can get more things done.

THE FLIGHT TO LIMA

The next morning after breakfast Condor sent its drive and I was off to the airport. The flight is nice - about an hour ten minutes. It is an old 737. You get breakfast and plenty of leg room. The flights go all day on several airlines.

I got back to Lima in the afternoon. I was tired so I took a nap. The artesian shops were across the street so I went shopping after my nap. Later I went for an awesome Chinese chicken and rice. The Chinese food in Peru is a good as anything I have had in China town in San Francisco and New York.

The next morning I had the entire day to myself. It was a slow morning. I had breakfast and rested in my room until about 10 a.m. This is when the market opens across the street. The hotels are great about cooperating with your luggage. Even though I was checking out they agreed to hold my luggage until Condor came to pick me up at 8:30 p.m. for the redeye back to Houston.

I spent the day at museums and exploring pre-Inca ruins in Lima. The pyramids are nothing like Mexico. In Lima they are made from mud bricks. Because the costal area gets almost no rain - the pyramids have survived - sort of . They look mostly like mud piles, but the bricks are very discernable. It is only in the last 40 years or so these cites are protected. Because of this many areas of pre-Inca buildings were destroyed for development. This is sad because we have no idea what was lost.

The main museum is very telling of the racism which exists in so called Western ideas about civilization. What you learn is, indigenous people in South America had their own cradle of civilization at the same time Ur and Sumar were developing. The pottery was quite sophisticated. The gold and silver jewelry was also quite sophisticated.

Because of Western prudishness, they have a separate room for the pottery which depicts human intimacy. I can tell you it is a myth that the missionary position was brought from Europe. If the pottery depicts their views of sexuality, they were an open society without prejudice or judgment for certain forms of human intimacy. I will say the pottery is quite graphic, while not being offensive. The other tourist were quite impressed with the freedom of sexual liberation found in pottery.

After the first museum I decided to do lunch at an Italian restaurant. The lasagna was quite good.. The coffee was awesome - in every restaurant I went to, with the exception of the breakfast buffets, the coffee is made fresh by the cup. It was awesome.

THE TRIP COMES TO AND END

After a day of touring Lima on my own, I ended my trip at the Larco Mar shopping center. I spent about two hours just enjoying the view of the Pacific from the cliffs. I found a restaurant in the food court which appeared to have what I wanted - local food. The prices were amazingly reasonable. I had fried plantains, Andean yellow potato, corn on the cob, a Chinese type beef on a stick, and some type tropical fruit drink. It was all very good.

At about 7:00 p.m. I started to walk back to my hotel. It was 15 short blocks more or less. It took about 33 minutes. By this point I had found a cane to help with my walking. It was a beautiful walk down a main boulevard.

The hotel welcomed me as if I were still a guest. They allowed me to use the lobby bathroom to change clothes for the trip home. I then sat - talked with other tourists and waited for my ride.

I got to the airport about 9:00 p.m. - By 9:35 I was checked in, cleared security, cleared the immigration exit station and paid my airport taxes. I believe the taxes were $31.00. I now sat and waited for my flight.

Well I hope you enjoyed my journey. In the late Spring I will be off to China.

If you decide to go to Peru, I recommend you use http://perutourism.com/ They treated me like royalty. They are local in Peru so they know the ins and outs. I do not have a complaint in the world about this company. They get an A+. I just hope the company I am using for China is just as professional.

I really want to go back, but my health has me on a short leash in terms of long distance travel. The planes really do not accommodate the CPAP. Without my CPAP, I do not sleep. I was awake the entire flight to and from Lima. My back and legs cannot handle sitting that long. This was the only part of the trip I did not like. So over the next 2-3 years I will travel as much as possible before I get to the point I cannot. There will be no time for repeat trips.

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