Going to Machu Picchu

We left early, and in the rain, when we went to Ollantaytambo. We had our own driver, Raul, who didn’t speak English, so that gave him licence to ignore me when I spoke Spanish. We were able to stop and take photos on the way, so we got him to stop at some of the miradors. The miradors were crowded with people trying to sell local goods. We talked to some of them about a manta, or aguyo, which is a wrap the local women use to carry their babies or other loads. Most of the wraps they had were overpriced and fake, so we continued to the village for textiles. There they had an even more effective market for tourists, which was silly. The people were in their costumes but the place wasn’t meant for us.

When we arrived at the train station there was a huge crowd of tourists, which the locals call rooster face, cara de gallo, because gringos have long necks and tall heads for the local people. Some of the locals are very short, one and a half metres, so we look strange to them. Silvio and I walked the street a bit and then crowded on the smallest platform I have ever seen for a train with all the other gringos. We waited in a café and Silvio instantly found someone to talk to. He found two Indians living in Washington and we spent some time talking about the Trump quilombo that is the US now. Once on the train, we were seated across from two more Americans. One was Vanessa from Bolovia originally, and her boyfriend. Silvio mainly talked to the Mexicans across from him since he was frustrated by what he thought of as Vanessa’s snobbishness, based, as far as I could tell, in the way she spoke Spanish.

I talked to them, and endured the boyfriend telling me about some self-help classes that he is involved with. He told me about getting his Phd, but when I probed the question we discovered that the self-help classes tend to refer to their level of training in such terms.

Once we arrived in Agua Caliente, we ran into a problem. We looked at the room, and Silvio was instantly dissatisfied. He had specified with Jorge that he needed a heater in the room, and ours had none. He called Jorge, and by the time I was done my shower, he had organized Marco to take us to another guesthouse. There they had a heater, but Silvio was still not satisfied, so while I waited, he went to a rich hotel and signed in. We spent the night in the rich place, which had two heaters, and Silvio was more than happy with that. Unfortunately it was too late by that time to do much more than eat and crash.

We needed to be up and in the town square by eight-fifteen, and we wanted to take advantage of the free breakfast.

About Barry Pomeroy

I had an English teacher in high school many years ago who talked about writing as something that people do, rather than something that died with Shakespeare. I began writing soon after, maudlin poetry followed by short prose pieces, but finally, after years of academic training, I learned something about the magic of the manipulated word.
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