Machu Picchu - Inca Trail

So, this looks like it was taken off the internet, but this is a photo of Machu Picchu that I took. The weather turned out perfect for us. This view was the pay off of the four day hike.

I don’t have a lot of photos of the stone work at the site. I’ve got plenty of video. But the forum isn’t supporting my file extensions. Sorry folks.

Here’s another look with the clouds rolling in. The mountains up there are truly a “cloud forest”. Keep in mind that I hiked four days to get there. You can visit the site on a day tour. The bus will drive you up the mountain in about 1 hr.

That’s a view from the camp on day three. The photo kind of does it justice. There really isn’t anything to compare. I live in the pacific north west and we have the Rockies. When I came home it was like “mmpff. I’ve seen better.” The trail is untouched. And this power line was the only evidence of modern civilization outside of our party along the entire trek.

This gives you some idea of the construction of the Inca trail. It’s a 600 year old trail. This was a secret path taken by the royalty on their excursions to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was essentially a vacation retreat for the emperor of the Incas.

It’s a four day hike. Essentially, I guess 10 hrs of hiking at this steep angle on day two of the trek. By far the hardest physical feat I’ve ever accomplished. Day two was the hardest. Day three wasn’t much easier.

The muscle fatigue, the cardio fatigue, and the mental fatigue were all incredible factors on the hike up.

The journey is the destination. Arriving at Machu Picchu was awesome. But I’m really proud of myself for making it to the end.

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Incredible. Looks and sounds fantastic! Good for you!

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That’s why they invented those little green chewy leaves, you silly rat. And, don’t tell me you did the whole trail without partaking of the magical elixir mate de coca. Half the experience is doing as the natives do.

Cool pics… Looks fun. I’ve not traveled in that part of the world. There was a time when I would have loved to see the Nazca lines or the ruins of Machu Pichu, but not so much anymore. I think if I had a choice to go someplace and do something, I would be off to the caves of Turkey. When I was last in Turkey, I didn’t even know they existed.

Cool trip. Sounds like you had fun. (Too bad you had to carry all that Buddhist baggage with you.) LOL

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How could I forget!!! Incredible stuff that coca leaf.

We were welcomed every morning with a cup of coca tea. And they’d spread out leaves at the breakfast table as well.

I had one particularly memorable thing happen on the trail.

It was day three and we were headed down the second mountain pass. I’d purposefully let the rest of the group get ahead of me so that I could be alone. I didn’t have a leaf of coca to my name.

Now, the porters are amazing specimens. They carry roughly 40 kilos of portage on their backs and climb the mountains twice as fast as the rests of the group. And the Peruvian people quite short

So, I’m heading down the second mountain pass and I see a porter coming from the opposite direction. “Ola” I say. “Ola” he says. His cheeks are puffed out to here!

He passes me and I realize I’ve almost missed my chance.

“Senior!” I know about five words in Spanish. He stops turns around. “Coca leaf pour per vour?”

He pulls out the largest bag of coca leaf’s I’d seen. Like twice the size of a plastic bag at the grocery store. And then urges me to take as much as I like.

So, that was great! That stuff works magic. If only we knew the secrets to its wonder :thinking:

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Now, that’s the ratty we know and love. I’d like to think I would have done the same. I have a pick of myself on a river trip in Cambodia, mouth-fried red with beetle nut, that I am not going to share. It will just have to make you feel good to know that it is there. For the best life experiences, do as the natives do. (When possible. Even I have limits. Some trees were not meant to be swung from. ) Good for you ratty. Sounds like fun!

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Mmm. Alpaca your bags? More like get in my mouth! Alpaca was delish.

Guinea Pig? You’d better believe I ate at least four whole pigs during the trip.

Here’s a great highlight from the trip. I was accused of being a racist Nazi. Fun story.

So our party was about 30 from around the world. Texas, Scotland, Ireland, Belarus … great people all around. I was representing Canada with my two older brothers and a close friend of my older brother.

So, we’re on the trail. Things are getting difficult. It’s me and a girl from Texas lagging behind the rest of the group. And her accent is thick. But she’s super nice. And we’re helping each other up the mountain and I’d like to think we bonded a little bit along the way.

So, the trip is over. We get on the next train to Cusco. Me and the close friend of my brother (who I like and get along with) and the two girls from Texas. Now we start having a conversation. Gun laws, fifth amendment, wouldn’t you feel safer if no one carried guns, and everyone is an RN - so there’s lots of talk about that field of work.

And there’s beer! Oh my lanta. There’s beer!!! Naturally I start to drink too much. Now, me and the one girl from Texas start jamming. Just conversing and riffing and laughing and I … almost unconsciously … start picking up on the Texas accent. In fact, I was picking up on the accent when we were up on the mountain just riffing off of each other. Call me simple.

The friend however, feels that the twang in my speech is not only cultural appropriation, but also straight up racism. So he tells me older brother, we get into a huge blow out later that night, and it damn near ruins the trip.

Cut to brunch in Cusco the next day. We become a tight knit bunch and the Canadians and the Texans go for brunch. I’m unusually silent the whole time. What am I gunna say? I’m a racist, right? What if I appropriate the culture?

Cassandra (that’s her name) asks me to take her shopping in Cusco after the brunch. Luckily my brother notices that she’s got an affinity for me. I ask her:

Me: Did I drink too much on the train?
Her: no. You had a few. But you were fine.
Me: was I “racist” at any point?
Her: No! What are you talking about?
Me: I dunno. Maybe I was picking up on your accent too much?
Her: look. I’m from Texas. I know what racism is. That wasn’t racist.

And then we go shopping. Everything is fine now. But it was a real drama for the end of the trip. But I love how a white snowflake of a Canadian steps in and feels insulted and discriminated against on the behalf of an American who didn’t perceive any racism (in fact) where none was intended (Aaaaand … we’d already developed a rapport with each other). Yeah. Had to promise my brothers I’d deal with my drinking problems just to abate their anger. Everything’s fine now.

Am I wrong? Is there something inherently racist about putting a little spice into your normal accent with other cultures? Like, I swear there was nothing intentionally mean spirited about it. But is that a grey area? So I know for next time?

Cambodia is next on my bucket list. How would I fare there with my wife? Anything to be concerned about? Gunna do the back packing thing.

Too many doo gooders trying to do good and defend people that just don’t need to be defended. IMO, intent is everything. Anything else can be discussed.

If he’d had any balls he would’ve brought it up right then and there. We could’ve cleared the air.

I have this tatooed on my arm as well

My brother mistook it for this
IMG_3917

One’s an ancient symbol for earth. The other is a neo Nazi emblem.

We’d been bunking up together and walking around half naked and such. When my brother accused me of racism he also said:

Him: and that thing on your arm. It’s all coming together. You’re a Nazi!!!

lol. I had to laugh at the absurdity and ridiculousness. Shakespeare couldn’t have written a better comedy of errors.

I would have taken you for the Original worshiper of the original God to walk on water.
1500 years before the Christian guy.
Orion

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Absolutely green with envy, saw it first in a film as a child, and have wanted to go there my entire life, well done.

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These days the government has really cleaned up the area around Ankor Wat. This is the only place I spent much time in. All the beggars have been cleared out of the town. The walking streets are clean. Shopkeepers and locals are sterilized. I had a great time touring the temples but to be honest the highlight of my trip was when the driver I hired for the 10 days I was there took me to his niece’s birthday party. We just clicked, he spoke good English, and he decided to invite me. The house was an hour off into the hills and we passed many very nice homes on the way. At the party, we had cow head soup, (the whole frigging head) drank, (which I did in moderation), and sang Karaoke. I can kill “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” and “Surfing USA.” (It was the best part of the trip.)

You’ll have fun. Watch out for the typical scams, especially when changing money. Shopkeepers will try to pay you with the old currency that is no longer used. The currency can be very confusing. It’s worth getting to know the denominations before you go. They have coins and bills representing the same denominations. There’s more so read up before you start playing with the money. They love to take dollars and give you change in Cambodian currency.

The thread is not about my adventures. Any scams you were made aware of on your journey?

You can still do it! My brothers are in their 60’s. if you’re moderately fit, have a healthy heart, there’s nothing stopping you! :slight_smile:

Another funny anecdote. So, in Cusco the people are quite impoverished. And I honestly don’t know how they make a living. Because the shops are filled with literal crap. I imagine however there are enough tourists to help them maintain a livelihood.

But the street vendors are unstoppable. They sell trinkets, empanadas, and art work (for example).

The transaction usually goes like this:

Vendor: artwork? It’s all original (which it’s not. You see the same prints over and over again).
Me: No gracias.
Vendor: are you sure. I’m an art student. It’s all orignal. This one’s mine (he’s not and it’s not).
Me: no gracias
Vendor: (another minute of shameless insistence)
Me: no gracias
Vendor (a little quieter): weed?
Me: No gracias
Vendor (just a bit quieter): mushrooms?
Me: No gracias
Vendor (even quieter): cocaine?
Me: No gracias
Vendor (very quiet): women?
Me: uhhhh. Let me think. No gracias.
Vendor (quietist): men?
Me: now you’re talking!

Hahahaha. So yeah. Very very poor people there. No homeless whatsoever.

The other one was the cameras above the ATM machines (which was a little disturbing).

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I’m also envious, but I have a problem with altitude sickness, ever since I was a kid, so we won’t be making it there in person. Very cool experience.

Hey thanks. The altitude was a killer. Very thin air. I recall our return from Cusco (3000 metres up) to Lima (sea level). I’ve never experienced a more satisfying influx of oxygen into my body when we landed in Lima. I love oxygen. Add the thin air to the difficulty and duration of the hike and you’ve got yourself quite a challenge.

I traveled in europe for nearly two years and when I returned to Canada friends commented on my accent. I hadn’t noticed that it had changed. Of course that was decades before cultural appropriation was recognized. But Ratty are you sure that your accent wasn’t so over the top that it could have sounded like you were making fun of texans, who can be quite thin skinned. Your trip sounds fantastic. I never realized the sheer size of the site.

To my fellow Canadian travellers, yes. They found it to be over the top. To the Americans who I was interacting with, and I asked them directly after being accused of cultural appropriation, there was no offense.

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It might be that us Canadians are ready to apologize at the sign of a pause in the conversation while yanks are less socially sensitive. But if your lady friend was not offended your good. Ya all were good weren’t ya Ratty.

I’m good. She’s good. The guy who accused me is good. But as far as my relationship with my brothers is concerned, I’m a Nazi. And I have one overly sensitive Canadian to thank for that.