Saturday, August 31, 2013

Inca Rail

Our first mission of the morning was to pay for Machu Picchu, then to figure out how to get to Ollyatombo, where the train picks up.

The cab driver dropped us off at a sort of unofficial bus station. Instead of buses, however, there were minivans and cars that drivers packed with people. We opted to pay one dollar more to take a less cramped and far more comfortable car. After waiting almost an hour for other people to go in the same car with us, we were off toward the mountains. Traveling anywhere in Peru is an experience because the scenery is absolutely stunning. The car ride almost went off without a hitch, until we were out of the car and Ali realized the driver unintentionally drove off with her backpack still in the trunk. Luckily, the driver realized less than ten minutes later, and returned the bag on the condition that Ali would buy him lunch. She did.

After the 2 hour car ride, we took a 1 1/2 hour train (PeruRail) up to Aguas Caliente, where we would stay the night. Aguas is the closest city to Machu Picchu, and it was actually created simply to be a tourist trap on the way up the mountain. Everything there was built for tourists.

The train ride was beautiful, even though we were seated on the right side of the train, and should have been on the left for even better views.

On the train, I sat next to a girl from South Korea. She was shocked that I quit my job because it is so difficult for South Korean girls to get jobs. She said there was a maximum age of 23, and after that, girls weren't desirable hires. She said she had particularly bad luck because on the day of birth, South Koreans turn 1 year old, then every January 1, they are one year older. Her birthday was Christmas, so on her 6th day of life, she was already 2 years old. Crazy.

Once we reached Aguas Caliente, we decided to go to the hot springs for a swim. This was one of those things that sound like a good idea, but isn't. We took one look at the brown water and hundreds of bodies cramped into small pools and turned right around.

Instead, we went out to dinner amongst all of the other tourists and then went to bed early to prepare for the early morning tomorrow.

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