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Cam & Suz’s Travel Diary

Friday, 03 Jun 2005

Location: Cuzco, Peru

MapAfter a slight mix up with arrival dates in Lima we met Karen at Lima airport where she had her first taste of Cam and Sues newly acquired bargaining skills. In South America you bargain for everything... and we mean everything! We didnt spend much time in Lima and instead headed south to Arequipa, a lovely colonial city on the way to Bolivia. Karens first true experience of South America came in the form of an 18hr bus ride that was "supposed" to take 12 hours closely followed by another 10hr ride that took us to the shores of Lake Titicaca, Copacobana in Bolivia.
With the tune ringing in our heads we walked around the lake and caught a row boat to the famous Isla del Sol. At about 3900m, a lovely stroll it aint with full packs. Karen found herself gasping for air but camping on the ridge of the island with the snow capped Bolivian peaks in the distance sure helped as a distraction.
After 3 days hiking and camping we were befriended by a local man who asked us to help celebrate a very bizzare Bolivian custom. After eating breakfast and packing up we were lead to the mans parents home where we had to cut his two year old daughters hair while having a beer and chewing on coco leaves. Apparently it is an age old custom that a foreigner does this and then makes an offering for the childs education. We were given a gift from the Grandmother and also a letter stating that we are now the "godparents" of this child. Quite a unique experience, just hope that we dont get the call up any time soon!
From the shores of Lake Titicaca we headed north to Cuzco, the Inca capital and probably the most touristy city in all of South America. As Cam and Sue didnt get around to booking the famous Inca Trail, we decided to hike an alternate Inca trail that was also to finish at Machu Picchu. With the help of our trusty arriero and his mule, we hiked the 4 days to Machu Picchu. Amazing scenery was mixed with amazing tenacity as Karens foot was badly bruised. But like the trooper she is, she battled on (ok, a couple of tears but justifiably so). We made it to Aguas Caliente at the foot of Machu Pícchu. After discussing our favourite foods all trip we were keen to endulge. We decided on pizza and promptly ordered 3 family size pizzas. Karens pizza came out first which was a good inch inside the rim of the "family" size. After asking where the rest of the pizza was and getting an indignant "Como?" we watched in disbelief as Cams pizza came out on a dinner plate. Something was very odd about this pizza.... all the pieces of th pizza touched in the middle, but there were large gaps as the sliced went to the outside. After putting the pieces together it was clear that someone had already eaten a slice. Outrageous!! We couldnt believe what we saw. We were in hysterics and disbelief at the same time. The owner insisted it was a full pizza but then finally admitted that a piece had been eaten. So to fix the problem a complete pizza would be made. A while later one slice was brought out to replace the missing piece. Again we couldnt believe it! A good argument ensued... we paid for 2 and got out of there. They havent quite attained the art of customer service.
Next stop Machu Picchu.... all we will say is that it more than lived up to expectations and one of the trully stunning landmarks we have ever seen. Get there and see it.
A few too many beers (by Cam anyway) was had as a celebratory night in Cuzco and it was time to bid adios to Karen and her 4 bags / 70kgs of luggage thanks to us.
Great to see you Dirtgirl aka Karen and thank you again for being a mule with our luggage (we mean that in the nicest possible way of course!!)