12-April-2012 Cusco, Peru
We spent the morning walking around the town of Aguas Calientes. A town so small, the CBD is 5x2Km wide. It is a very unique town as there are no cars around. There is but one way to reach Aguas Calientes and that is via train. It is a tourist town catering to the visitors of Machupicchu – thus it is mostly hotel, restaurants and souvenir shops. It is a bit confusing because the mayor started calling the town Machupicchu instead of Aguas Calientes (Hot Springs).We took the 1:37pm train to Ollanta. I settled in for the trip expecting no more than a scenic ride. Then a lively music started playing and a masked man in colourful costume and a cane started dancing. Jeanne was quick with the video and the man pulled Vivian Q. to the centre of the train to dance. Vivian gave a dancing performance with gusto, everyone with a video camera in trained on her. This was followed with a fashion show of Peruvian dress wares. The carriage is now so noisy of wolf howls and laughter. All the ladies have been touching the fibre as the models walk pass.
Eventually, some of the ladies tried the wares and started to run the cat walk themselves. It was hilarious, but it was all well worth it for the Peruvian Rail, they sold a lot. On our group, I counted 5 but there may be as high as 8 orders.
I learned later from Ysabel, who came to pick us up with Washington (driver), that there is a landslide that prevented the train to go all the way to Cusco. That is why we had to stop in Ollanta and take a bus for the rest of the journey. On the way to Cusco, Washington pulled over. For a while I thought he was going to let us out to take pictures of the glaziers, but he rush out and was picking up slabs of cheese that fell off a truck – risking life and limbs in the process as some of the cheese dropped on the middle of the road. It was funny as well as disturbing.
When we reached Cusco, we had dinner at Incanto near the main plaza. Vivien and Pam were feeling adventurous and ordered Alpaca for starters and shared a ‘cuy’ i.e. guineapig. This, however, is the tourist version of cuy. The shape of the animal is indistinguishable – you can liken it to a fillet. An American couple, especially the very friendly wife, could not contain her curiosity and amazement and asked Vivien and Pam if they were indeed eating a guineapig. You could see her control a squirm and smiled politely but we all burst into laughter and had a very engaged conversation. We exchanged travel horror stories and before you know it, the couple had ordered alpaca as well.