Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Still in Cusco

In fact I haven't even made it out of the tourist zone (except when lost entering the city!)

For the past week, I've been at times lost in the internet "black hole" (what would I do if the "net" didn't exist?)

I call it a "black hole", but the internet is an incredible development, as I've witnessed the availability of connections in virtually every corner of Latin America.

I feel quite disconnected from the holidays celebrated back home, but with the help of the internet, I was able to go on-line and do some Christmas shopping. If you've got a little money to spend, there are plenty of people willing to help you out. It's so easy!

With the "discovery" of "Gnutella's" "LimeWire", I've downloaded a generation of music in the past two days. I should have no more complaints on the subject (unless I lose everything when the computer crashes.)

One fascinating diversion in downloading music was to see (and hear) in a matter of a few minutes an entire history of the folk song "Four Strong Winds." I heard the song some time ago, and decided to search "LimeWire". Now I see almost every prominent folk and folk-rock artist has recorded the song, and it was wonderful to hear the versions, one after another (my favorite being Neil Young's.)

The internet makes research, both serious and casual, so much easier.

***

Meanwhile, most of my biker friends have come and gone.

Yesterday and today are the first day in weeks that my body's digestive tract has felt somewhat normal.

In talking with other visitors to Cusco, the stories of illness are nearly universal. Some cite the altitude, others the food. I suspect it is often a combination of these influences. Anyway, many of the travelers have talked of being "down" for days at a time. It's perhaps something to factor into your travel plans should you be coming this way! (For me, it has been a problem here in Peru more than anywhere else - well, except for that chicken up in Canada!)

***

Tomorrow, I plan to take a round-about track to the north side of Machu Picchu and hike in from the town of Santa Teresa. Brad Houghton (of "One World Two Wheels" fame) made this journey with his friend Melissa a couple weeks ago. His site has some wonderful pictures of the journey. See: Link

***

Ate breakfast and dinner at "Jack's Café Bar". I guess if I find a place that's good, it's an easy decision to return. Fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and strawberries for breakfast, then for dinner, the best split pea and ham soup that I can recall!

The diners are all tourists from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. And regardless of nationality, there is a clear "type" that predominates: the active, confident, aggressive adventurer. A type I might easily (and mistakenly)dismiss for their seeming "been-there, done-that check-list." Most (not me) share a common energy and drive, which contrasts with the "laid-back" local culture. Most are fairly young. The danger is in treating the locals as passive, or worse, non-existent fixtures.

Many of us tourists live a pretty insular existence even in a foreign land. At night, you'll find "Paddy's" pub jammed with foreigners. Except for the servers, few locals will be seen in many of these establishments. There seems a clear division between the cultures, and I feel it on the street. The "white man" is tolerated, but I'm not sure "he's" welcomed.

I feel a bit out of place; too young to be a retired tourist, and too old to be a carefree adventurer.

3 comments:

Drew Kampion said...

Well ... time to get out! Have you been u-u-u-u-u-p to Machu Pichu yet? We're waiting for the pics (loved Brad's & Melissa's)! Any cute babes around? Let us know when you get lucky ... don't hold back!

babycondor said...

Like you, I've been downloading my emotional history via music.

"Four strong winds that blow lonely, seven seas that run high/All these things that don't change, come what may/But our good times are all gone, and I'm bound for movin' on/I'll look for you if I'm ever back this way."

Check out Neil Young's performance on the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert: graced with divine fire.

Vaya con huevos!

timtraveler said...

Vaya con huevos???

If the Dylan Anniversary performance is with Phish and Sarah McLachlan, then I have it!

The senoritas are beautiful everywhere, but I'm an old guy, and bound for movin on.