Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pisac Ruins

We set out this morning to make the most of our Boleto Turistico (see everything within 100 miles for one price) we purchased yesterday. Sunk costs be damned, we were going to make the most of these things, and set off early in the morning to find a collectivo taxi to get us to Pisac.

The town is about an hour north of Cusco, and we were going not only to see stunning ruins and the remains of some ridiculous terraced farming, but also to shop the nauseatingly touristy market in town. We rolled up to a street corner with 70 people waiting for rides, and got in a taxi with a couple from California. They turned out to be awesome, and we spent the rest of the day wandering the ruins with them.

We began in the markets, driving a hard bargain for alpaca wool products and brightly painted objects. We were expecting everything to be fairly expensive but were surprised to find $8 felt fedoras and 80 cent ceramic phallus statues.

We met back up with John and Anneka and drove up to the top of the ruins, perched 1500´ feet above town. The ruins were typically incredible, with small clusters of buildings perched in absolutely ridiculous clifftop locations, overlooking many acres of what used to be terraced farming. We explored the ruins for a while on our own, having little clue what we were actually looking at or the history behind it. We´re looking forward to having a guide for the next leg of the trip to provide some historical context.

We soon stumbled upon a lightly-traveled path from the top of the ruins down the hill. this took us through a tiny squeeze of a rock tunnel through the side of the cliff, which spit us out on the other side of the peak. At the opening of the tunnel, there were several traditionally dressed Peruvians with flutes. They sounded worse than my sister when she was first learning recorder, which I had previously thought was impossible. A big industry here is the ´person carrying around a baby llama and wearing a woven poncho to charge tourists 1 Sol.´ Alix is still waiting for the exact one that she wants to take a picture of.

We´re off to meet back up with John and Anneka for dinner at a place called Victor Victoria. Apparently it has absolutely amazing local and traditional bacon cheeseburgers. Photos are coming soon, we promise.

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