This town’s like a small European town, but with mind-blowing ancient stone walls everywhere. So very sad that we know so little about a once magnificent and powerful people. Just to think about how they built such massive walls with no steel- just other rock hammers inginuity and a lot of time… and they had no slaves. All was done according to the tax system of labor exchange and the power of religious fanaticism. If I could travel back in time, I’d go to Cusco before the bloddy Spanish came and ruined everything. At least the language survived…
We’re stranded, though, due to yet another huelga (stike). Roads are closed, people are pissed, tourists are scared, and the town is filled with riot police… another day in South America, I guess. But the tourist leeches are out in force innundating our already slightly uncomfortable ambiance with, “hola amigo, massage? postcard? art? finger puppet? strange box thing? earings? good food? internet? shoe shine? hat? water? water holder? cigarretes? gum? some other useless craft?” Uhh… “no, gracias.” Please for the love of Christ almighty, leave me alone damnit!! I was thinking about getting a big sign or sticker that says, “No. Gracias.” and sticking it to my forehead. I’ve never wished to have dark skin so badly before.
But they got to eat too I suppose. I think the strike today is about the exceedingly low minimum wage in this country. It seems the only work that doesn’t suck around here is sucking the tourists dry. So you can’t help feeling sorry for these people… the only reason to by another useless piece of art here is to spread some of the wealth around some. However after dropping a ridiculous sum of money on a 5 day trek to Machu Picchu I’m feeling a bit poor myself.
On Saturday we start walking with 8 other extranjeros, a guide, a cook, and a couple porters through the mountains of the Andes. The Inca trail is booked months in advance, so we’re going an alterate route. It sounds pretty sweet, hard and painful, undoubtedly, but sweet. And the trip is rounded out with some 6 hours on Machu Picchu. Hopefully I’ll be over this cold by then. I got the dreaded cold… what a pain in the ass. I haven’t been able to party since we got here because of it. Lame.
Anyhow, Cusco is an awesome town. Aside from the tremendous surplus of tourists and tourist related business, I would recommend everyone to check this place out. And if you’ve got $$, even better. They’ve got plenty of 1st rate accomodations and services for those who like to travel in style. Just be prepared to feel like a giant tourist, with a big fat tourist arrow over your head saying, “bother me, I have money!!”