Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another Day in Paradise - Part one

It was a weird feeling to be on the other side of a wall climbing up to see one of the most photographed ancient ruins in modern history. Everyone knows what Machu Picchu looks like. They have seen it a thousand times in travel magazines, postcards, etc. In South America, it is ``the´´ tourist destination. After our hard hike early in the morning, I knew that within a matter of minutes, the numerous buses driving up the road would unload their stock and the window to shoot Machu Picchu without the hoards of tourists in my shot would close rapidly.

So as I am hiking up I am thinking about all the pictures I have ever seen of the ruins. I knew that I needed to get up as high as possible. I had many things going against me. I was dehydrated, muddy, running on no sleep and massie muscle fatigue from the numerous days of hiking with a 30 kilo pack. The never ending steep, Inca steps were growing ever tougher as I kept racing the rising sun, hoping to get to my spot (where ever that may be) just as it popped over the distant mountain peaks. Little did I realize that my goal of first light was abolished from the fact that the Incan ruins are in what the locals call a cloud forest. The sun didn´t peek through the clouds until about 10 am. A for effort I suppose.

When you finally get over the hump of Incan terraces your view opens up to the mystic view that you have known since you were a little kid flipping through magazines. Machu Picchu. There you are.

Eric and I took some photos, grinned at our successful cheap conquest and then promptly laid down on the sacred rock for an hour nap. We were beat up. As we came to, we heard the sounds of Japanese tourists taking pictures of us while we were passed out. Maybe they were just astounded by Eric´s bear-like snoaring.

We came to and then the thirst set in. We didn´t exactly plan out the water ratio the night before. We each had a small bottle of water which was finished just as we arrived to the top. Out of money for more, we sneeked some into our bottles from one of the many aquaducts that flowed throughout the ruins. To our relief we didn´t get sick from it.

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