Thursday, May 1, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

...And then the crowds came.

Jesus Christo. We had the ruins to our selves with about a hundred other backpackers (which doesn´t seem like much in such a big place) when eleven o´clock rolled around and the gringos came in like a wave of lemmings. Women walking up in designer heels and people armed with their point and shoot cameras and wearing their safari vests that they purchased in town with the dorky hats saying ¨I survived Machu Picchu¨. Here Eric and I were surrounded by these people soaked in sweat and exhausted from hiking with all our gear and these Disneyland goers huffed up 30 meters of stairs after a air conditioned bus ride to complain about the hike up. It was like being at Yellowstone National Park, where 10 mile long traffic jams hold up the crowds so a few can take a picture of a deer, except here it was everyone in one spot with tour guides shouting over each other to tell the biggest stories about what they thought the history of the place was.

To note: It is a lost city of the Incan Empire. An empire that was wiped out by the Spanish and very little, if any, actual recorded history known. One of the main reasons the site is still in existance is that the Spanish never knew about it. Machu Picchu was never mentioned in that history. It was simply abandoned. So everything the guides where feeding to the crowds was strictly based on speculation or personal theory.

It was hard to know what to think. It was almost like it was taking something away from those of us that busted are asses to the top. The ones that earned it. It seemed to dull the beauty (almost) of the place. To know that it had turned into a over populated theme park where any paying fool could drive up to it. It came as a bit of a shock.

I suppose it is a result of the immense media attention given to it and the capitalization of the private company that owns the great Incan ruins. Building a road to the top, putting in restaurants and charging an arm an a leg to see them all the while paying their employees crumbs and barely investing any money in restoring the decaying structures. The extra traffic is definitely making an impact on the site. Local scientist are saying that the ruins are sinking 1 cm a month.

It was incredible to see the ruins but I wasn´t expecting the numbers. As Eric and I hiked down, saturated in humidity, we came across a waterfall and each dunked ourselves under the cool water. Having a little fun, Eric gave a bus load of tourist a special treat to close out their experience of Machu Picchu. Satisfied, we made our way down to Aguas Calentes for a well deserved drink.


  1. Pretty cute from this side.. Oh, my! as Grandma would say. :) I bet the water felt good. Love ya still...

  2. Greener!
    So i do everything on my blackberry, which unfortunately doesn’t let me see everything. but i took today off and for some reason your page came up and wow...these pictures are amazing. I had no idea what you were doing but good for you. I did that after i graduated, i lived in OZ for 6 months and i have been back packing around Europe twice, leaving in 2 weeks for my third trip..i absolutely love it! but your trip looks amazing, I think it just breathtaking what God has blessed us with! but take care and enjoy! Ill be looking forward to some new photos!

  3. hahaha, indeed a nice photo. That´s covermaterial. As you know we did the Incatrail a couple of days after you and it was breathtaking, figurally by beauty, literally by altitude. I recognise the spot you are standing. We also tried to close our eyes on the sacred rock in the hope for some financial blessing from back home, but no luck. Actually our camera got stolen the same day, so we probably did something wrong, haha. We enjoy reading your (our) stories. We´ll be in touch.

    greetz Arjan en Sanne