24 September 2007

Cuzco cuz I can

So Kane and I went up to Moray (Kane!). The transportation here is ridiculously efficient. You just show up to the collectivo station, and there's a taxi waiting to take you wherever you want to go. In our case, the highway turnoff for the village of Maras. 3 km from there to the village, also by taxi, and 10 km more on a dirt road to the ruins. I can't remember how much it cost, because it was pretty close to nothing. The last taxi driver had a sticker on his window that said "Mad Max." A sign?

Moray was pretty cool to look at--a series of concentric terraces each of which has a distinct micro climate. Archaeologists and suchlike people theorize that the Incas used it as some kind of agricultural laboratory. Kane and I, however, saw that it was clearly used in a special fertility ceremony in which thousands of naked virgins would stand in the rings waiting for their turn to have ritual intercourse with the high priest at the center, whose duty it was to copulate with all of them within 48 hours to insure a good harvest. Afterwards, they would dance around a huge bonfire, because who wouldn't?

The shaman's assistant told me that under no circumstances can I drink Ayahuasca or San Pedro cactus while taking medication. I will have to wait until my next visit to Peru for a transcendent, hallucinatory experience of wisdom. Everyone else at the hotel seems to be doing it, too, so naturally I want to do it so I at least have something to talk to them about.

By the way, there are lots of New Age people and hippies in Cuzco. And tourist shops. And I just saw a veggie burger that costs $5, basically the same price as my entire day of touring around. The internet centers here (locutorios) are the most advanced I've seen in Peru, except there's a woman breast-feeding her baby at a nearby terminal.

Don't you think getting a good price is a religious experience all its own? After hard deliberating about whether or not I should go to Choquequirau, I came up with a rationalization that I liked and decided to do it. On my way out the door, I casually asked the hotel-keeper if the price I was quoted was a good one. He said "No" and sent me to another agency that happens to be owned by the hotel's South African owner-shaman (had dinner at her restaurant recently, too). They gave me a price $70 lower than the other place, more is included, plus discount for staying at the hotel and possible further discounts if I can persuade others to join (in process).

I just noticed that long-term traveling occurs in chapters. You go to a place or travel with certain people for a short period of time, then you go somewhere else and meet new people, and a new chapter begins. The whole experience has the feeling and flow of a narrative.

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