01 October 2007

I am actually going to do something interesting tomorrow

I take it as my duty, now, to be as active as I can on my trip, because it seems that people really are actually reading this thing. I stuck around in Cuzco today, because yesterday I met the owner of a funky little cafe, all the profits of which fund a free school for local children. He invited me to visit the school, which I did this afternoon. And I think he's doing a marvelous job. He had this dream of helping local children years ago but didn't want to be merely idealistic about it, so he studied business, marketing, and tourism, and now runs a pretty tight, pretty successful ship. He's my age, too, and definitely has his act more together. Everything is as it should be, of course: local, organic, sustainable, grassroots, nurturing, loving, etc. I wish I'd known about it sooner as I might have volunteered there instead of Bolivia, though as it turns out, Yuri doesn't need any more volunteers, he has so many. So much for my M.A. being a selling point; I can't even teach for free! Cute kids, very active, though some of them clearly suffer from neglect (the ones with attention problems) while others just as clearly benefit from a stimulating learning environment at their regular school.

On my way back to my hotel, I heard a bunch of firecrackers go off in a churchyard. I thought they might be celebrating the recent feast day of St. Jerome. As a studious ascetic hermit, I doubt he would have approved. I was also thinking how remarkable it is that I'm not afraid of these random loud noises in developing nations any more.. and just as I thought that, a bunch of rockets went off ten feet away and scared the sh*t out of me. Then I made myself dinner. Produce is so cheap here. Avocados might as well be free, and I think they were around $6 each in Japan.


Tomorrow morning, I will finally begin my anticlimactic climactic journey to Machu Picchu. To avoid paying $70+ for the train, I have to take a bus for 7 hours, followed by a collectivo for 3 hours, sleep in a tiny nothing little town, then, I don't know, walk for 2 hours along some train tracks the following day to Aguas Calientes. Then, wake up the following following day at 5 am so I can run up the mountain to avoid paying $12 for the bus (and because I am an Iron Man). Most of this happens on the famous cliff-hugging, narrow, dangerous dirt roads. Then, I'll do it again on the way back, or, to really tempt fate, walk 30 km or so along the train tracks back toward Cuzco.

A Dutch guy with dreadlocks working at the Hemp Cafe mentioned a "lost city" recently discovered in the jungle near where I'm going. Unknown. Unvisited. Completely overgrown. Tempting.

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