Sacsayhuaman

Got owned by the sun. And all the tourist traps!
Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying myself here, and the view is gorgeous.
Just- do i have to pay so much to look at a lump of rock?

70 soles ($25) apiece to get into what is basically a wasteland with many unmanned entrances. this is at no cost to them!

Many helpful peruvians and fellow travellers have given us advice as to the upper spending limit for a cab, or a meal, or some souvenir. And this upper spending limit that apparently everyone else is charged does not apply to us. I think we look like we have very cheatable (blur) faces, that makes every single retailer/taxi driver jack up the price of their service/product drastically. And us being us, are remarkably bad at bargaining. We feel bad bargaining to lower the price of a product that is already pretty cheap compared to US or Singapore standards. We also feel embarrassed, because it’s not like we can’t pay. We are only bargaining because we know that we are being had and want to reserve some little scrap of dignity instead of being branded as spendthrift, colonialist, easily-conned tourists. Anyhow we bought a rainmaker today. I already have a pretty good (long) indonesian one at home that rains for a good 10 secs with each flip, but this one had peruvian drawings on it. Tried to bargain the price down from S/25 by using the classic (but true!) “son estudiantes..” in my pidgin spanish-italian hybrid and the shopkeeper looked at the DSLR around liangze’s neck doubtfully and gave us a tiny discount. A little progress is still progress! I need to find my roots as a hard-hearted, undefeated-at-bargaining chinese woman. Certainly makes me wonder why the rest of the crap they teach us in school is so inadequate at helping us to handle real-life situations. Nobody here cares if I can construct the reals or integrate along a closed loop in the complex plane.

The only constant is: 5 fresh quail eggs for 1 sole. These vendors have carts with caged quails at the bottom and boiled quail eggs in a basket on top, to prove the freshness of the eggs. They skewer five of them with a tooth pick into a little plastic bag and salt them. Very simple but very yummy.

We got a cab up to Sacsayhuaman (where the Cristo Bianco that overlooks the city is) and got stopped at this ramshackle little hut whose only purpose was to stop tourists and extort 70 soles from each of them before they can pass on to look at ruins left behind by their ancestors. Note to anyone who goes to Cusco: do not enter by the main road, you can get dropped at the Cristo Bianco (without buying any tickets!) and then hike down to the fort. There are plenty of Peruvians picnicking there and given how poor they generally are I highly doubt each of them forks out S/70 for every member of their family just to have a picnic up there.

Then it was an hour+ trek to Templo de la Luna, which is in the middle of the Andes. The journey there was filled with horses, and caves, and ruins, and little tributaries, and llamas. Beautiful view, but we left before sundown so we could find our way back (on foot). Tons of taxis who passed by kept honking at us to offer a ride, which was both anxiety-inducing and annoying. I mean, the only people who honk at you in Ithaca are policemen, when you’ve done something wrong. What gives these taxi drivers the nerve to presume upon their utility and in-demand-ness?

Got completely burnt cause I was in short sleeves and didn’t notice and had to run around today looking for various salves for pre and post sunburn. The two tubes we got were only 20 soles which makes them highly suspect and probably filled with milk.

Bus to Puno tonight, where we’ll loiter around Lake Titicaca for a day and hopefully enjoy a lower altitude where it’s actually possible to breathe without an oxygen tank!

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