One Night in Cusco

October 5, 2008 - 11:20 am No Comments

The guide books spell it Cuzco, yet every store sign in town spells it Cusco. Yet the general who gave the town its name was spelled Cuzco. Can we have a meeting about this?

Josh and I had an unspectacular dinner last night. As good as it’s been, I’m getting a little tired of Peruvian food, especially yellow potatoes and rice, which seems to be served with every meal. I’m starting to crave the American stand-bys of cheeseburgers, Boston Market, and fresh salad that you don’t have to stress about eating. Josh has had two hamburgers already, but I am trying to hold out.

My night on the town was interesting. Walked around Plaza del Armes, the touristy center of Cusco featuring a cathedral and lots of bars/restaurants. Beggars filled the spaces between bars. Instead of selling blankets and hats, locals sold trays of cigarettes, gum, and chocolate. Guys walked around handing out flyers for their clubs (one promised me some cocaine), and bouncers hung out of each doorway and waved in any gringos who happened to walk by. One of them pointed to the cute hostess by the door, putting a hand on her shoulder and using the fingers on his other hand to create a “V” around his mouth, the universal symbol for cunnilingus. He asked me if I liked her. I did, but not that much.

I ended up going into about eight clubs, sitting down in one of them and getting two rum and coke’s for 10 soles, or about US$1.80 each. Considering that the elevation makes the effects of alcohol that much stronger, it’s a helluva deal.

I was amazed to find that 99% of the people in the clubs were locals. Hardly any tourists. Where do the tourists go? After not finding them in Lima, I figured that Cusco was going to be the main tourist hub of Peru. But I was wrong. Although the bouncers wanted me to come in, the locals inside didn’t seem particularly interested in interacting with me. The only place filled with mostly white people was McDonald’s.

Now, I’m on the Peru Rail train to Machu Picchu. We’re on the “Backpacker” train, the less expensive option, and it’s not that bad. I obviously have enough room and feel secure enough about using my laptop. On the way back, we take the classier “Vistadome” train.

Train to Aguas Calientes

Just went through a series of slow switchbacks to get out to Cusco, giving us a bird’s eye view of town and a panorama of the burnt orange Spanish tile roofs covering all the houses. There is garbage everywhere. On streets and in backyards, I see more stray dogs than people.

Trash Everywhere

Orange Roofs of Cusco

There is a young girl sitting next to me. Facing me, there are two more seats filled with a man and young boy. Together, they seem to be part of a much larger group. They look Indian but sound like they’re speaking Russian. Where could they be from? One thing is for sure: they are EXPERTS at being annoying. The girl next to me is tapping my chair. The boy in front of me keeps kicking me. The man sitting next to the boy speaks very loudly and suddenly to no one in particular. A little while ago, he got out of his seat by REACHING ACROSS AND GRABBING THE SCREEN OF MY LAPTOP TO PULL HIMSELF UP WITH IT. This maneuver was so outrageous that by the time I had crafted the appropriate response, he was already gone.

The Kid on the Train

Josh and I couldn’t get seats together. He is a few rows back, talking to a couple of Brazilians. He continues to talk to everyone.

I just made friends with the boy in front of me by sticking my tongue out at him.

Selling Flowers by the Train

On the Train to Machu Picchu

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