The Handoff When our tour of Cusco ended at around 5, Raul, my tour guide introduced me to another Condor Travel rep, Eduardo. “He’ll escort you back to your hotel.” Good, because all these winding streets have left me with no idea where my hostel even is. I asked Eduardo, “Do you know where my hotel is?” He affirmed, “Of course” and turned and asked Raul in Spanish, “Where’s her hotel again?” Raul clarified where my hostel’s located and I asked Eduardo again, “Are you sure you know exactly where it is?”
An Inconvenient Hostel For the first of my two nights in Cusco, I’d decided on Christo Blanco, an out-of-the-way place with a view of the city. For my second night (after MP) I’ll be staying at Ecopackers, a large, lively hostel in the middle of Cusco. Both places for around $15, but vibe and location-wise, opposite ends of the spectrum.
Famous Last Words Eduardo insisted, “I’m from here. I know the whole town.” Yeah. Fast-forward two hours and he wasn’t so confident anymore.
And so we walked. …and walked and walked. Uuuup the steep steps and cobblestone streets of Cusco, my first day at 11,000 feet. I really hoped he wasn’t cursing me with sore legs for Machu Picchu tomorrow.
G’bye Sun. When we first set out, the sun was up. Eventually, it set and Eduardo finally called Condor Travel to find out (again!) where my elusive hostel might be. I’m not exaggerating when I say he was on the phone a good half hour. I snuck this picture of him while he talked. (Does he look like someone who knows what the heck he’s doing?!)
Cab it already! He hung up and we walked some more. Finally, on my suggestion (maybe insistence), we got a taxi. It wove us dooown the same streets we’d just walked up. (Curses!) We finally made it back to Christo Blanco, headache pounding. Here are some more photos I took as we marched around like idiots:
I could tell that Eduardo felt really bad – probably embarrassed – so I tried to keep my comments down to a minimum. I also realize that I was to blame for choosing such an out-of-the-way hostel. Christo Blanco is pretty high up one of the hills that surround Cusco.
The fastest way (I know of) to warm yourself. I wish I’d brought a ski hat. As soon as I got to my still-58° room, I knew I was too cold to go to bed. I’ve got one surefire way to warm up in 2 minutes flat without jumping around: 2 minute plank. If that doesn’t warm you up in a minute or two then I dunno – lift a leg up or something.
Tomorrow: 5:30am departure for Machu Picchu.
Enjoyed that description of Eduardo. Sums up Peru pretty well too as these “tour guides” need the work and payment but cannot / will not admit to not knowing something. I asked a taxi driver in Lima one time to collect me at 4am the following morning as I needed to be at the airport at 5am. Of course he didn’t show and I had to get another taxista who, believe it or not, got lost on the way to the airport.
Anyway, I got off the train in Cuzco after visiting Machu Picchu some years ago and proceeded to walk up the hill from the station to the house of a friend of mine. I was robbed by two poor-looking men (trousers in rags and shoeless and holding makeshift knives) who stole my Olympus OM2 camera and about $13. I would have fought them off but I felt they needed the camera more than I did …. you know how it is!
But I loved Peru and its people and still do.