Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I know a valley, a sacred valley

There must have been about 20 people on the bus with Lilliana, our annoying guide, for a trip around the sites of the Sacred Valley. After a quick stop at a tourist trip market, our first (real) stop was Pisaq (pronounced Pisa), which had some interesting ruins, and an excellent example of terrace gardening. The view from the top was spectacular, with a sighting of some snow on the Andes.

Then it was lunch at another tourist trip place (but conveniently, it was the only place around so where else could we go??) and onto Ollantaytambo (pronounced Oy-an-ty-tambo), which was pretty cool. As my little map says "a beautiful town that preserves vividly Incan urban planning of houses, streets and waterways, safeguarded by a breathtaking fortress with temples, hillside farming terraces and walls."

While I had originally wanted to take the train from Cusco straight to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu) I'm really glad I got the bus tour included. It was a great way to see the stunning Peruvian countryside, and good to get out and stretch the legs. I left the group in Ollantaytambo to get the train to Aguas Calientes, but had quite a few hours to kill. I hung out with three kids - Fernando who was 9 and his 11 year old twin sisters, Clara and Maria. They were playing elastics in between flogging their wares to passengers heading to and from the train. They were playing slightly differently to the way I had as a kid (their way was easier), and they were absolutely delighted when I showed them my way - which they quickly swapped to.

Clara had an Australian 20 cent piece and asked me how much it was worth in soles. I did a rough calculation and asked if I'd swap. I said she should keep it, and instead gave them all some biscuits, which they were pretty happy about.

The train ride reinforced how good the bus had been - we were crammed in like cattle! But we all made it in one piece, and I was delighted when I arrived at my hostel to find I had my own room. Anyone who's jumped from hostel to hostel will understand how wonderful that is! And the shower...water pressure!!! I fell straight asleep, excited about the day ahead.

And the inspiration for the title - well, being stuck on kid's TV I remembered the following - again no volume on this computer, so hopefully this works!!


  1. Re: changing the locals way of playing elastics...does that count as cultural imperialism???

  2. tehehe, world domination, one child at a time...