Thursday, November 29, 2012

Return from Machu Pichu

Staying in Aquas Calientes overnight after having visited Machu Picchu and before heading back to Calca was just fine - especially because I had a junior suite at the hotel I stayed at, with fridge and tea and a jacuzzi which I did enjoy quite tremendously. And no, the below photo is not said jacuzzi - but the Urubamba river as it wound its way along the train track on the way back to Ollantaytambo.
As densely as the train had been stuffed with visitors for Machu Picchu the morning before when I went up to MP as spacious and open was my seat situation on the morning of my return. I had been put in an isle seat, going backwards but..... as we rolled out of the station there was no one occupying the other three seats around my little table and so... I moved to my preferred seat, allowing me a view into the driving direction and as much space on the table and the seat next to me as I pleased for my ever spreading belongings.
I was in 'executive class' this time and it was most enjoyable, even got snacks with my tea this time which I happily crunched and chewed as we rolled along.

I am pleased that.... I was not one of these hikers. Some people do five or seven day hikes up to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo - good for them..... I spotted this group - that is, a little before the photo was taken I saw loaded pack horses and then.... these people - large back packs, which they do have local carriers to manage. There are rules now about how much an accompanying local strong person is allowed to carry. Once upon a time there was only legs to be seen, legs that moved great big bulgy pieces of camping equipment. Let it be known though, that I would still not be able to carry the down sized version of what is allowed. The Andean people are just amazingly strong, dedicated and resilient.
And even earlier on in the trip than the previous two photos was this one above of a bridge, pretty precarious crossing in my eyes, if this was the way they were planning to go. I was still feeling grateful for my window seat.

Towards the end of the 90 mins trip we did a stop at a small local station for a few minutes. These two little guys were sitting on a knoll, together and apart at the same time. I couldn't hear the dog, and really I couldn't hear the boy either, but his mouth was moving and it looked like he was singing a song to himself. This is a sneak photo taken with the closeup lens through the window of the opposite side of the isle in the train. I have been looking at his bicycle wheel toy and wondering .... how does he use it.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Creatures of Machu Pichu

Good morning Senora Pia, welcome to our humble abode.
Those might well have been the words of these little beautiful, calm and very observant little sunbathers. They greeted me as I walked closer and closer to the top of the path where I could finally see the structure and walls of Machu Picchu. They were about 25-30cm long and this second one was quite surely in the process of finding his 'summer coat', his tail looking kind of scraggly and the rest of him smooth, dark and fresh in colour.
Then there was this little fur-ball. Sitting quietly unnoticed by the crowds just above head height by the entrance to the Temple of the Condor. Pleasing me immensely since we had seen many signs of him and his family, nutritious little dropings left everywhere to replenish mother earth and here he was, also taking advantage of the solar energy one can obtain by breathing deeply and slowly for a little while in the rays of this life giver before seeking the relief of cooler, shadier places during the midday and the early afternoon hours.
He/she is a Viscacha - a chinchilla cousin, one of the creatures belonging to the Apus, the great mountains - who keeps his foxes, vischachas, condors etc like we keep sheep and chickens.
A small and cute, fast-moving and shy little creature whom I was pleased to encounter. I met another one of his kin when I walked to CanchaCancha, a high altitude community at another point during my stay in Peru - his kin was at a full run, also showing a great tail but not inclined to stop for a chat.

Then of course there were the Llamas, and there were a few around here, walking freely on the grounds, no doubt keeping the ground vegetation manageably short and also fertilizing and adding good growing matter to the dry mountain soil.

Finally there were the little blue white swallows - And I apologize for the unfocus of this photo - although the quality is not really as it should be this is the best photo I can come up with. These winged beings were an integral part of my Machu Picchu experience....... they were everywhere, swooping, whistling, moving swiftly around people's heads, not to mention the people's feet when the feeding possibilities of yummy little buggies seemed to be available closer to the ground. Mind you, the swallows didn't land to feed, they just did their diving thing, corrected the flying angle before colliding with the short grass and finding a new angle to fly upwards towards another protein rich and delicious tid bit.
I was glad to see that although MP was full of people there were still plenty of other creatures holding the fort when the quiet of evening and darkness falls.

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