Day Forty-Eight

So last night, we attempted and then failed to meet up with our friends in one of the crowded plazas, so Brooke, Laura, and I went to this place called Chicken Los Toldos (I think), recommended by Lonely Planet. For about 15 soles each (or 6 American dollars) we got soup, a salad, and shared a plate of fries and lemonade. At some point we’re hoping to try their chicken, their specialty, but last night was so darn cold that soup felt like the perfect meal. The weather is so extreme here; it’s sunny and gorgeous during the day, but then it drops to unthinkably low temperatures at night! We booked it on the way back to our hotel just to keep warm, and I bundled up in my hiking long johns, my thin and warm sheet-like cocoon, and my new pair of alpaca socks, plus the thick comforter on my top bunk. Although the bar area of our hostel was thumping until the wee hours of the morning, with my ear plugs and altitude exhaustion I slept right through it.
We slept in this morning which was nice, but when we got to the bar/cafeteria for breakfast, we were unpleasantly surprised to find that the “included” breakfast consisted of coffee, tea, and bread…not quite what we were hoping for. Instead, for 10 soles, I got this massive sandwich with egg, chicken, ham, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, which was ridiculously filling and even now I still don’t have an appetite.
After breakfast, we walked around the still bustling, celebratory town, down this one cobblestone street packed on both sides with food stands. The main attraction? Cuy. Guinea pig. Served in full form with head, limbs, and teeth still attached. Stacked on top of one another next to full-bodied chickens. Ugh, not a pleasant site first thing in the morning. But I feel like, even after having two guinea pigs as pets, when in Peru, it makes sense to try it. So we’ll see.
We tried switching our flight from Cusco to Lima from next Tuesday till next Thursday, but it would’ve cost us each around $150 because tons of people are flying back to Lima next week after the festivals. So that was kind of a bummer; we’re definitely feeling Cusco as a city more than we did Lima…but with the two and a half days we’ll have there, we’re definitely determined to make the most of it, even though we’d rather stay in Cusco longer.
We encountered another sort of setback by discovering that in order to visit ANY site in Cusco, you have to buy the tourist ticket, which is about $25, and that doesn’t include the cost of each individual tour. So if we were to go on a three hour city tour tomorrow, it would cost us some $30-35, and at this point, we’re trying to conserve our monetary resources after spending more than we realized after 6 weeks in Ecuador. So I think we’re all feeling a little down, but either way, I’ve loved the two days we’ve spent here AND on Friday, we’ll begin one of the greatest adventures on the planet, ending at the most famous site in Peru: Machu Picchu. And sure, it is a bummer that we can’t see more sites, but after such an incredibly rewarding trip, ending at Machu Picchu will make everything worth it. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had here in South America, and if nothing else, I know I’ll be back. Cusco and its sites will be here when I get back. For now, I have the rest of this amazing city to explore, and a four day trek ending at Machu Picchu starting Friday: I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

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