I fly out of here tomorrow so this will be my last post from South America… for the time being ;-) I’m feeling a bit crap today, haven’t had a lot of sleep this week for various reasons…. so I think I had better go and buy an alarm clock for tomorrow morning as I have a feeling I may sleep in if I’m not careful. My bike is all packed now got hold of a suitable cardboard box from the nice folk at Gravity Peru… the young lad working at my hostel enjoyed cutting all the spokes in my rear wheel… no point in bringing that cracked rim home, the rear hub is just acting as an anti-crush spacer in the rear triange now. Oddly looking forward to heading home .. I love life on the road but I’m also lucky that I have a life at home that I enjoy very much… summer in Cornwall.. on the beach, in my kayak and on my bike… there is of course the shadow of having to work.. probably… there is still a question mark over that so indeed I may be back out here sooner rather than later ;-)
Anyway, back to the here and now.. Cuzco is a very different place to when I first passed through here 12 years ago… back then it had a few tourists but there was just one gringo bar and a couple of pizzerias.. and it was dirt cheap These days it’s the gringo capital of S America full of folk on tour groups outfitted in his n’ hers North Face outfits likely to see nothing more precipitous than a flight of stairs and 16 year old Brits just out of private school, behaving badly and funded by mummy & daddy…. mixed feelings about it.. on the one hand it’s very easy to go out, find company, eat good food and drink far too much but the downside is I’ve not really settled down and tuned in. I don’t feel like I really tuned in with my camera.. I’ve just not been inspired.. gringos everywhere and precious little ‘genuinely interesting stuff’ going on.. plus the locals are fed up of folk with cameras.. unless of course you want to pay a bunch of soles to have someone pose in traditional dress with a llama in tow… I know they’re only trying to make a living which is fair enough but from my point of view the results would not be a natural or genuine photo.. just a souvenir…. Still, I have a huge archive of stuff I find interesting from the last 4 months or so :-)
Going back to that fake 50 Sol note too… I was thinking about that, money even in it’s legitimate form is a wholly abstract concept that just enables the exchange of goods and services… a fake note can achieve exactly the same thing… once the initial fraudulent transaction has taken place (which is wrong for sure) and the note has entered circulation in theory there is no reason it can’t represent the same abstraction as a genuine note.. unless of course the holder wants to go to the bank and exchange it for real value.. i.e a lump of gold for ex… in the normal day to day a fake note works just as well in representing value as a real one… so on that basis I think I may have just about convinced myself that it’s OK to spend it rather than hand it to the local coppers… heck it’ll just do the rounds of gringos pockets ’till it falls to pieces.. hmm ;-)
That also leads on nicely to the concept of karma and paying on favours… the other night we (as in myself and a friend) found ourselves talking to a rather large American girl ironically tucking into the biggest burger you ever saw… a pleasant and interesting evening of conversation ensued… and she paid for a our drinks which was an unexpected bonus. She was flying home the next day so had Soles to spare… and same evening having left that bar we went to buy a bottle of rum.. usual story the shop had no change and we short a Sol or two in change.. so rescued by another gringo girl with the gift of enough Soles to cover our alcoholic purchase… bonus. I firmly believe what comes around goes around and all that, next day I gave my crash helmet, an old but good condition Specialized S1 to a local cyclist.. figured I could probably have sold it for a few $ but as Russ pointed out it was a perfect way to pay on the favours from the night before… although I did sell my fuel bottle to the same guy for 20 soles (about £4.50)… it still had gasoline in it from Bolivia so rather than try and dispose of it (bad for the environment) and faff about washing the bottle out so I could take it on the plane it’s staying here for a lifetime of use in the Andes. My windstopper gloves are also doing duty somewhere on the Inca Trail at the moment too… one day they’ll get posted back to me I hope :-)
OK, enough of the ramblings… I will get another coffee and then upload a bunch of pics below that I hope give some feel for the place…..
p.s I suppose traditionally at this point I should get all deep and self analytical about the journey and what it meant to me… hahaha, no chance, it was a fab adventure, one of many already and many more to come. I loved it, Argentina was a surprise, I had no idea what to expect and I found it to be a wonderful country, interesting and full of lovely people…. Bolivia was suitably wild and woolly and Peru .. well Peru will always be magic, been here before suspect will be here again. North of here Ecuador and Colombia are terrific too… Colombia in particular. So there you go, that’s as deep as I’m going to get :-)
p.p.s thank you too to everyone who donated to Shelterbox, we are very grateful… and to everyone who promised but didn’t yet, tut tut… there’s still time .. big blue button up there etc etc ;-)
so, thanks for reading.. next week it’ll be back to the usual kayaking and cycling fodder I imagine… but just to finish a few more random snaps simply because I have them……