Cusco

23 Dec

The second we stepped off the plane in Cusco, it was hard to catch our breath. Cusco is at an elevation of 11,150 feet and that altitude sickness shit is for real. Within the hour, once we arrived at our hotel, I was extremely nauseous and puking. Both Emilio and I couldn’t walk anywhere without getting winded. I was dizzy and lightheaded. Not pleasant.

But Cusco’s tourist area itself is cute. It is much smaller than Miraflores/Lima. I was fooled into thinking it was all cute until we drove out of the main area – the rest of Cusco is stricken with dire poverty. What really hurt my heart is the insane number of homeless dogs walking around. Dogs always get to me.

I think I was so ill- feeling that I forgot to take pictures of the town. But we go back Christmas Eve night, so I will try to take some then.

Anyway, the day was a bit hectic. We had to go to Llamas Path, our tour guide company, and finish paying off for our Macchu Pichu trip. Note – getting a guided tour for this is not cheap. We got one that was all inclusive (a train, a hotel, and our own personalized your with an English speaking guide, etc) and it was expensive. We saw others for cheaper once we were in Cusco, but we bought this online back in August. Emilio has already been taking notes about how we will do it cheaper next time – it really just requires some planning since the company is mainly just doing that for you.

Then, our flight back to Lima (where we continue to Buenos Aires) on Christmas Day got canceled so we had to run around and fix that. Mind you, I just said run – but that actually meant walking around town very slowly so that my heart wouldn’t beat out of my chest and I could keep breathing. The altitude is intense!!!

We only had one meal this day (maybe to make up for all that eating the previous day? Maybe because I was already eh feeling?) Emilio had Lomo Saltado – which is an example of the Asian (not sure if it’s the Japanese or Chinese influence) mixed with the Peruvian flavor. It’s basically a stir fry served with fries and rice. It is normally served with beef, but Emilio got alpaca.

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Alpacas look like this:

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Alpaca is traditional to eat in this region. It was pretty gamy and tough. Also, after looking at pictures of alpacas right now, I probably won’t try it again.

I ordered the meal that every other person in the restaurant ate (and is very popular in many places we went to) – a quarter rotisserie chicken and fries.

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It was pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Except I felt like an ass because I could barely eat half of it (with Emilio’s help) and everyone around me picked theirs clean.

My only issue? I went home and got sick. Needless to say, our (mine, particularly) day in Cusco was a bit rough.

Never mind that though – now to the journey toward Macchu Pichu!

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