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Inka Jungle Trail (but not quite all of it)

PERU | Saturday, 11 October 2008 | Views [2291]

So the alarm went off before I wanted it too and I lugged myseof out of my bed to make my way down to the treking agency. Its always kind of intersting seeing who else will be on the trip but even more so when you´re first in the van!

The crew for the 4 days would be 2 German and Aussie girls, 2 English blokes and a couple from Atlanta, Georgia (of course assuming that everyone knows Georgia is a US state rather than a former USSR one with issues. They did anyway).

The plan was to spend 1 day mountain biking, and then 3 days trakking across towards Machu Picchu, which I would skip so that Claire and I can do it together when we get back from Manu. The guide seemed nice enough and we all got thrown a plastic bag with stuff in it. "Lunch" said the guide, "Not breakfast!". We had all been told that the journey to where we could start biking was about 3 and a hlaf hours. Then we found out it would be 5. Ah well.

Pleasant chitter chatter and seriously windy mountain roads, bringing us up to over 4000m charchterised the journey. All boding well so far.

Around midday we finally stopped to eat and prepare for the biking. Bikes seemed ok, American made, have to admit I was a bit miffed to be the only person without disc brakes and a high end chainset but het. Its only 45km and 3km descent. What could go wrong?

The first 5 km was on smooth paved road, all good if a little too tamer for my liking. Also there wasnt much in the way of guide. Sort of ... see you at the bottom. The advised poncho is probably the most uyseless item of biking clothing that has ever been dreamed up. just gets in the way and as one of the girls put it .. a bit like wearing a dress. However, its all good, we had a fab valley below us ... actually below me as we all seemed to split up evry soon after beginning - 2 english guys in front, not sure of the order behind. Plus my helmet fit!

Soon enough th road became unsealed and it became a lot more like  çi was expecting ... fun offroad - all the potholes and troughs (and mercifully downhill almost all the way) with none of the trees in the way! The rain made it even more fun.

One niggly issue. My saddle seemed to be in a funny, but unchangable poistion without an allan key which I didnt have. It was, a little more imtimate with me than I would have preferred, shall we say. No matter, I had to say upright most of the way anyway!

After a time I caught up with the english guys and we deided to staop and wait, primarily because we didnt know if we had gotten there yet, having passed 2 towns already and none of us had been told of the town where we neeed to actually stop.

Guide didnt show so we carried on to the next town. He showed up eventually, in the car, bike on the roof. MMM. Apparantely the bik hadnt been set up properly. I chose this moment to point out my saddle and he duly produced the correct tool to remedy my now reaching painful situation. I also took the opportunity to rid myslf of the pointless poncho.

I really went mad on the last leg, it started to rain quite hard and the route got hairier. Excellent!!

Stopped in a bit of a 2 horse town called Santa Ana and headed up to the basic but nice hostel for a cold shower, a wash of the clothes and a beer. My group wasnt the most sociable, so i joined a spanish speaking bunch for beers ... lots of funa dn good to have a banter in Spanish with some Argentenians for the first time in a good while. Simple suppeor and off to bed, with a niggle in my stomach.

In bed the niggle turned into ... well a big niggle and at some ungodly hour the niggle required an exit. It wasnt taking no for an answer, and it wasnt pretty (sorry to anyone for whom that cuases a grimace, im just tellin it like it is!) No sleep, too busy trying to contain rapidly growing stomach niggle. Niggle continued into morning. Everythign passed through me within practically seconds. The thoughts of a 7 hour trek were not blowing up my skirt. I needed out or i needed some sort of immediate solution.

The latter not being physically possible I had to opt for the regrettable former. 20 soles local bus 6-7 hours, slow, full of chickens and goats. 40 soles combi (like a hiace that stops everywhere and has a resident dude shouting the whole way at people to get on or off) 5-6 hours. Priceless (actually 200 soles) 4 hours private taxi who will take you straight "home" and will bloody well stop if you need him to.

Little did I know that I had to go back the same way I had already come. 40km up incredibly potholed road and lots of twists of turns. Great! Better than trekking though ... deal with it Eoghan! Just as a bit of icing on the cake the drivers repetoire of tunes was limited to the 5 greatest hits of Cumbia (you know the typical trumpety S american type you might hear passing by a bar in Ibiza with neon lights outside).

After a breakfats stop (for the driver, not me) in Ollantaytambo, we made it back to Cusco, to the sanctuary that is Hostal Resbalosa. The owner was surprised to see me, not expectign me till sunday, this being friday. She asked me what was wrong, i told her, not able to think of an excuse and she rushed me up to the bedroom (same one we have had all along excpet fopr my hdorm based mistake), promsinsing some form of mate (tea). I wasnt pushed, just wanting to lie down and do nothing, but she knocked on my door with a concotion a few mintues later. I drank it and promtply fell asleep.

I awoke 4 hours later with a gentle know on the door - it was her again, with another concotion - what a sweet woman. I obliged and decided that I should walk around town and get something bland to eat, having now consumed the local immodium equivalent to prevent any major blushes.

Back for an early night and about 12 more hours sleep. I think as mum might say there was nothing wrong with me only "bLack of sleep". She would probably have been right.

Felt so much better this morning - I think early and decisinve action was exactly what I needed. As I write I would be in a hostel somewhere preparing for a veay early trek, again. Phew!

Nice healthy breakfast, wandered around the market (no strange juices, i was disappointed to see), around the town a bit and then looked at tinternet. Holy magolee Kaupthing Edge where the RTW fund is held has hit the wall. This might just curtail things somewhat! But ING to the rescue. Another Phew!

Then visited a very interesting Church/Inca Temple (of the sun - seemed fitting after seeing its sister the moon earlier). The good ole españoles had a habit of ripping apart the Inca temples and building their buidling, esp chgurches on th incaa foundations. Whats rally interesting is that a lot of this only got foind out when the 1950 quake hit, destorying lots of the colonial buidling, revealing the inca structures which largely survived.

Learnt a bit more about the inca deities - Falcon, lord of the sky, Snake, lord of the ground creatures - insects and lizards etc and Jaguar, lord of the animals. It seems as though they didnt let the jaguar symbol into the temple in its entirety - always chopping its head off (in rock form). Presumably this is because it was also a human predator at times.

Made my way back to the hostel, ready to tuck in when I had a lovely surprise in Claire calling in. I was feeling almost back to normal by then sop she didnt have toom much arm twisting to do to get me to meet her homestay buddies in the pub. A very plasant evening recounting stories, some of thoise above, others she has committed to writing about herself.

So glad to be feeling almost 100% as tomorrow is prep day before we go to Manu biosphere, the largest formally protected rainforest reserve in the world. Plus it´ll be nice to have Claire back too.

Tags: biking, chill, diahorrhea, football inca temple


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