SA 5: Cusco

Well, the altitude can kick your ass a little bit.  So can a crazy bus ride.

Gotta say, I’ve been super happy with Cruz Del Sur as a bus company so far as they have lived up to their reputation for being safe, punctual and comfortable.  Don’t quite know what happened last night, but I think we can chalk it up to a couple of things.

  1. There were a few accidents on the road from Arequipa to Cusco (apparently this is pretty common in Peru in general), which slowed us down considerably and possibly had us taking an alternate route, which would explain why we got in to Cusco 3 hours later than expected.
  2. Lots of twists and turns and bumps, possibly due to the alternative routes but also likely due to the fact that we’re way above sea level right now.
  3. I think the person attending to us on the bus was relatively new and didn’t speak much English, which combined for a tricky situation with point three.
  4. The toilets are only for urination.  I repeat, the toilets are only for urination.

You can’t poop on a Cruz Del Sur bus.  To get around that, they tell you that, if you have “other” bathroom needs, you can talk to the attendant and they will arrange a safe stop.  Well, Daina had other needs, talked to the attendant, she forgot, he asked again and said forget it, and the poor guy basically had a bun in the oven all the way to Cusco.   I don’t know what would happen to the bus if poop actually went into the toilet, maybe it gets into the fuel tank or something, I don’t know.  Seems like a design flaw.

We got into Cusco at 8 am and made it to El Tuco Guesthouse, which is actually pretty awesome looking.  Huge room, huge (and clean!) bathroom, little courtyard.  Not a bad find so far.

Then came the nap.  The bed was actually comfortable, first one I can honestly say that about so far.  I ended up waking up a bit sooner than Daina so I wandered into town, took some snapshots, ran in to a Mary and Lisa who we met at the hostel in Nazca and confirmed our tour to the Inca Trail (though we’ll have to some more of that tomorrow as I didn’t bring all of our info).  Cusco seems beautiful, lots of brown stone churches surrounded by hills and rainbow (Inca) flags.  Apparently there’s a big festival in town tomorrow so that should be fun to check out.

Gotta say, though, that cold and altitude do tire you out.  We’re sitting at 3400 m (11200 feet, thank you, Wikipedia) and after walking briskly I did get a bit out of breath.  Taking it easy at the moment, don’t want to overexert ourselves before the big day.  A small dinner tonight, a good night’s rest and we should be good to catch the festivities tomorrow.

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