Tamara and Muriel knocked on door to wake us up and say see-ya-later. Denise showered as I prepared my breakfast: lucuma, yogurt and granola. When she returned she informed me that the water was indeed warm. Wahoo! I jumped into the shower and began to lather my hair in the warm stream of water. After 30 seconds, enter icicles! FUCKING HELL!
I was officially pissed off at the freaking cheap ass owner of the hotel. I stormed across the hall in my towel still wet and with lather in my hair to have Denise deal with the owner. Even though I was naked, he would not have enjoyed an encounter with me since I wanted to murder him. Within a minute, hot water poured out of the faucet extinguishing my fire. All was right in the world again. I was a new women happy and squeaky clean. The owner would live another day to sell his rolls of toilet paper and beg his guests to eat his S.5 breakfast.
Denise and I walked to the bus terminal instead of grabbing a taxi. The owner followed us outside and wished us “Bien viaje” and asked us to recommend his hotel. Despite the owner quirks, I would recommend Dulque Inn for the view and comfortable beds. Just pack your own paper, food and make sure the hot water is turned on unless you like being a member of the Polar Bear club.
On the hike down hill we passed locals enjoying a lazy morning and some Mormons in their typical uniform on the prowl to convert. I am tolerant of all religions EXCEPT the Mormons. Denise asked me why. It took the whole 30 minute walk to explain because I had to tell the story of my PASt relationship, time in DC and reincarnation in India. With time to spare, we walked to the waterfront to take in our last views of Titicaca and absorb some of the warm rays of the sun.
At the terminal, we met a German dude, Johannes who was also headed to Cuzco. While Denise and him chatted away in German, I went to grab some snacks and water for the 7 hour, mas o menos, journey. I eagerly bought and sipped on some coffee.
Boarding the bus, I looked towards the back. NO BAÑO! What? The lady flat out lied to us!! I went to inform the company I was not happy and asked for a few Soles refund to use to pay for the baños at each stop. The lady was indifferent. She didn’t sell us the ticket, not her problem. Rather than waste any more energy talking to the lady. Denise and I went to take care of more pressing issues, our bladders. The good news S.1 departure fee also allows a free pee. I can deal with no baño but I would rather be told in advance to make sure I balance my fluid intake appropriately i.e. no coffee consumption. At least, I was wearing a skirt if it came down to having to water the bushes along the side of the road.
The first stop was only an hour away in Juliaca, a dusty transit town. We stayed on and more passengers piled on to join us as well as a man with a microphone. He was either going to make a sales pitch or preach about Jesus. Prepared, I pulled out my iPod. This was one of the times I was happy to be a flash-packing American. I smiled at Denise who was jealous she would have to endure the speech. Later she told me he was selling products for male enhancement. Hmmmm, the former VIAGRA vendor in me would have liked to have heard that
Not only did my iPod provide hours of entertainment, so did my Kindle. I would pause at intervals to admire the beautiful landscape and activities outside my window. I saw people washing their clothes in the river. There were more gagged mountains surrounding us in our path in the valley. The pale green fields allowed plenty of room for llamas, sheep and cows to graze. The glassy water of the lakes, streams and rivers perfectly reflected the mountains and the sky.
At a stop midway, Denise and I ran off the bus for a bathroom break. Per usual, I took my travel purse and daypack along for the ride. After my quick and efficient pee, I told Denise I was headed back to ensure the bus would not leave. Stepping outside the building, I was shocked to see the bus was already pulling away. Thanks my ability to run and my loud mouth, I caught the bus. I told the driver to espera para mi amiga. Looking back at the rest of the bus, the other passengers seemed quite amused. Johannes had a guilty look on his face. He said he tried to get him to stop but the dude didn’t listen. I was thankful for my easy access skirt and that I had my important gear on me had the bus actually left.
Arriving into Cuzco, I immediately loved it. The city and surrounding landscape made me think of a hybrid Medellin/Bogota, Colombia and Cuenca, Ecuador. The city was historic yet not crumbling. Denise and Johannes asked to join me in my taxi and to check out my selected Hostel, Pirwa San Blas.
It took little time to catch a taxi and get settled into our dorm. Denise had already spotted a veg restaurant, Govinda, that was around the corner from us. The alleyway was packed. There was a parade/fiesta in progress. A group of men were carrying a large wooden table. Behind them, another group was carrying a large platform with Jesus and a few of his posse. The procession continued with men playing cymbals, tubas, trumpets and drums followed by completely wasted men and women.
The 3 of us watched from the doorway of Govindas. When they passed we inquired about dinner. No. The lady pushed us out and slammed the door shut. That is odd. Then several people grabbed us by the arms and ran us up the alley. As we barely made it into Plazoleta San Blas, the explosions began. Hee hee hee! I giggled and jumped up and down with delight. I was already liking Cuzco. Beautiful old city, music, party people and fireworks!! What is not to like??
I asked a local women what the festival was and where I could find a vegetarian restaurant. Answer: Fiesta de San Blas y la esquina alli y de bajo. The next street down, I spotted a Mediterranean restaurant with veg offerings. I was thankful everyone agreed. For dinner, I ordered a falafel and a Cusqueña, my 1st beer in a week. The icing on the cake at this restaurant was they were playing Bollywood videos in the background. I was in my happy place and I was happy to FINALLY be in Cusco, only 2 months behind schedule!