Monday, October 29, 2012

Salkantay, Day 4!

It was still dark, and already I could hear our assistant chef, still in his blue sweat pants from the first day, by the way, opening our tent flap with our tea! All I could remember was this high silver hot flask, and the thought that I am standing at the small silver cup!

It was not so cold, and I could feel the excitement creeping into me! But we were a broken family going up the Llacctapatta  Mountain today. Sri was still in his tent, not able to walk a mountain today, and he would be going back to Cusco asap. Sri might never know, but Marco had a tough time saying good bye to a dear friend he made! We left Sri in his red tent with our healing wishes, and hoped to see him soon.

Sarah, was also still snugly in her sleeping bag. She didn`t feel well, and decided to go by taxi or bus to Hydro-Electrica, where she will wait for us.

After grabbing a piece of bread, and trying to eat a bit of the banana and pineapple on the table, Jabu was already calling us to get going!

Together with him, it was only Gordon, and the three of us who was going to challenge the mountain. We set off at a steep pace. It was cool under the trees, as we crossed a bridge. Soon we reached the starting point, and for the first time we set our feet on the Inca Trail, on our way to Machu Picchu.

Johan was feeling a little bit low on energy, and when I told him to tap energy from the beautiful trees, he said that he was already told to eat some leaves! I dugged into my bag, and found my coca stash, and soon he was chewing away, and about twenty minutes later he started feeling the energy seeping into his body.

We passed one dangerous area, with the rocks slipping away as we walked. But nothing stopped Gordon and Marco way ahead of us. We stopped a while to enjoy the beauty at the shelter, but they were heading forward, snacking away.

We stepped into a fairy tale. We sat on the damp tree trunks, listening to the flute filling the air again, and I closed my eyes. It was as if the elfs and fairies were dancing to the tune, softly giggling.

Jabu was waiting for us, and we could see the disappointment on his face when he pointed to something behind the thick white clouds. Nothing!

I knew I didn`t climb Llacctapatta to come to a layer of clouds covering the miracle! I stood there for a moment, closed my eyes, and asked Jabu and Johan to close theirs and to concentrate....  softly I blew, and blew, feeling the movement of the clouds....and Jabu started lifting his hands, higher and higher as if lifting a load....  Johan took the photos to show you what happened. The thick white of the clouds started lifting, and lifting! And there in the distance, was Machu Picchu, sitting in the saddle of the two mountains!


I stood there with my cheeks so wet, just looking at this Wonder! Thank you, thank you, thank you...

A while later we sat among some ruins, just looking ahead at Machu Picchu, enjoying the sun on our faces. Slowly we started going down, with Marco and Gordon speeding with their momentum! Marco had so much fun! And I was still going strong with my baby blue crocs!

Eventually we reached the river. As I was taking the photo of Marco and Gordon sitting in the middle of the bridge waiting for us, a beautiful Azul Mariposa (Blue Butterlfly) flew around Johan and me.  It was almost as if it was saying to us, "Good for you! You did it!" And we walked over the blue bridge, to the river to soothe our warm and tired feet in the ice cold water!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       We left at four that morning and it was almost lunch time! We knew Sarah would be waiting for us. It was still quite a walk until we reached her at the train station, but at least it was flat, no up hill or down!

But Jabu had a surprise for us! No lunch! Sorry, the chef left with Sri, and he has not returned! We were not impressed. After getting up at four this morning, grabbing a quick bite, and not receiving any snacks from our guide as usual, walking over a big, big mountain, this was not funny! He took out a plastic bag with squashed flat bread, with a grey cold cooked patty, and served us lunch! I asked Johan to give me a smile, but he surely was hungry and tired and not in the mood! Gordon didn`t even bother to try eat his flat bread, and shared a piece of his chocolate bar with all of us!

But Jabu called us up again, after hardly sitting down, and we had to walk another three hours following the train tracks! We did have the option to take the train, but none of us felt like paying the 18US$! Interesting enough the locals only pay 5sol per person or 2US$! Same train, same route!

We walked, and Sarah joined us, but all of us were just slightly grumpy! About an hour later, it started to rain, and we were in our ponchos again. Jabu suddenly walked passed us with such a speed, and we tried to keep up with him, but only caught up when he stopped at a shelter next to the rail way. He told us to wait there for half an hour, so we sat under the shelter sipping on our luke warm water by now. We didn`t notice that our guide disappeared until Sarah was asking for him. Marco spotted him, sitting at a table at a restaurant about 50m from the rail way road. I looked, and looked! I could not believe it! There he was, sitting and having a plate of warm food, while we had to wait for him. No invitation to a plate of food either...

Oh boy! This was not good, and I will not give you all the detail about Johan, my beloved Scorpion, going down to the restaurant to confront our guide, and to ask for our food as well. I will not tell you at how upset he got when people from the restaurant were trying to keep him from going down to our guide! Our guide could not hide the plate of food fast enough, and Johan got our group together. We were off!

We were wet, we were tired, we were hungry, but we still had to walk another hour and a half to Aguas Calientes, the little town where a lovely hotel room was waiting for us! Jabu caught up with us, but none of us were in a friendly or forgiving mood.

It soon became dark as we walked into Aguas Calientes, and we were stunned when we saw our guide now limping like crazy! But of course none of us felt like handing out sympathy! Along the same road he told us, to walk all the way to the train station to get our own red duffle bags. Believe me, I did not have the strength to do that! Johan as politely as he could, told him that we will not walk all the way to the other side of the town to fetch our bags. We will wait for our bags as was arranged by our tour agent, in our hotel rooms! The sore foot didn`t help!

Alas, it was not over yet! As soon as we got into the lobby of the hotel, and slumped down in the chairs, never to get up again, our guide told us, that we had to get our bodies up again! This hotel was fully booked, and we had to walk to the next one! Boy, oh boy! How do you not book hotel rooms for six people if you are their agent? But we didn`t have any fighting spirit left, and we got up and followed him to the other hotel. We could not believe the power of healing, as our guide ran up the flight of stairs of the hotel behind the girl, checking our rooms!

Ok, none of the two hotels did not look anything close to the photos on the agencies website, we did not get a matrimonial bed as booked, and Sarah and Gordon had a cold shower, but we were looking forward to food, for the first time since before sunrise!

Aguas Calientes looked like a beautiful little town, but we ate and went back to our rooms to sleep like babies! Tomorrow morning we had to be up before five to get to Machu Picchu just after sunrise, and before all the tourists!

What a day!

Ps. Still, my truth is that this day was the best of the whole trek sofar! It was challenging, but it was the most rewarding! It was filled with magical moments to last me this life time!


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