Nazca – Cuzco

March 26, 2010
Nazca – Puquio

I rolled out of Nazca at 8 am,

and within 5 miles I was climbing like crazy and into some chilly mountain air.

At the top of one of the passes I saw a familiar bike…and pulled in and caught up with Bruno and Nathalie (the Brazilian honeymooners). It was really great to see them. We pulled out  together and rode a little bit together. They were having some issues with the altitude 9rather their bike was) and so at some point I passed them. Bummer…

…because I found out later TWO MINUTES after I passed them their tire went flat. (When I saw them in Cuzco they also showed me a video of a Vicuna giving birth…how cool is that?!? Ben gets a pic of a pair mating, Nathalie and Bruno get one giving birth.  Ive definitely got vicuna envy!)

It’s cool and dry up here…and these weird cacti grow here.

Well, ok, I did get to see a lot of the buggers…

check out this cow…it’s got earrings! (I’ve finally figures out it’s a way to tell the cows apart without branding.)

OK, I get to Puquio and the main road is under construction. It’s now 2:00, and I am s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g. I need fuel. I get pissy at this construction, get off the bike, and walk into the middle of it and ask them where the hell they expect me to go (I missed the detour signs…whoops!) They let me through, and show me where to go.

I get some lunch on the other side of town.

Smells and looks yummy, but I have trouble getting down more than the broth. I give my leftovers to a happy dog outside.

Oofa, not lookin’ too good as I climb the mountain the other side of Puquio.

yup, I get a soaking. And I wonder what if i just turned around…and waited for better weather…I mean, why climb into cold rain–I already ruined my camera in one cold rain, I’m not in a hurry, so what will it hurt if I just call it quits early in the day? I turn around. I go all around Puquio which is just an armpit of a town, and finally get a COLD! Room and pay what I think is waaaaaaaaay too much for a hotel room. I feel bad–altitude–headache, and I think my left eye is going to fall out of my head…I cover up with 20 blankets and read a book I picked up…the WHOLE book! Here’s the (un) charming view from the hotel: RAIN!

Two other motorcyclists roll in–one is Chris from CT.  We chat a bit, but I feel like I am going to *die* and so  beg off and walk down the street where I am told a mate de coca will help…this is a tea of coca leaves and the “natural” remedy for altitude sickness. (We’re at 9000+ feet) I feel nauseaus and cannot eat anything. I know I am going to get weak this way, but I feel like I can barely hold the contents of my empty stomach…

Happy dog.

Dinner in cages in back of the hotel.

March 27, 2010
Puquio – Abancay

OK, Let’s try this again.

Mototaxi gets clean:

It’s cold, it’ almost 15000 feet, and it’s one of those “oh my gosh” riding days!

This house is *definitely* out of place high up in the Andes.

Well, I guess I am glad I did not push through…yesterday’s rain was SNOW this high up!

My head is killing me, and I remember the nice lady at the restaurant yesterday gifted me with a small bag of coca leaves. I remember getting that out here, and stuffing a way of leaves into my cheek to chew on.  10 minutes late I am less nauseaus and less headachey.

I get to Abancay and it’s 3 pm. I am told it’s 4 hours to Cuzco…do I push it or stop early? I decide to stop early. I find an OK hotel that happens to have Wifi. It’s clean, and I take it. I park in back next to a KTM.

KTM? Ah. RTM! Same font too! Deceivers!

March 28, 2010
Abancay – Cuzco

I meet a lovely woman at breakfast–turns out Susannah is a … a … shoot I forget! She’s a Dr. of something (Geology–that’s it!) and she and her husband are in town writing  book for the government cataloging a bunch of different things. She’s from Cuzco, and gives me her cell number and lots of travel advice. we chat for a long while and I get a late start. But who cares, it’s only supposed to be a 4 hour ride to Cuzco.

On the other sie of town I decide to stop and get something to eat, and they have the menu running all over the back patio (Cuy).

Lunch is tasty, but I cannot eat much. Plus I still have a headache from the altitude.

This is a road sign telling that the road is closed certain hours for repairs. Great.

Shoot. More rain moves in.

Well, I get soaked. Drenched. I turn back towards Abancay, then turn around again . This is ridiculous. i am a tough chick and I can ride in col, freezy rain at 14000+ feet. Dang if I don;t get s-o-a-k-e-d! The camera gets drenched too…shoot! LCD goes out. I can no longer see what I am taking pictures of, nor see how much I zoom, not change any of he settings on the camera come to think of it. Grrr.

But I just keep pointing the camera and shooting anyways…

Gosh, now here on the other side of the mountains it is sunny and HOT and I dry out.

Here’ss the construction where the river washed the road away, but it’s Sunday and apparently nobody is working. Good for me!!

ha! A herd of pigs. I think this is a first for me…

I get to Cuzco before dark, I find my hotel that was recommended to me, and I get the bike parked in the lobby. I ask where t go for dinner, and they refer me next door. Carolyn forgive me, but I tried Alpaca. Yum!

This little critter was playing chase around me as I ate…he stopped when I whipped out the camera…

Cuzco at night.

It’s the beginning of Semana Santa, and these cookies are for sale everywhere. They are called “empanadas“, which is confusing because there are also doughey meat-filled things called empanadas. The cookies are sort-of baked into the paper…

Breakfast at the hotel:
I have coffee in the morning but I am drinking mate de coca as much as I can to combat the altitude.

Lunch next door, Cream of Choclo (big, fat, white corn) soup Yum!

Followed by fried trout. Yum!

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