Monday, 14 February 2011

The Tarzan way to Machu Picchu - Part 1

On the first day of our 4-day tour to Machu Picchu it seemed a bit like we were running out of luck, as the rain kept pouring down from a dark sky and the road was covered in mist, and as we quickly realised that out of our group of 10 participants, 8 belonged to the same Polish group, and hence we were the odds out. However, it turned out to be a cool day anyway.

Yes, it poured down. Yes, the visibility was extremely bad and we did not see much of the scenery. Yes, we got wet and freezing cold. But we had fun! Especially about half-way down the 35 km that we were doing that day (the rest of the road was closed for bikers due to road works and was only open for traffic during one hour per day when the workers had lunch), as after we stopped for a hot cup of maté de coca to escape the rain that had just gotten even more crazy, most of the Polish group decided to continue down by car and Nuno and I could take off just the two of us without having to share the hill with the rest of our group or the other groups that had originally been going down at the same time.

This part of the road was also more fun as it started to get a bit less cold and as it was crossed by 9 (if I remember correctly) rivers that we had to bike through. In the beginning we both took it quite easy, I more than Nuno, but by the 7th river Nuno thought himself invincible and attacked the river with full speed. He did cross it without problems, but came out wrongly on the other side and almost ended up in the deep ditch on the side. To avoid this he threw his weight in the other direction and lost balance so that when I looked up at him while crossing the river in my turn, I saw him slide across the street on his side. It looked really scary and was quite the view as I was trying to master the same river at my turn.

As always though, he then jumped back up and onto his bike like the rubber man he is. In exception to the rule, he did actually hurt himself a bit, as he scratched one of his fingers across the pavement and burned a 3mm deep hole with the result that he then left a trail of blood that was dripping down his hand for the following 20 minutes before getting some nice local lady to make him a bandage in a small cafe.

It looked like a fall out of a movie and just like in a movie the main actor then stands up and continues on. But in reality he was lucky that there was no traffic at that moment as we crossed quite a few trucks and buses going up during that path down. The fall made us go a bit slower from then on, but we still had a lot of fun going down.

After another two hours in the car, we finally arrived in Santa Maria where we were to spend the night. This was also the place for the rafting, which at first I regretted to death that we had signed up for and paid the day before as I was freezing cold from that day's biking and could not imagine being cold and wet again that day. But as always we went along anyways, with the promise of a cold shower at the end of the day as the hostel did not have any hot water (it was warmer down here as we had entered the jungle, and in Latin America there is rarely hot water in places where the weather is warm).

As we arrived at the starting point, I was wondering if we were crazy to go along on this ride as the water was gushing down the river in supremely high speed. It looked crazy. And our rafting guide looked fairly crazy as well, having only one tooth left in his mouth, with long hair and without any helmet. Plus he was putting air into our rafting boat as the groups of the other rafting company was already getting their safety instructions.

But we had a blast! It was at some times full adrenalin time, especially in the beginning when we still felt unsure. However, our guide was actually really good and gave us orders that helped us stay out of the water for the full ride. Well, by staying out of the water, I don't mean that we didn't get wet. We did! In fact, to everyone’s great pleasure we got drenched by the cold river water at several occasions. But we all stayed in the boat during the ride, to my happiness as I could not face being completely emerged in cold water, but to Nuno's dismay - what was the fun if the boat didn't turn upside down? ;)

After this long cold and wet day, and after an additional cold shower, we went for a well deserved surprisingly yummy dinner. In fact, all the food during this Jungle Inka was really good. The best food finally that we had during our 3 weeks in Peru.

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