Saturday, May 31, 2003 – Day 102

Saturday, May 31, 2003 – Day 102

Map of Perú

map of peru As you can see from the map, I am in Pucallpa (middle right). You can double click this section of the map for greater detail. I will be flying to Iquitos (top right) tomorrow at 14.00 hours. This will allow me to explore the Amazon and the unique Amazon city of Iquitos which has no road links with the outside world.

Nothing done today (i.e. no lake) as there was a constant tropical down pour from 9.00am this morning until 5.00pm this evening. Spend alot of time on the NET updating this website. You might notice a few changes, including a “Donation” button. It is a strange town. Spend last night looking for a bar to have a few beers. I had lads comming the town for me .. but not much luck. There were a few hole in the wall places with cheap beer (2.50 Soles for a pint bottle), but nothing of little substance. I shall try again tonight. I heard that the bars by the lake are good.

Funny place, funny people. The men either take the piss with their mates by asking where I’m from and do the whole greetings to Peru thing or start a conversation. I spoke to a few men about the strikes, wages in Ireland etc. The women are worse. They all stare to the point (of me) blushing. That and the fact they say “Hello” in English and break into hysterical laughter with their mates. They sure don’t get many strangers in these parts. All the tourists in my hostel are Peruvian.

On another note entirely, I saw a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde which I never read before. it interested me because he speaks about Absinthe which I have two bottles at home (from Prague).

“After the first glass you see things as you wish they were,” absinthe lover Wilde wrote. “After the second, you see things as they are not.”

“Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world,” Wilde concluded.

Anyway, all these motor taxis (see picture). I was a bit bored so I went window shopping. One of these new costs between 2,300 and 3,000 US (11,000 soles). The Honda model is dearest. At 1 sole per fare, you would need to make 11,000 fares.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pucallpa – Peru – Moto taxis. (31-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pucallpa – Peru – Sky over River and Shanty area. (31-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pucallpa – Peru – Night time entertainment on the main plaza – a Ferris wheel. (31-05-2003)

Well, I had a cold shower at 9.00pm and went out. Alot of activity on the main plaza. On one side singing, preaching Christian Evangelists and on the other fire performers. They go a bit further here – they started lighting each others hair on fire. Goof un and a nice way of making money. instead of just having the hat out they have a guy selling crackers (about .70 of a sole). Good value and good idea. There is a pub opposite the 3 story chicken restaurant on the main plaza. Well, a barn with a couple of tables and chairs with a fridge for beer. Very basic with beers called “San Juan” – with a big label proclaiming “Made in the Amazon”. It tasted that way too .. like the home brew I used to make during college. At least there beer posters/calendars were cool .. Amazonian women draped all over them.

I had two there and asked a moto driver to take me a place with a bit of life. Five minutes later we were at another quiet bar with outdoor tables. Ah well, I had a beer, and a after a while a chap came over. Says hes name was “O Connor” and would I like to join them. Two brothers and three other gents who were their superiors in the company where they worked. yes, as it turned out, these two Peruvian boys were called “O Connor”. One was called Donal O Connor 🙂 Seemed that their grandfather came over from Ireland in the 40s. Anyway had a few drinks with them but they were all over me .. new best friend,.. hugs and back slapping. The bar maid had given me a invitation / pass to a club. Got the lads to go along. Grabbed two motos and it took about 15 minutes to get to “Musmukis”. OK place with outdoor Disco and bar. Bought a pincher litre of beer for 10 Soles. Spent a hour there but wasn’t enjoying the place too much. It was 4.00am at this stage, I took a moto (4 Soles) back to my hostel.


Thursday the 29th of May 2003 – Day 100 to Friday the 30th of May 2003 – Day 101

Thursday the 29th of May 2003 – Day 100

Got up at 9.30am. The newspapers were talking about the emergency powers declared the day before. Different atmosphere today. Soldiers with automatic rifles blocked off all the civic centres like the Cathedral Plaza and “Civic Municipal”. No police with just CS gas now. They meant business. News just in.

From the Associated Press this Thursday morning.

“LIMA, Peru – Peruvian soldiers and police reopened the Pan American Highway after violent clashes with protesting farmers who had blocked the key 1,500-mile stretch of road with rocks and burning tires, officials said.

Thousands of travelers have been stranded since Monday as farmers sought to stop farm produce from getting to Lima and other cities to force the government to reduce taxes on some crops and protect local farmers from imports.

On Wednesday, government forces clashed with the demonstrators who had blocked 64 sections of the highway that links the north and south of Peru. In the most violent incident, soldiers and police fired tear gas and then bullets at protesters blocking the highway outside Barranca, 100 miles northwest of Lima. The crowd resisted and hurled rocks before scattering as troops advanced.

By nightfall, security forces had reopened the highway, Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola said.

Health Minister Alberto Sanabria said 95 demonstrators had been detained throughout Peru and 16 policemen were hurt in the clashes. There were no figures available on injuries among protesters. “


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – This cheeky chappie posed for me in front of the Cathdral. They had this area cordoned off. Emergency powers were called in yesterday. (29-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – The Military have replaced the Police on the streets. (29-05-2003)

I don’t think much of this town. Its ugly and grotty and I have nothing to recommend it. Time to go. I see Lonely Planet really oversell this place. The four main companies under Entertainment, Accommodation, Activities and food are all owned by the same person. Anyway, my accommodation was good. I didn’t see another tourist or member or staff the whole time I was there. The cost was 20 Soles for a night´s peace and quiet. I recoomend it. Its called “La Casa de la Abuela” and its on Giraldez 691. You given a guy and thats it. You can help yourself to cold beer at the empthy bar and throw the money into a jar. Might stay there again if I am going to call back for the towns famous Sunday Market (biggest in Peru).

Also a famous service from here to Lima has resrted (the highest in the world). More details can be found at this site. The line is no longer operated by Peru Rail but a private company as a tourist attraction.

I went to the “Tourismo Centrale” bus terminal on Ayacucho 274 at 11.00am. I found that a bus was leaving for Pucallpa in the Amazon Basin at 1.00pm. The cost was 40 Soles. I bought a ticket (one of the few remaining). I went back and packed and got ready for my 20 hour plus journey.

Friday the 30th of May 2003 – Day 101

I see a protester was killed last night. From the Associated Press.

“Soldiers clashed with protesters Thursday, killing one and injuring 36, as Peruvians in several cities defied a two-day-old state of emergency called by President Alejandro Toledo.

Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola said the troops opened fire after a group of about 2,000 protesting university students surrounded their nine-man patrol near the city of Puno, 530 miles southeast of Lima.

One student died of gunshot wounds, Loret de Mola said. Thirty-six other protesters and 13 soldiers and police were wounded during clashes in Puno, he said.

The defense minister claimed that common criminals and remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group were among the protesters. The university students organized their protest in support of public school teachers, who went on strike on May 12, police said. “

Anyway, I got the bus at 1.00pm. It didn’t actually leave until 1.30pm because so much produce was been added to the bus. Nearly all the seats were taken and again there was a disproportional amount of babies present. One beside me with her mother (quiet, retrospective child), one behind with the mother (hyperactive, always crying), and beside me on the other side: Couple with Diva, attention seeking child.

Anyway, it was not a pleasant journey. There is no air conditioning and no wants their window open. Result was a stuffy, smelly, hot bus for 20 hours. We had one main stop at 8.30 at a petrol station to get dinner. Had a nice 1/4 of a chicken and chips for 6 Soles. People grabbed toilet stops when they could. The bus was an ordinary single Decker with no foot room for a gringo any bigger than 5 foot. The babies were crying all the way and the bus was getting smellier. People threw their rubbish on the floor of the bus.

No sleep got and was happy to see daylight. The weather was getting very hot but the jungle scenery was nice. Arrived in Pucallpa at 10.30am. Took a taxi (rickshaw taxis are 1 sole to anywhee within town) to my chosen hostel with is just 13 Soles for a single room with fan. (Hostel Residencial Barbtur, Raimondi 670).

Pucallpa is a fast growing town in the lowland jungle and is the capital of the department of Ucayali. After Iquitos, Pucallpa is the second important jungle town in Peru with a population of about 200,000. After Iquitos, which lies totally isolated in the Peruvian selva,Pucallpa can be reached directly by road from Lima although it is a tripthat can last several days by car or bus. The closest nearby town is Tingo María at 250 km. Pucallpalies on the shores of the Ucayali river, together with the Marañon the main source river of the Amazon.It is a modern town, without colonial buildings. It is a good starting point for making river trips along the Ucayali or Amazon, or for jungle excursions. Nearby is the beautiful lake Laguna Yarinacocha. But is so damn humid here. 74& humidity and 30 oc heat. Check out the cities weather here.

I walked around town and spent 5 hours on the NET to go back on he archives to (1) break the posts up to smaller pieces so as to make it more understandable to archive (2) Allow visitors to double click any picture to see it its original size. This allows more clarify.

I also had a chance to eat dinner and walk about although the moto rickshaws are so cheap its not worth walking in this humid heat. I thought I had stepped back to Cambodia with the noise, heat, rickshaws and general appearance of the place and people. Very different from the Peru I thought I knew.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Portrait taken in Huancayo – Peru – on the 28th. I have about ten of these portraits at home collected from different destinations like Prague, Thailand etc. I will post them for a vote soon. (30-05-2003)

I will visit the lake tomorrow. On Sunday i fly to Iquitos. I bought a ticket from the TANS office (Street Arica 500) today for 65 US dollars. Its gone up. Its either fly or take a 2.5 day boat journey and I do not fany mosquito bites.

YarinacochaThe attractive oxbow lake of Yarinacocha lies 10km (6mi) northeast of Pucallpa in the Amazonian Basin. It was once part of the Río Ucayali but is now landlocked, apart from a small canal linking it to the river during the rainy season. The small port of Puerto Callao is the main population center on the lake and has a few places to stay, several bars and restaurants and boats for hire for trips around the lake. You can visit Shipbo Indian villages, buy handicrafts, go canoeing and watch for wildlife in and around the lake – keep your eye open for freshwater dolphins.”

I the meanwhile, Im going out to see if I can find a good bar …………. BTW, they are no tourists in this town. Havent seen a white face all day …

Tuesday the 27th of May 2003 – Day 98 to Wednesday the 28th of May 2003 – Day 99

Tuesday the 27th of May 2003 – Day 98

Last night I took a moto (motorized Rickshaw) for 1 sole to the bus terminal for Huancayo. Its a pain as as each destination has a different bus terminal run by a different company. There could be five bus companies in five different parts of the city offering a service to Lima. I learned there is only one main one to Huancayo. The cost was 20 Soles for the 10 hour ride (hopefully 10 hours). It goes at 8.00pm tonight.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – Rickshaw (27-05-2003)

Got back and walked around for a while. One thing I noticed in every single small town and village is that there is a gaming arcade with slot machines. I’ve passed late and there are queues behind people. I’ve passed at 8.30am this morning and there were people playing.

Anyway I got up at 8.30am this morning. Good nights sleep and the throat is on the mend. What to do. Went on the NET for an hour and decided to go to Quinua. I had seen pictures on the travel agencies walls promoting trips to this village and the historic battlefield there for 25 Soles. Its a cheap trick but once you now what the attraction looks like, its as easy go yourself.

Asked a moto driver to take me to the bus terminal for Quinua. Since I’m here in Ayacucho, so close to the historic battlefield in Quinua, I figured I should check it out. The cost there was the standard 1 sole. Just a corner of the road really with a mini-bus with a Quinua sign on it. The cost was 3 soles. As these mini-vans don’t go until full, I had to wait 30 minutes. I talked to a local family (couple with kid) about the weather, false Peruvian coins in circulation and the teachers strike. I had gotten a fake 5 sole coin a few days earlier and gave it to the kid. He will probably pass it off some place. Nice chat.

Anyway it took just over an hour to get to Quinua. Quinua.Is a town famous by the exceptional ability of its potters, who manufacture different pieces,called “Quinua ceramics” showing local customs. Is located at 37 km (23 ml) from the capital. It was the site of the famous Battle of Ayacucho, where the independence of the country and expulsion of the Spanish troops was confirmed.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Quinua – Peru – Quiet place (27-05-2003)

No gringoes in view, but once I got to the town could see a high spire. This was the same as the one I saw in the pictures in town. As it was around 11.30am, it was hot. All the time I spend in the town, I only saw 5/6 people. Very quiet place. Walked about 15 minutes to the battlefield site through very nice cobbled streets and galleries. Nice town.

The final decisive battle for Peru’s independence from the Spaniards was fought just outside of the village of Quinua, here in the Central Highlands of Peru. After the Spaniards conquered the Incas in 1532, they continued to rule their rich new colony of Peru through Spanish born viceroys appointed by the Spanish crown. The clear hierarchy that dictated the structure of society consisted of Spanish immigrants at the top, followed by people of Spanish blood born in the colony, followed by Mestizos (people of mixed Indian and Spanish descent). Lowest of all were the natives, the Indians who were exploited and treated as expendable labor.

By the early 1800’s the newly relocated Spaniards were sick of being subordinate to their distant kingdom, sick of their high taxes and lack of freedom (sound like any other revolutionaries that you know?). The far away Europeans were also starting to exploit Peru’s newly discovered, rich mineral deposits. One by one, neighboring countries to the North and South were claiming independence, and by 1822, Peru was ripe to join them. In 1822, Jose de San Martin, who had led the liberation of Argentina and Chile, met with Simon Bolivar, who master-minded the liberation of Venezuela, Columbia, and Ecuador, and it was decided that Bolivar would continue on to vie for Peru’s independence. Two years later, on August 6, 1824, San Martin, Bolivar and Field Marshal Sucre lead a successful battle in Junin, Peru. The final and decisive battle for Peru’s independence was fought on December 9, 1824, here in Quinua, a battle known today as the “Battle of Ayacucho.”

The tall white obelisk memorial to the battle can be seen on its hilltop all the way from the village of Quinua. There was nobody there except me and three old ladies. For a National monument, there was little interest in this place. If you pay 1 Sole you can visit its tiny museum and climb up to the viewing point half way up the monument inside the obelisk. Missable views but for one sole!


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Quinua – Peru – white obelisk memorial (27-05-2003)

As this site puts it:

“The “winners” of the “Battle of Ayacucho” were the European descendents whose families had left Spain to conquer new lands and who now no longer wanted to pay taxes to a distant motherland. These very same freedom fighters, which wanted an end to the Spanish hierarchical system, continued to rule according to the same hierarchy once they were on top.

For the indigenous people of Peru, the battle of Ayacucho held no real significance. Little changed in their lives. Whether it was the Spaniards or the new white ruling class, the Peruvian Indians still lived as lower class citizens, the poor laborers of the country with few rights.”

Unfortunately, not much has changed today. The indigenous peoples of Peru comprise over 50% of the country’s population, yet continue to make up the poor bottom class, with the white European descendants on top and the mixed blood mestizos in middle.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Quinua – Peru – white obelisk memorial (from L-R: Cordova, Lamar, Sucre, Gamarra, Lara, Miller) (27-05-2003)

Anyway, walked back to the town. Surrounding landscape is bleak. Very hot and had to wait 20 minutes until the mini bus became full. An hour back and was back in Ayacucho around 2.00pm. Did a bit of walking. Nice place to walk with churches and markets all over the place. Quiet until about 5.00pm when all the schools are out. Cant get a NET cafe place then. Went early and found this excellent site on Ayacucho. No teachers striking in the plaza today . Was watching the news programme “24 Horas” last night for an hour. All it showed for an hour was different groups in different parts of the country rioting. Peruvian police must use some amount of CS gas.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Quinua – Peru – Carrying a famous “Quinua ceramics” back on the mini-bus (27-05-2003)

My bus is at 8.00pm tonight. Report in tomorrows post.

Wednesday the 28th of May 2003 – Day 99

Got a moto to the Molina bus terminal (Jr.9 de Diciembre 473) around 7.15pm – 1 sole. Bus was there but so were alot of people. Jumped aboard. After about 15 minutes the bus was full and people were standing. The problem is even thought I have a ticket the vast majority of people do not bother. Many are just travelling two or three km out of town and use the bus as a taxi service. The guy who came on said the same thing thus depriving people of seats. After we started we stopped two or three times picking up bands of people. At about 2.30am at night we made the last major stop for people. After that it was quite bad. Maybe 20 or more people were sleeping in the aisle of the bus. Mothers who had babies put their babies in the aisles. Old women of 80 plus slepping in the aisle. Some of these people had paid 1/3 of the price to stay without seat. Some had no choice. I didnt see any Peruvian man offer a seat to them so…… With all this carry out its hard to get sleep. No toilet breaks and the road unpaved. The old lad beside me ran out of coca leafs but I was able to help out there. Decided to take a sleeping tablet which made my drowsy but not really sleepy. Made the time pass quickly though. Lots of lightening around as we drove but no rain. Arrived in Huancayo at 6.00am and got a taxi (2.50 Soles) to the hostel. It must have rained heavy during the night. Havent seen rain for quite a while.

All the papers are full of news about the presidents decision to declare a State of Emergency. Early this morning (Wednesday), dozens of police in riot gear evicted hundreds of striking teachers — many still groggy with sleep — camped in front of Congress in the capital, Lima. But the main target of the measure was the farmers, who have blocked Peru’s roads with boulders and burning tires to demand lower taxes on some crops and protection from imports. Other sectors are demanding higher wages.

The state of emergency gives police and the military the authority to use force to clear the highways, restore order, detain strikers and enter homes without warrants. It also limits freedom of movement and prohibits public assembly. Congressman Luis Iberico, from a party allied with the government, said on cable news Canal N that approximately 12 of Peru’s 24 provinces would be under military control and that civil liberties would be suspended. Iberico said a decree would be issued Wednesday declaring the ongoing teachers’ strike illegal.

See two stories from the Assocaited Press (1) and (2) while there are another two from the BBC: (3) and (4). At least the Coca farmers have agreed a truce.

Anyway, I got here at 6.00am, got to the hostel and stayed in bed until 9.30am. Walked down down. The main street is very gtotty and had nothing to recommend it. The catherdral was nothing special. Went ont he Net for an hour for 1.50 Soles and watched a big teachers march gathering at the plaza which is just concrete (10 times worsr than Galway´s Eyre Square). This is one of the biggest marches Ive seen yet. May 20,000 teachers. There were military there along with the police this time but things were peaceful.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – Catherdral (28-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – Crowds gathering for the march (28-05-2003)

Good link here on popularity of blogs. Also my site is mentioned here . This is also a popularity checking site which is useful. Thanks to Rebel Dispatch for publicizing my site on the Clare Hurlers site.

Had two portraits done this evening. The first posted here is a caricature. Its a comic effect OK. Not very good but what can you expect for 5 Soles (1.25 EURO). I also got a portrait done for 10 Soles (3 Euro).


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Huancayo – Peru – Caricature (28-05-2003)

Saturday the 24th of May 2003 – Day 95 to Monday the 26th of May 2003 – Day 97

Saturday the 24th of May 2003 – Day 95

Got up at 5.30am and paid the bill for the hotel which was 20 soles per night (5 EURO). Grabbed a taxi (3 Soles) and headed for the main bus terminal (terminal terriste). A friendly bus counter official told me that the bus was 6.30PM and not AM. Must have been too tired and hungover yesterday to check. Anyway found a another bus company that was leaving at 6.30am, so got a partial 50% refund from my original ticket and paid another 20 Soles (5 EURO) for my 10 hour bus journey to Ayahuasca. When I jumped on, I was the only gringo on a pretty full bus. These people know their rights. As soon as 6.30am came, they started stamping their feet, banging the windows with their fists and shouting at the driver to get gong. A fun form of persuasion.. and the bus left on time. Alot of stopping and staring as people got off and on. Anybody who waved from the road side meant we stopped to pick them up. Its a fast process, guy jumps out to push them in and asks for payment depending on destination. Lasts a few seconds. We stopped in Abancay for an hour for lunch. Just had soup. Seemed like and Ok place for a night. Tiny. Nice scenery on the way, and the road was paved as far as Abancay. After that it was unpaved and he head up the mountains. All the road was winding and consisted of switchbacks. We left Abancaya at 1.00pm and at 4.00pm, I could still see the town, as we were just getting higher and higher on the same mountain. I have admiration for the drivers as the roads are tint (barely enough for one vehicle). The driver has to use his horn on every bend. Stopped worrying about the steep crevices after a while. The driver knew his vehicle.

We arrived in Ayahuasca at 5.30pm (11 hours drive). I was tired but not as shook as I thought I would be. It was dark, so it was hard to get a feel for the town. I had the opportunity to continue my journey to Ayacucho (another 10 hours) at 6.30pm but passed on the idea. I wanted a room, and I wanted to see the scenery tomorrow. The idea of driving in the dark on those roads did not appeal to me either. I found the name of the Wari hostel in the South American Lonely Planet. It was a great nice and one of the nicest places I have stayed in. Two minutes walk from the bus terminal, twin bedded room, airy, bright, clean sheets and warm blankets. All with ensuite bathroom and hot shower. All for 15 Soles (3.80 EURO). Anyway, I wandered around for an hour or two. Lots of Internet places (2 soles an hour) but the electricity in the town failed on a few occasions. It was an interesting place where you can witness small town Peruvian life. Lots of corn beer been sold and enjoyed dinner there. Want feeling great so went to bed very early at 10.30pm. Had a sore throat so took two aspirin.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayahuasca – Peru – On the bus to Ayahuasca – Scenic Shot (24-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayahuasca – Peru – On the bus to Ayahuasca – Scenic Shot (24-05-2003)

Sunday the 25th of May 2003 – Day 96

I had already paid for my ticket to Ayacucho (10 hours, 20 Soles) and got up at 5.45am to catch the 6.20am bus. Lots of activity at the bus station, and the bus did not depart until 6.45am. One other “hippie” gringo on the bus. Didn’t like he had shaved or washed for months. Another scenic drive but instead of having half of the trip paved like yesterday, this trip was totally unpaved and alot more rural. Enjoyed the passing scenery and watching the farmers and their cops. Mostly maize and corn. Very small amounts of crop, very small scale but if you do not have access to machinery like tractors and plough, what can you expect. Very traditional here and we stopped many times for people to put their produce in the hold of the bus including bigs (in coal bags) and all sorts of things. Alot more stops including 40 minutes because of a flat tyre. Alot of people in the small villages drinking (and getting drunk) on the corn beer. A tough journey and I didn’t feel great with a worsening sore throat. Found it hard to drink even water. Bought oranges and bananas (normal price is 1 Sole for 5) and endured the long trip. Arrived at 6.00pm (12 hours) . They don’t have toilets on buses and will not stop upon request. Either grab a moment when they are loading someone’s produce or get together with a few others to demand a stop. They rush when stopping to collect people or produce so you got to be quick.

Felt terrible when we reached Ayacucho. Taxi drivers were looking for 5 Soles to get to my chosen hotel (the Colmena) so I walked 20 yards up the street to wave down a motorized rickshaw (cost 1 sole) for the 3 minute journey yo the hotel. Booked into a single room (without bathroom) for 15 Soles. Paid for 2 night as I need a rest with this throat. Felt faint so went to a Pharmacy for drugs. Told them my problem and paid 1.50 Soles for 2 antibiotic pills and 2 Vitamin c pills. Took one of each and went to bed at 8.30pm. Had to pass the main square to get to the pharmacy. Its totally blocked off by the teachers. They have been sleeping there for 15 days. Could here them all night (making speeches, cheering) etc. The pills had an immediate effect and slept OK.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – Ayacucho. The place reminded me of South East Asia because of the bike transport and the motorized rickshaws. This is hard work at 6.00am in the morning. (25-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – On the bus to Ayacucho. Early morning mist shot. (25-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – On the bus to Ayacucho. Waiting for transport! (25-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – On the bus to Ayacucho. Crowd Shot. (25-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – On the bus to Ayacucho. Nice patchwork of fields everwhere you went. (25-05-2003)

Monday the 26th of May 2003 – Day 97

Got up at 8.30am. felt alot better and took more pills (every 8 hours they said) and went to get more for today and tomorrow.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Ayacucho – Peru – Teachers are also striking in Ayacucho. They have slept, ate and demonstrated here for the past 15 days. They are DIY kitchens, mattresses, posters and flags everywhere. This is the town centre and the commercial heart of the city. All roads in have been blocked. Many demonstrations here during the day but no riot police like Cuszo. Many of them asked me did I know the situation and did I want to know. Explained I knew their basic demands and supported the, They were happy that I knew why they were doing this and why they had to close the tourist / commercial centre of the city. (26-05-2003)

My throat was still recovering so taking it easy. There as many churches here in the city centre as in Corboda (Argentina). Its a nice place as its a lot hotter here than in Cuszo. Walked around the town and the various markets for a number of hours.Spent alot of time on the net.

Carlos Abimaël Guzman was a philosophy professor at the University of Ayacucho when he founded the Shining Path breakaway faction of the Peruvian communist party and launched his “enduring people’s war”. He began it in May 1980 with a symbolic act—a commando burned ballot boxes in Chuschi, a remote village in the area, two days before elections were to be held.

The guerrillas and their “enemies”, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a rebel group founded in 1983 and destroyed by its 1996 seizure of hostages at the Japanese embassy in Lima, were both defeated in the “dirty war”.

But the toll was enormous—more than 26,000 dead, 4,000 missing and 50,000 children orphaned mostly in the department of Ayacucho and neighboring areas. From 1980 to 1990, an estimated 200,000 persons were driven from their homes. The government has put its cost at more than $25 billion—the equivalent of Peru’s foreign debt, on which interest charges alone absorb a third of the foreign exchange earned by exports of fish, copper, zinc and silver. . In five provinces in Ayacucho, the resident population dropped by two-thirds, and many villages were virtual ghost towns.

Ayacucho, capital of the Peruvian department of the same name, still lives on edge nearly 20 years after the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas first went into action there. Relief over the guerrillas’ defeat is matched by the tension of an “armed peace” maintained by the continued presence of underground elements of this terrorist organization in nearby districts and provinces. See for an article by a Shining Path Follower.

Thursday the 22st of May 2003 – Day 93 to Friday the 23rd of May 2003 – Day 94

Thursday the 22st of May 2003 – Day 93

More trouble on the streets of Cuszo today. See Bloomberg , MSNBC for more details.

I got up at 9.00am to see some of the international leaders coming into the city. I waited like many others on the avenue del Sol (main avenue into the centre) to see all the 4X4 jeeps, escorts and glamour. The crowd weren’t in a great mood and jeered all the vehicles especially the police ones. It was good natured, just jeering and laughing but again the police teargassed us. This was becoming a joke. They chased us for 5 blocks throwing cannisters all the time. Never ran so fast in all my life. After it died down, I decided to head to the tourist office but again the police ran towards us up that street firing teargas. Many tourists were caught up in the riot. People were getting angry at this stage and started throwing rocks at the riot police lines. Alot of abuse too. Decided to head another way. I had enough tear gas for one day. My eyes were burning. Did very little the rest of the day. Alot of attractions closed. Police were not allowing any locals into Their square but were allowing gringoes like me (without searching me). I could easily bring a gun or bomb within 20 yards of the centre where 15 heads of state were meeting. The town is very quite and not many tourists about.


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as everyone demonstrates. The riot police chased for 5 streets. Sorry, I didn’t look around to take anymore pictures. When you see a teargas cannister going past you by your feet, you know your too slow and too far behind. There was a lot of panic as hundreds of people were running from the assault. I thought, yeah, they would follow us up one street, but not as far as five, using teargas all the way. They both throw and use guns to fire them. (22-05-2003)




Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as everyone demonstrates – universal soldier (22-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as everyone demonstrates – Suspect Device (22-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as everyone demonstrates – Run Forest Run (22-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – Running riot as the Police advance throwing cannisters (22-05-2003)

I met Damien, Paul and Vanessa in the Irish Pub. Long night as we stayed there until 1.00am, went to spoon for an hour and then to Excess. Got back around 7.00am in the morning. Ouch!

Friday the 23rd of May 2003 – Day 94

Very little done today because of the late night. Got up at 11.30 and watched some of the protests and marches which are ongoing. Done a taxi to the main bus station yo buy a ticket to Ayahuasca. It is 25 Soles and will take 10-14 hours. The bus leaves at 6.30am tomorrow. Went back to bed at 1.00pm and stayed there until 5.00pm. Had dinner and used the net. Some strong earth tremors tonight at 7.00pm. First time I have felt them (ever) and it was a strange feeling. They lasted about 1 minute.

These two pictures are not mine but taken from Associated Press.


“A school teacher tries to kick a teargas bomb during a protest against Peru’s President Alejandro Toledo in Cusco, 350 Miles (570 kilometers) southeast of Lima, Peru on Thursday, May 22, 2003. The striking teachers have also threatened to interrupt the summit of Latin American presidents from the 19-nation Rio Group, which opens on Friday in this city. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) “


“Presidential official photo where the presidents are carrying ‘varayocs,’ baton-sized replicas of the staffs used by Inca leaders, in the Summit of Latin American presidents from the 19-nation Rio Group in Cusco, 350 miles (570 kilometers) southeast of Lima, Peru on Friday, May 23, 2003.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) “


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – More trouble (these are my pictures) (23-05-2003)


Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Cuzco – Peru – When they kick at your front door, How you gonna come?, With your hands on your head, Or on the trigger of your gun – from Guns of Brixton Lyrics

(23-05-2003)

Wednesday the 21st of May 2003 – Day 92

Wednesday the 21st of May 2003 – Day 92

I got up at 11.00am and saw the owners of the hotel glued to the telly. There was live coverage of a full scale riot taking place three blocks down the road. Hmm, What the hell. I decided to investigate. There was a summit of 15 South and Latin American leaders taking place this coming Friday. Taken from Associated Press .

“Police launched tear gas on several occasions to push back hundreds of protesters trying to enter the Plaza de Armas. In another part of the city, police arrested 17 strikers who had blocked roads and were throwing rocks at passing cars. “This summit is a farce,” union leader Florencio Jurado said through a megaphone amid protesters near the main square. “The only thing that interests them is privatizing our country, selling our wealth,” she said of the presidents. The presidents of 15 nations are expected to attend the summit, opening Friday. In a press conference in Lima, Interior Minister Alberto Sanabria said peaceful protests would be permitted, but promised to crackdown if things turned violent. Gen. Eduardo Perez, the director of Peru’s national police, said 2,300 extra police have been sent to Cuzco, while army troops had been deployed to secure and control access to the Andean city’s airport.

On Monday, hundreds of teachers sat down on the railway used to carry tourists from Cuzco to visit the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, forcing the train company to cancel service. The striking teachers have also threatened to interrupt a summit of Latin American presidents from the 19-nation Rio Group, which opens on Friday in this city”

I stayed away from the protests as much as possible but decided to take a few shots. As soon as I did, police threw teargas cannisters at the group I was with.

The use of tear gas raises some serious health and human rights issues. The type of gas used by police was o-chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile, often called “CS gas” or just “CS”.

CS gas, along with its relatives, CN and CR, consists of crystals which vaporize at high temperature. CS irritates the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract, causing severe discomfort, pain, or, in high concentrations, asphyxiation. Proponents of continued use of CS note that when “used properly” (i.e. outdoors, in low concentrations), it is effective in dispersing crowds without causing permanent damage.

A European Union report on crowd control technologies (available in pdf goes into greater detail, noting that extended exposure to CS can cause, in ordinary terms, “victims to die by drowning in their own lung fluids” and “severe blistering”. More simply, exposure to CS even in low concentrations raises blood pressure, which can be a serious risk to people over 30 or those with heart conditions.

CS is not the only substance delivered by tear gas canisters. Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), is used as a solvent for CS, which is normally in crystal form. MIBK has a number of effects, including headaches, vomiting, and dizziness. It has not been established whether MIBK is carcinogenic. “ Another good article here.

It was not a nice feeling. Your eyes run water, you feel terrible. I wasn’t too bad after a mouthful of water and a splash of same to the face, but I saw many people getting sick or doubled over. Enough of that, as I had promised to meet Damien and Paul in Paddy O Flaherys for the Celtic V Porto UEFA final. When I got there, they said no place in Cuszo was showing it because it was on Satellite and the pubs hee only had cable. I checked with the other “Irish” and “English” pub in town – same story. Went back to Paddy´s and met Paul, Damien, Faith and the two American girls (we invited them) from last night called Vanessa and Stephanie. Faith had got off the train last night at a later stop where you could get a 15 minute bus to Cuszo. She had leant this on the tain but couldnt tell us. We didnt kill her there and then. Forgive and Forget 🙂 She had got back at 8.30pm. Nevermind. It was an experience. We had a great time having a few beers watching the scene from the balcony. We could see the police (riot police) holding back the protesters from the plaza. We got match updates from the bar staff. Good time had by all until the final result came in (3-2) all thought I was proud Celtic they had got to the final. We stayed there until about 6.00pm. Faith was catching a bus to Bolivia at 10.00pm. We said our good byes. I called it a night as we were well on. Visitied a NET cafe to download photos from the camea and burn them onto a CD-R.











Cuzco – Peru

Taken on the 21st of May 2003

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as teachers demonstrate. Pity about my shaky shot but I was running away from the riot police and tear gas at the time.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Cuzco – Peru

Taken on the 21st of May 2003

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as teachers demonstrate. The cops and demonstrators get close and personal.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Cuzco – Peru

Taken on the 21st of May 2003

Cuzco – Peru – Reality Bites as teachers demonstrate. I stand behind the workers every time.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Cuzco – Peru

Taken on the 21st of May 2003

Cuzco – Peru – I use a Serpia filter to take a picture of faith (great name) as we wait out the riots with a few pints in an Irish Pub.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Nice story how about farmers in Peru are using the Inca method of farming again.

Tuesday the 20th of May 2003 – Day 91 (Day 4 of the Inca Trail)

Tuesday the 20th of May 2003 – Day 91 (Day 4 of the Inca Trail)
From Huiay Huayna, trekkers have but one goal remaining: reaching Intipunku (the Sun Gate) and descending to Machu Picchu, preferably in time to witness the dramatic sunrise over the ruins. Most groups depart camp at 4am or earlier to reach the pass at Machu Picchu and arrive in time for daybreak, around 6:30am. We got up at 4.00am to have breakfast (a very quiet affair) and started walking at 4.45AM. It was pitch dark and we all had to use our flashlights. Awaiting us first, though, was a good hour-to-90-minute trek along narrow Inca stone paths, and then a final killer: a 50-step, nearly vertical climb. When we got to the sun gate, there were only 20 or so people there. The view was shrouded (blanketed) with mist. Nothing could be seen as visibility was only 10 or so yards. After about 30 minutes, there were about 200 there. The guides took one look at the sky and recommended their groups to take the descent from Intipunku to Machu Picchu which takes about 45 minutes. Our group decided to go against our guides advice and stayed put. Only about half a dozen other people did the same. We stayed there 4 hours until the sun finally burnt a hole through the mist and allowed us to see Machu Picchu. At that point after witnessing it, we followed our guides down.

Having reached the ruins, we had to exit the site and deposit our backpacks at the entrance gate near the hotel. There, our entrance passe to Machu Picchu was stamped; and the pass is good for 1 day only. We followid Michel around the site for about 3 hours taking in all the sites. He knew his stuff. See Frommers for more details of the specific attractions at the site. Too much to get into here. It turned into a beautiful day which I enjoyed. Alex and Francis were staying an extra day. We left them and so Damien, Paul, Faith and I had lunch and decided to walk to Aguas Calientes. It was supposed to take 30 minutes but it was like one hour thirty minutes. You can take short cuts all the way down instead of walking the longer winding road. We arrived there at 3.00pm to collect our “backpacker” train tickets from Michel who was eating lunch at the restaurant. I had a beer and we went to the station. We found out that our train had been delayed from 4.20pm to 5.00pm. We waited looking tat the SAS travel participants who had paid 280 US for the trek (many added comforts). Total distance: 7km (4 miles) (not counting the walk to town).

Damien, Paul and I sat together. Faith was in another carriage. Here it gets funny. Faith had told me the train journey to Cuzco was 4 hours (true) but If we got off at Ollantaytambo and took a bus to Cuszo, we would shave an hour off the trip. As it would be dark, it was a great idea. Anyway, Ollantaytambo approached and I woke up the two lads. We got off and persuaded two American girls called Vanessa and Stephanie it was also in their best interests. We got off and the train pulled off but no sign of Faith. We thought the poor girl had fell asleep. Anyway we got a motorized rickshaw to the Plaza (1 sole) and as there were 5 of us bargained a taxi to take us for 5 Soles each (the bus was 4 Soles). Great, off we went. The funny thing is, that it was a hatch back and the driver put this drunk guy in the very back. I took the front seat. Nightmare journey. Whatever the guy had ate or drank, he left off wind every two minutes. No ordinary sell but the foulest stench you would ever likely smell. The girls were in tears and all the windows were open. We had a good time nevertheless but the taxi was going very slow. We could not get over the foul stench coming from the guy. About 1 hour into the journey, we were wondering whether the trip would ever end. It did with a flat tyre. No problem, says we but the driver was clueless. He had no jack or tools. All he had as a pliers. The tyre was screwed under the car with a new bolt. It could not be took off. We had got out and the drunk guy went to the back seat for sleep. It was about -5 oc on top of a ountain road with no trafic 30 minutes from our destiantion. add to this the girls had a rotten time on there Inca Trail. They were told not to bring their sleeping bags, found they had none and had to borrow two well worn sleeping bags from their already improvished porters. They also were told to bring no money so theyhad to borrow. They also got drenched on the second day even though they had paid porters 10 US each to carry their bags. They were also overcarged in various ways, and their train ticket was not back to Cuzo (this was the main reason they came with us). We were there for 30 minutes and thankfully a Cuszo bound bus appeared. We grabbed our bags and gave the taxi driver (now stranded) some loose change. We paid 3 Soles for the bus but standing room only. Swerving widely, the bus lurched along for 30 minutes until we reached a god forsaken spot on the outskirts of town. We walked for a while until the two boys recogniised the streets. It was 9.30pm and I rushed back (to the same hotel I had stayed in previously) for a long scrub and a shower, change of clothes and hair cut. I promised to meet the two boys at 11.00pm at Les Peros for a drink. The town was very quiet. I heard that there had been trouble or confrontations between the police and the teachers that weekend and on Monday (yesterday). I only had one drink with the lads as we were all shattered. I was in bed by 12.30.











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Picchu – A heavy mist. Machu Picchu (sometimes called “the Lost City of the Inca”) is a well preserved Pre-Columbian town located on a high mountain ridge (at an elevation of about 6,750 feet) above the Urubamba valley in modern-day Peru. The name Machu Picchu literally means “old peak”. It is thought the city was built by the Inca Pachacuti starting in about 1440 and was inhabited until the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1532. Archeological evidence (together with recent work on early colonial documents) shows that it was not a conventional city; rather it was a sort of country retreat town for the Inca and other nobility. The site has a large palace and temples around a courtyard, with other dwellings for the support staff. It is estimated that a maximum of only about 750 people resided in Machu Picchu at any one time, and probably only a small fraction of that number during the rainy season and when no nobles were visiting.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu – Finally there. It is thought that the site was chosen for its unique location and geological features. Some believe that Machu Picchu sits upon one of the outpouring fonts of Earth energy with the Temple of the Moon at its center. It is said that the silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu represents the face of the Inca looking upward towards the sky, with the largest peak, Waynapicchu, representing his nose. The Inca believed that the solid rock of the Earth should not be cut and so built this city from rock quarried from loose boulders found in the area. Some of the stone architecture uses no mortar, but rather relied on extremely precise cutting of blocks that results in walls with cracks between stones through which a credit card will not pass.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu – The city became re-introduced to larger society by Yale historian, Hiram Bingham, who first visited it on July 24, 1911. Bingham was exploring old Inca roads in the area. Bingham was led to Macchu Picchu by Quechuans or Incans who were living in Macchu Picchu in the original Incan infrastructure. Bingham made several more trips and conducted excavations on the site through 1915. He wrote a number of books and articles about Machu Picchu; his popular account Lost City of the Incas became a best-seller.

In 1913 the site received a significant amount of publicity after the National Geographic Society devoted their entire April 1913 issue to Machu Picchu.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction. In 2003, some 400,000 people visited Machu Picchu, and UNESCO has expressed concern about the damage this volume of tourism is causing to the site. Peruvian authorities insist that there is no problem, and that the remoteness of the site will impose natural limits on tourism. Periodically, proposals are made to install a cable car to the site, but such proposals have so far always been rejected.

One of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s best-known works is “The Heights of Macchu Picchu”, inspired by the city.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Click on the picture to see it in its original size











Day four of the Inca Trail

Taken on the 20th of May 2003

Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu. External links.

  • Machu Picchu on the Web.

  • Rediscovering Machu Picchu ONLINE.

  • Machu Picchu . Destination Peru site.

  • Virtual tour of and Peru by James Q. Jacobs

  • Lost City of the Incas by Antonio Gutierrez from Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











  • Day four of the Inca Trail

    Taken on the 20th of May 2003

    Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day four of the Inca Trail

    Taken on the 20th of May 2003

    Day four of the Inca Trail – Machu Pichu.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size

    Monday the 19th of May 2003 – Day 90 (Day 3 of the Inca Trail – PART B)

    Monday the 19th of May 2003 – Day 90 (Day 3 of the Inca Trail)

    Part 2











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Walking away from Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part B

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Cuzco – Peru – Day three of the Inca Trail – Walking away from Phuyupatamarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size

    Monday the 19th of May 2003 – Day 90

    Monday the 19th of May 2003 – Day 90 (Day 3 of the Inca Trail)

    Good weather greeted us at 6.00am. Most of the remaining footpath is the original work of the Incas. (In previous sections, the government has “restored” the stonework with a heavy hand.) En route to the next mountain pass (1 hr.), trekkers encounter the ruins of Runcuracay. The circular structure (the name means “basket-shaped”) is unique among those found along the trail. From here, a steep 45-minute to 1-hour climb leads to the second pass, Abra de Runcuracay (3,900m/12,700 ft.), and the location of an official campsite just over the summit. There are great views of the Vilcabamba mountain range. After passing through a naturally formed tunnel, the path leads past a lake and a stunning staircase to Sayacmarca (3,500m/11,550 ft.), named for its nearly inaccessible setting surrounded by dizzying cliffs. Among the ruins are ritual baths and a terrace view point overlooking the Aobamba Valley, suggesting that the site was not inhabited but instead served as a resting point for travelers and as a control station.

    The trail backtracks a bit on the way to Conchamarca, another rest stop. Here, the well-preserved Inca footpath drops into jungle thick with exotic vegetation, such as lichens, hanging moss, bromeliads, and orchids, and some of the zone’s unique bird species. After passing through another Inca tunnel, the path climbs gently for 2 hours along a stone road, toward the trail’s third major pass, Phuyupatamarca (3,800m/12,540 ft.); the final climb is considerably easier than the two that came before it. This is a spectacular section of the trail, with great views of the Urubamba Valley. Some of the region’s highest snowcapped peaks (all over 5,500m, or 18,150 ft.), including Salcantay, are clearly visible, and the end of the trail is in sight. The tourist town of Aguas Calientes lies below, and trekkers can see the backside of Machu Picchu (the peak, not the ruins).

    From the peak, trekkers reach the beautiful, restored Inca ruins of Phuyupatamarca. The ancient village is another one aptly named: It translates as “Town above the Clouds.” The remains of six ceremonial baths are clearly visible, as are retaining-wall terraces. A stone staircase of 2,250 steps plummets into the cloud forest, taking about 90 minutes to descend. The path forks, with the footpath on the left leading to the fan-shaped Intipata terraces. On the right, the trail pushes on to the extraordinary ruins of Hui?ay Huayna, which are actually about a 10-minute walk from the trail. Back at the main footpath, there’s a campsite and ramshackle trekker’s hostel offering hot showers, food, and drink. The grounds are a major gathering place for trekkers before the final push to Machu Picchu, and for some, they’re are a bit too boisterous and unkempt, an unpleasant intrusion after all the pristine beauty up to this point on the trail. Though closest to Machu Picchu, the Hui?ay Huayna ruins, nearly the equal of Machu Picchu, were only discovered in 1941. Its name, which means “Forever Young,” refers not to its relatively recent discovery, but to the perpetually flowering orchid of the same name, which is found in abundance nearby. The stop was evidently an important one along the trail; on the slopes around the site are dozens of stone agricultural terraces, and 10 ritual baths, which still have running water, awaited travelers. We arrived tired from walking on stone paths (uneven and slippy). We got a few beers each and had a good time walking about the previous three days. We went down to the “disco” for one. Only a few people there. We decided to each contribute 10 US to the porters. Total distance: 15km (9 miles).

    PART 1











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Runcuracay

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Abra de Runcuracay

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Scenic shot of the pass

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Scenic shot

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Sayacmarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Sayacmarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day three of the Inca Trail – Part A

    Taken on the 19th of May 2003

    Day three of the Inca Trail – Sayacmarca

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size

    http://www.ballyhea.net

    Sunday the 18th of May 2003 – Day 89 (Day 2 of the Inca Trail)

    Day 2 is supposed to be the hardest of the trek. Everyone says it. I was secretly looking forward to the challenge. We got up at 6.00am and had breakfast. The porters packed the tents and utilities and headed off. We started at 7.00am. The weather was good. The next ruins are at Llullucharoc (3,800m/12,540 ft.), about an hour’s steep climb from Huayllabamba. Llulluchapampa, an isolated village that lies in a flat meadow, is a strenuous 90-minute to 2-hour climb through cloud forest. There are extraordinary valley views from here. Next up is the dreaded Abra de Huarmihuausqa, or Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point on the trail and infamous among veterans of the Inca Trail. (The origin of the name–or who the poor victim was–is anybody’s guess.) The air is thin, and the 4,200m (13,700-ft.) pass is a killer for most: a punishing 2 1/2-hour climb in the hot sun, which is replaced by cold winds at the top.

    For most of the way up and all of the way down we had freezing rain, wind and sleet. Poncos were put on, but of little use with this weather. It was really bad. Girls were crying, people were turning back. Cold and wet. We could not rest at the summit as the weather was too bad. No visibility. After the summit, the path descends sharply on complicated stone steps to Pacamayo (3,600m/11,900 ft.), where we camped for the night. We arrived there at 1.30 soaked throughout. My boots were wet, my pants drenched but my poncho had kept my back bag dry along with my mat and sleeping bag. We were all in the same boat. We were glad to eat lunch and have a quick power nap. After that we had dinner (I had brought a second small bottle of rum with me and amazingly (the others thought due to weight) a litre bottle of beer. The rum was added to hot water and lemon. Nice chats until bed (around 9.30). Not a great sleep to be honest. Total distance: 11km (7 miles).











    Day two of the Inca Trail

    Taken on the 18th of May 2003

    Porters carried up to 50 kilo up to 3 years ago. Now the limit is 25 kg. There packs are weighted by authorities on day two. I hope that gas cannister isn’t full!

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day two of the Inca Trail

    Taken on the 18th of May 2003

    Nice scenic shot. Got very little of those of day two because of the terrible weather. Camera was secured in the bag under the poncho… and that was NOT coming off

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size











    Day two of the Inca Trail

    Taken on the 18th of May 2003

    The Gang and our tents on day two. Believe me. We were wet and tired.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size