Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peru - Machu Pichu! The Mysterious Nazca Lines, Brazilian TV interview, Pisco Sour, 13 Argentianian girls, crazy moto parking and more!

Today was spent driving from Lima to the famous Nazca lines.

Peace!

Just like home...nice and dry
If there is one thing I wish existed it would be smell-ivision. As I have not smelled something so horrible as drivin by a chicken farm. I have had the pleasure of driving by strawberry farms, orange farms, cedar tree farms, palm tree farms, and many other wonderful smelling places. But this chicken place was nuts!

So far the worst smell of the trip

On the way I met this nice couple from France with an awesome side car. We chatted, exchanged information and was off to never see them again….at least that’s what I thought.




I arrived in Nazca in the afternoon on Sunday, I was planning to try and negotiate a good price for a fly over in an airplane. But it was Sunday late and it was closed, so I chatted with the security guard who told me to come back right at 7am when everything opens to try my luck.



I did get a chace to climb some silly stairs and see some of the lines from the road.



 I think the view of the moto was better....

So I bunked down for the night, got some Chinese food, it seems comida Chifa or Chinese food is a plague around these parts, its everywhere! And it all made by native Peru people and not Chinese people like usually back in the States.

The next day I arrived at the airport early. I was heckled by a guy trying to sell me plane ride to see the lines from above. He tried selling me a tour for $200 dollars! I told him that was a rip off and didn’t have that money, he then asked how much I was willing to pay, so I told him $30, he threw some profanity at me, and didn’t bug me anymore.

I’ve been told it was difficult to get an airplane and at a decent price if you just show up. But that’s the way this trip has been the entire way, just show up and work it out from there. And I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that.

So I went around and got a few more prices, but they were still over $100 US, and that wasn’t in my budget. So I hung around and talked to the people at the counter and they said that it was expensive now because a few months ago a small air craft that had 6 French tourists crashed and killed everyone.

So the all the airplane companies went out of business except for 2, as most of the planes didn’t meet safety requirements.

Yeah, that made me feel a lot better about flying, great….

Regardless I still hung around to hope for any cancelations. After about an hour a plane was about to depart and it was missing one passenger. So they waited around, but I jumped in at the opportunity and worked out a $60 dollar deal with the agent and I was thrown on with 5 Norwegian’s! Lucky moment number #24 of the trip.

I sure hope this one passed the inspections


As the plane took off I couldn’t help but remember the plane that crashed and killed everyone. It didn’t help that the aircraft felt flimsy and rattled tremendously.

Not worried
Once in the air the view was nice.




But the view inside not so much.



Saw the lines

its a little dude say hi!


normal view of the little dude

Amazing that they have survived so many years. It’s still a mystery as to why the native people created them.



Monkey

Bird
Spider

I joked with the guard at the entrance of the airport that it just looked like a few guys with shovels went out there and carved the things. But apparently it’s legit.

How these people figured how these would actually make shapes when viewed from the top, is beyond me. 



So after seeing the great mysteries of Nazca I was off to Machu Pichu!

On the way out from Nazca I was gassing up, when I saw an SUV pull up next to me. They had camera out the window and were filming me. They were from Brazil and they were filming their journey for cable television.

My brazilian interview


So naturally they were curious about me and my trip, so they interviewed me and such. So, famous in Nicaragua, and now appearing on Brazilian cable TV, this trip is turning out quite nicely.



We were both on our way to Machu Pichu, so we exchanged information and off we went.

Once again I went from beautiful desert t to crazy freezing and fog into the Andes Mountains.

Start of the transition, you can see the green starting to appear on the right

It gets so cold that when it rains, the water evaporates on the warm pavement and makes nice fog that disrupts my depth perception and adds to the dangerous driving.



Well I’ve been through all kinds of weather, and it was time for hail.



It was hurtful but neat.

Then it was time for killer llamas that cross the road at any given time. Thats why you shouldn{t drive at night around here.



Remember that nice French couple with the side car, well yeah, I ran into them on the road again. Small world yet again!



I’ve had a secret mission on this trip to find my last name Chacon somewhere in the world. I keep passing by towns that are very similar to my name.



But I still haven’t found it, so my search continues.

So I made it to Ollyantambo, that’s about 6 hours from Machu Pichu.

Had another KLR riders by the name of Lenny run into me, and had a cool GoPro HD camera on his helmet just like me. So we exchanged information and went on our way to never see wach other again...or so I thought again!


I bunked down for the night and did some crazy parking



I decided to take the train from Ollyantambo to Aguas Calientes and then take a bus to Machu Pichu.
The famous Inca trail has you travel the same way but through the mountains, but as its February it’s closed because of the rain and for maintenance.

This juice and chocolate cost me $50....but the train ride was free!


I would have done it but it’s dreadfully long, expensive, and the train ride allows you to see the same scenery in a few hours instead of 7 days.

My first plan for this entire trip was because I wanted to see Machu Pichu, but when I looked up plane tickets I figured I could use that money for gas and see and do more. It eventually expanded to all central and South America, it became a little monster I call my adventure.

Machu Pichu is extremely touristy, the tourist-iest thing I’ve ever seen in fact. Everywhere you turn there are tourists, even in the small town below Machu Pichu-Aguas Calientes is run by tourism.

That’s why tickets for foreigners to enter Machu Pichu are around $60 dollars. But lucky me, students get in for $20. My international student ID was expired, but got lucky the guy didn’t really care. Lucky moment #25.

I met a cool guy from Costa Rica on the train named Alejandro as well, my Tocayo! We had a great conversation about how Lady Gaga has made us Alejandro’s more famous because of that song called Alejandro, and how people who meet us always sing the song to us when we tell them our name. So we decided to head up together. Later we would become each other’s photographers for day.

So here it is, the famous Machu Pichu.





And the famous photo we all see when we think of Machu Pichu, well at least I did



Its mind boggling to think how long and how the crazy Incas brought so many stones and put them together at such a location.

Farming area


This is known as the Condor, can you see why?


The legendary Machu Pichu alpacas were roaming around the place. Mmmm… do I smell lunch?




Me and my favorite Alpaca watching over the ruins
2 cute

There’s a great hike to Wynupichu, a mountain that has more ruins and you can see Machu Pichu from above. But only 400 people per day are allowed to climb, and I found out you needed a stamp to get in that’s only acquired by standing in line the previous day to get or at 4 am in the morning.


So we found out that if some people don’t show up with the stamped paper, they would let some of us non stamped people climb up at 11am until the max of 400 people was reached. So we stood in line, and ended up being number 395 out of 400 to get in. Luck moment # 26!



The hike was incredible, those Inca must have had legs of steel, the inclination of the steps towards the top were at a 45 degree angle and you needed both arms and legs to get up them at times.

The view was spectacular.


Sporting my Nicaragua shirt in Peru. Para la familia!


We went to a part not visited much, a cave dwelling. Took a few hours in total extra but it was nice to get away from the crowds.



The hike back to the main ruins was strenuous and tough that took some hours, but in the end it was worth it!

aka another 2 crazy hiking hours
 Here is some hte carzy route. It does not help that so high up on the Andes, 13,000 ft and above, theres less oxygen so it was not easy!


Ancient Inca mountain rabbits

Remember how I said it was full of toursits, well towards the afternoon it got worse.



See the wonder of the World Machu Pichu, things to-do in life check!





Machu Pichu Conquered!



This is a great pinnacle of this trip reaching my dream of Machu Pichu. I am reminded that this journey is something I will never forget and am reminded that this is something not many people get to do. I have learned so much, seen amazing wonders, met awesome people and ventured into the deep and profound unknown.

So far at 23, I am the youngest person I’ve met or read about doing such a trip by themselves. Most people that do this are people that much older than me, people in their 40’s and 50’s, usually people who have money, assets, nicer equipment, and have the luxury of riding with a group with upmost planning and scheduling.

Although I may stay at $4 a night hostels, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or camp on the side of the road, it doesn’t’ make this journey any easier. And I am fortunate and glad that I am able to share such an experience with everyone with my web site.

I was told that I’m doing this trip for everybody who can’t, and that some feel as they are on the back seat with me through this journey with my blog. I have even had the privilege of inadvertently inspiring a few people to do such a journey as well, to others I have been told I’ve become a role model to them and even to some a hero.

These are all amazing things I never planned for or even thought about, and is wonderful to say the least.

So thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey, emotionally and for some financially. I hope I can continue to be a good example to others, and to do a good job at continuing to provide some nice reading material, pictures, and video for all to enjoy.

I will also take this moment to say I am happily and graciously accepting birthday and Christmas presents early this year (cough, cough) aka gas money, as funds are running low.

So moving on, I was then off to Cuzco.

The road there was awesome to say the least.



Got a chance to capture some pictures for my future wall paper on my computer.



Cuzco was an interesting tourist city with lots of nice tourist bars.



And lots of churches around the main square as well.

To give you an idea of how touristy this place was, all around the main square are people chasing after you to buy tours from them, literally 2 to 3 blocks of people after your money.

And there were plenty of other bikers around too.



I then got a chance to visit probably one of the best food markets I’ve been to on this trip so far.




The selection and variety of this place was awesome.



Even Barney was there to enjoy it.



I was told to visit Norton’s, it’s a bar started by a fellow biker. I stopped in for a quick glimpse and left.

I was also told I definitely had to try a Pisco Sour. Pisco is a fermented grape and is the famous drink around Peru. It had alcohol, more alcohol and a raw egg white mixed into it. I must say I’d rather be eating Guinea pig, it was quite awful l for my taste. So I took a few more sips for my protein for the day and donated the rest to a semi- drunk bar tender I was talking to.

Yup theres an egg white in there alright


When I got back to the hostel, there was a group of 13 Argentinean ladies celebrating a birthday, needless to say it was a loud night.

I also made a friend from Chile at the hostel that shared some amazing Chilean wine and offered his home to me when I was around the area. He was a homeopathic care giver, and has the notion that cancer can be treated with natural remedies. As I studied cancer growth and spread in my university studies, it was quite the interesting conversation we had, science against faith, the forever battle of the ages continues.

So you can see a picture of my GPS locator, this little thing puts up a point on the map to the right of this screen of my exact location on the map. Apparently it only likes lithium batteries. 

A week or so ago I ran out of my lithium batteries and tried some normal ones and it hasn’t been working. All around Central America and all South America I’ve been looking for spares with no success.



And finally I found a hole in the wall shop here in Cuzco that had some. After weeks of searching finally, I found some, they are quite the difficult commodity to find around these parts. Oddly enough they were cheaper than I’ve ever seen before anywhere back home.


On the next adventure I head down to lake Titicaca and on to Bolivia!