07 March 2008

An Exposé

So, I went through my archives yesterday. And I found out that last year, when I was heading down to Quito, I already told my fans where I was heading as early as January.

And this year, I am again heading down somewhere, but my fans don't know it yet. And it is already March. So I might as well say where I am heading. Besides, my mother has already correctly guessed where I am heading to.

So yes, I am heading down to Peru in May, with a stop-over in Colombia. This will be on May 9-20, 2008.

I am heading down to Cuzco and The Sacred Valley.

So the plan goes like this (sit down and grab some chips if you want to):

  1. May 9: I have an afternoon flight from Buffalo to New York City. I will then have dinner with my sister in the Ethiopian restaurant that I was talking about earlier. Then I head to my friend's place, who happens to conveniently live very near to John F. Kennedy International Airport. I will spend the night there.

  2. May 10: I have a morning flight from New York City to Bogota, Colombia. I am connecting in Bogota to proceed to Lima, Peru. But, since the lay-over is 8 hours long (I arrive in Bogota at around 1:00 PM and my next flight doesn't depart until 9:55 PM), I might as well go out of the airport and do some sight-seeing of Bogota old town, and visit the Museo del Oro, Plaza de Bolivar, and other sites surrounding it. I will then proceed back to the airport before my next flight, which is at night. I will then arrive in Lima shortly after midnight.

  3. May 11: I will be holing up in Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport for the night, because there is no point in getting a hotel, since my next flight departs at 5:25 AM. I will be taking a flight from Lima to Cuzco, arriving in the high Andean city at 6:40 AM. I will then proceed to my hotel, then go to the train station to get my tickets, of which I have a prior reservation. I will then do some sight-seeing of my own in the remaining hours of the morning, and in the afternoon, I am joining a tour group to visit the Inca sites around the city, such as Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay. After that, I will proceed to my hotel and retire.

  4. May 12: This is the day that I will just stay in Cuzco and explore the city on my own. I will visit museums and ancient palaces, churches, and monasteries, in the city. I'll try to find bars that serve chicha. Chicha is saliva-fermented corn beer. Traditionally, old ladies gather together, they chew the corn, then they spit it to a giant vat. This will then ferment, and the resulting liquid is chicha. I will bring anti-diarrheal medicine for this.

  5. May 13: I will then depart Cuzco by riding a shared taxi. I will head to Chinchero, where there are Inca terraces and an amazing colonial church. I will not spend the night here, instead, before nightfall, I will head to Urubamba, where I have a reservation in a mountain lodge.

  6. May 14: While in Urubamba, I will then take a hike to Salinas de Maras, which is a mountain salt terrace. This is one of the highlights of my trip. I guess I am just fascinated by the scenery of this place, judging from the pictures. I will definitely take plenty of shots here. Nearby, I will also visit Moray, which is an ancient Inca site, believed to be a scientific experiment. Each layer of the circle has its own micro-climate. This is an interesting place. At the end of the day, I return to my mountain lodge in Urubamba.

  7. May 15: I depart my mountain lodge in Urubamba and head to the town of Ollantaytambo, which is famous for its Inca fortress. I will spend a night here, and I will also tour the fortress, and its amazing church.

  8. May 16: Finally, I will board one of the highest railway systems in the world (the highest is the Tibetan railway) and head to Aguascalientes. This is the nearest town to Machu Picchu. I arrive there around 8:30 AM. I will then check in my hotel, and drop my stuff. Then, I will board the bus that would take me to the most famous ancient ruins of the world, Machu Picchu. Here is a classic photo. I will spend the rest of the day exploring the ruins, until I go back to Aguascalientes to retire for the night. I might visit the hot springs of which the town is named for.

  9. May 17: I will board the first bus heading to Machu Picchu again. The reason for this is because I don't want to miss the sunrise. I want to see the sun rising from the midst of the Andes and shining over the ruins. Then, I will proceed and climb Huayna Picchu. This is the mountain that dominates the ruins. You can see it in the background of the picture above. After I do that, I return to Aguascalientes after lunch, and head back to Ollantaytambo, again, via train. I will spend the night in Ollantaytambo.

  10. May 18: After checking out of my hotel in Ollantaytambo, I will ride a shared taxi and will head to Pisac, which is famous for its Sunday markets. And yes, May 18 is a Sunday. This is when I will buy souvenirs for the folks back home. And before nightfall, I will return to Cuzco and spend a night in Cuzco again.

  11. May 19: I have a flight to Lima that departs this morning. I will then store my luggage in Lima's airport for a while, and take the taxi to Lima's old town. I will try to visit some sights if I can, and if I am not yet tired, and then I will go back to the airport to catch my flight back home. I have a flight to Bogota that leaves that afternoon. And from Bogota, I have a flight back to New York City.

  12. May 20: I find myself waking up in the plane, and at the same time arriving in New York City. I will then catch a flight back to Buffalo and that's the end of my trip.

So there, that's my itinerary for this May. I have a total of 8 flights, 2 train rides, and reservations in 4 different hotels. It is a very complicated itinerary, that's why I decided not to go here last year and go to Quito instead, given the fact that it would be my first time to travel alone. I am very excited, and come to think of it, it is only about two months away.

So, that's the reason why I am watching the state of affairs there in South America, given the fact that there are recent developments between Colombia and its neighbors. Hopefully, this won't impede my vacation plans.

(The semi-circular staircase, from my New York City Series)


  1. My blogosphere friend,

    You might want to check with your doctor before consuming chicha. A scientist-friend of mine who has spent a great deal of time in Ecuador advised me to avoid the fermented liquor because of the high rate of hepatitis, which might be contagious if the alcohol content is not high enough. It might be the same in Peru.

    Have a great time in Peru. If you can squeeze in a side trip to Lake Titicaca, it is well-worth the effort!



  2. kuya, may punto itong si Court sa kanyang comment baka nga naman di lang diahreia ang makuha mo hepatitis pa eh magsisi ka lang

  3. Court,

    Thanks for the heads-up. I researched it online and yes, you are correct, even the tourist websites promoting the Andes discourage it, for the risk of Hepatitis B. I know I am vaccinated for Hepatitis (A-C I think, although I might be wrong), I don't want to risk it. Probably I'll just settle for canelazo, aguardiente, or mate de coca. Thanks for the tip.

    I wanted to go to Lake Titicaca too, but it is just too far south, past Arequipa, and I don't have a lot of time in my hands. Perhaps I will visit Lake Titicaca in the future when I visit Bolivia, which is also in my list of places to visit.