What a Long day!
We finished the cycling trip yesterday and started the jungle trail trip today. As suggested by its name, we went through the jungle. According to the tour guide, the Inca Trail we were taking was a secondary one. The commercial one had a quota and was very expensive. There were altogether seven Inca Trails.
It was raining very hard last night so the trail was very muddy. We decided to take a pick up truck to do the first half of the trail. The pick up truck was like the one I went on in Lampang Thailand but for this one, the tour guides put some plastic chairs there (we had two tour guides – one was the ‘main’ one and the other was the assistant / mentee). Actually it wasn’t a good idea. It was much better without those chairs, just like what I did in Thailand.
The first stop was a coca plantation. It was legal in Peru but illegal in some other countries. In fact, I find it quite interesting. It is just a kind of plant. People are just not disciplined. According to the tour guide, the problem in Peru was not cocaine. It was alcohol. 😄 The tour guide also showed us a kind of plant that gave out red colour. The jungle people used it as lipstick. It was so funny that only the girls took pictures of the plant. The guys were just standing there. It was not only for lipsticks. It could also be used as insect repellent and sunscreen. The tour guide put some on our faces.
We then continued to walk. The rain stopped. It was getting hotter and hotter and the path was steep. It went uphill all the time. I was exhausted. My heart was beating very fast. We saw different trees like banana trees with flowers dangling down, giant avocado trees, mango trees, etc. The guide gave really detailed explanations. Very professional.
I looked at my watch. It was only 8:30am. We left the hostel at around 7am. It felt much longer than that. It was either the path or the temperature or even the altitude that made this bit of the trekking so hard. At one stage, I could feel the heat coming from the ground. Fortunately, it was cloudy.
It started to rain again. I was glad because the temperature went down but the ground was wet and slippery. We put our rain jackets on. It was ok for me at first but then after we walked for sometime, I felt the heat again.
The rain stopped when we had lunch. I like the restaurant because they had two dogs. 😊One of them even followed us after we finished our lunch. We were told that the dog went to Machu Picchu by itself. It was gone for 2 months! 😂 The tour guide was the one who found it in Machu Picchu. He told its owner at the restaurant and took it back. That was how the secret of the dog was discovered. And now the same dog was following (or leading) us. We stayed at Santa Teresa tonight. The restaurant owner had another restaurant there. The dog followed us to there. I wondered if it would go to Machu Picchu again but this time with us. 😄 Funny dog. It always wanted to take the lead when we walked. It actually reminds me of the dog I saw in Bhutan on my way to Tiger’s Nest. Dogs are so funny. 😄 I love them. 😊 🐶
We continued to walk and reached the highest point of Inca Trail. FINALLY! All the hard work paid off. I did a jumping shot and then everyone followed me. =_=”. We continued on and stopped at a place for a rest while the tour guide explained the Inca culture to us. Inca trail went from Quito to Peru and there were four states. However, when the Spanish came, they killed the Inca royal family and the Inca empire was destroyed and lost. That was sad. The Spanish took resources from their colonies. I could sense that the tour guide wasn’t that happy with that. Unfortunately, the world we are living in is still the same. The rich countries still exploit and take advantage of the poor ones.
According to the tour guide, the Inca didn’t have slaves and the Mayan culture was different from Inca but they might have trades in the past. Some of the girls in our group jotted down notes as the tour guide spoke. I wonder if they were studying Inca culture at college. The dog was still with us.
The tour guide told us about the hot spring that we were heading to. Some of us decided to soak themselves there. I was still concerned about my money (both my ATM and credit cards didn’t work) and I had had one in Cuenca which wasn’t that long ago so I was fine without it this time.
I decided to walk to the town from the hot spring. The assistant tour guide accompanied me and we chatted. He told me the young kids in Peru liked to smoke marihuana instead of cocaine. He tried marihuana once but he didn’t like it. Well, I tried the coca leaves during this trip but I didn’t like them. He also told me the water level of the river during wet season could be really high. The floods destroyed bridges and the houses near the river. It only took us 45 minutes to walk to town so our conversation only lasted that long.
Tonight, we stayed in an unfinished building again. I stayed in my room instead of joining the others to disco. The tour guide was so kind that he took dinner to my room before he took the others to dance.
As I wrote the journal that night, I wondered if I would fall asleep when my future self read it. I can tell my past self now, ‘no, I didn’t fall asleep. You were very fortunate. Even though the trail was not easy, you made it. Thank you for doing all these for me. I have good memories now. You had a wonderful life. A life that many desire. A life with no regrets.’
3 December 2012
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