Machu Picchu

We walked the empty streets of Aguas Calientes to the bus that would take us to Machu Picchu. The ride up was unnerving. With every sharp turn I thought of how the bus could fall down the mountain or crash into another bus making its way down. Of course we made it to the entrance safely.

The climb was actually a lot easier than I thought. With all the horror stories I got before my trip, I was prepared for anything. Since it was early in the day, we decided to walk up to the sun gate to watch the sun rise. It was hard to make it in time, since with each step I noticed something picturesque. 

  
Of course there were mountains and ruins, but also flowers and wildlife. I even saw a hummingbird for the first time. 

I had to pinch myself a few times to convince myself I was there. All your life you look at pictures in books of faraway places that you wish you can visit, that when you are actually there, you feel like you are in a fairytale.

   

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Aguas Calientes, Peru

We made our way to the Poroy station. The train was a lot fancier than I expected. Although my toes were frozen, it was a was a pleasant ride as we made our descent into the Sacred Valley.
  
We arrived in Aguas Calientes too early to check into our hostel, so we decided to look around town. 

The streets were crowded with tourists. This was the first time since I arrived in South America that I came across so many Americans. 

Every restaurant and shop was a tourist trap, with people trying to get you to buy their overpriced goods. 

We decided to spend most of our time at our hostel’s bar, which had the cheapest prices in town as well as a great view. We drank Pisco Sours and beers until we sung along with the bar’s stereo system.

  
At first the bar was empty except for us and the bartender. At 6:00, a football game came on, and the bar was full of locals. Together we laughed and screamed at the television as Chile and Uruguay fought it out on the pitch.
At one point, a man came to give one of the workers at the hostel a cake along with several plates. He asked us if we wanted a piece and we accepted. It was a warm banana chocolate cake that melted in my mouth. It warmed me up as the night grew colder.

Although Aguas Calientes isn’t my favorite place in Peru because of its dependence on tourism, the locals made it feel like a home away from home. 

Cusco, Peru

We were surrounded by mountains. It was as if the wing of the plane would graze the them, but we landed safely and tried to hail a cab.

I hailed one taxi, and upon telling him where I wanted to go he said, “No, no puedo ir arriba!” At this, I was confused. What do you mean you can’t go up? 

I quickly learned. It was Inti Raymi, also known as the sun festival, and the streets were flooded with people and music. The second taxi we hailed dropped us off as close as he could get, and we went the rest of the way on foot. 

 I also quickly learned that Cusco is  comprised of rich history and stairs. We climbed up the cobblestone pathways, quickly running out of breath. By the time we got to our hostel, I was unable to tell the receptionist that we wanted to check in, preoccupied with trying to fill my lungs. 

Our hostel was amazing. From the rooftop we could see for miles. People, houses, mountains and monuments, everything was magnificent, saturated with the setting sun. 

I quickly fell in love with Cusco. It may have just been perfect timing, but the food, the music, and the dancing just added to it’s natural beauty.   

 

 

Lima, Peru

l awoke at 6:30 to the sounds of birds singing and my stomach rumbling. We didn’t eat dinner the night before since out taxi got lost, leaving us at our hostel at 11:00pm. 

We checked in, left our things at our room, and walked to the water. There is an indescribable feeling I get when staring into the dark abyss where the ocean meets the sky. As if melancholy and fear meet on the horizon. Oddly enough I love this feeling. Staring into the unknown while knowing you are safe at shore. 

The next morning we walked along the coast and got breakfast in Miraflores. A place called Haiti, which had a large menu to choose from. I had the “Desayuno Espanola” which was a delicious frittata with onions and chorizo. I washed it down with cafe con leche which revived me with every sip. 

 
We then headed to the airport to catch our plane to Cusco. Lima has left a good impression on me. I wish I could have spent more time exploring its streets, but more adventures await me at Machu Picchu. 

 

I’m Going on an Adventure

In the next two weeks I will be traveling through Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and I will hopefully be able to keep this blog updated as I go along.

Where I’m going: Machu Picchu, Bogota, Cotopaxi and more. This trip will involve a lot of hiking, biking, but mostly eating.

What I’m Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

What I’m Wearing: Tortuga Air Carry On Bag. I managed to fit all my clothes and necessities for two weeks into this bag, and I am excited to see how it holds up.

What I’m Listening To: I made my own playlist of music in the Spanish language that I like, with the exception of “Machu Picchu” by the Strokes and El Condor Pasa by Simon and Garfunkel. Consider them the leche in the café con leche. Enjoy:

spotify:user:128850613:playlist:6PwOMxrnIo0FdXyZTGOu9T

Be sure to follow this blog, as well as my Instagram and Twitter to follow me on my adventures. See you in Peru!

2014 Recap

So today is the last day of 2014, and I thought I would update you on the great things that happened in my life this year.

1. I GOT A JOB. I work as an Associate Video Producer for www.idealist.org. Check out more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_USFbNOKrps

2. I helped make a viral video! Never thought it would get as big as it did but I’m really glad it did. Thanks to the internet we raised $20,000 for a really good man. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGo7KfCUGoc

3. I made amazing new friends! I have to be honest, I thought making new friends in the big city would be hard after school, but it is possible!

4. I travelled to Montreal, Philadelphia, Killington VT and Portland OR! Ate good food, ate more good food, went skiing and I went snowshoeing for the first time. Respectively. All amazing places I recommend you visit.

5. I sat across from Neil Degrasse Tyson on the C train. Yes an important life event. No I don’t have pictures because I wanted to respect his privacy. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but these are the big ones. No matter how bad things have been in the news, I like to reflect on the things I am grateful for because I honestly never thought I would be where I am today. I have so many good people to thank for their generosity and putting up with me because it made me into the person I am today. I would also like to thank the academy. And God. *Walks off stage.*

Since I didn’t make any resolutions last year, I decided to go all out this year.

1. Shop small businesses. After Cash Mob for Avi, I realized how much small businesses rely on every single customer, so I am actively avoiding the big guys and shopping small.

2. Making lunch at home. I spend a lot of money buying lunch and it would just be cheaper, and healthier, to start making lunch for myself.

3. Catch up with old friends. I am really, really bad at keeping in touch. If you’ve known me and I haven’t spoken to you in years, it’s not you it’s me. 2015 I’m going to try and catch up with people because I have met so many amazing people in my life.

That’s all folks. See you next year!