Wednesday, September 7, 2011

¡Machu Picchu!

Okay, so again I'll briefly discuss today and then move on to talking about the rest of Machu Picchu day...

I had my last 8 a.m. class today (Comunicación Social).  I went ahead and decided to drop it and good thing because I know I'm going to start seeing the difficulty in my other classes here soon.  After my last time in that class I had Peruvian Social Reality.  Today we discussed race and the concept of mestizaje in Peru.  Mestizaje is the mixture of races within a person.  In reality, Peruvians are proud to say they are mestizos.  We also discussed how the question of race on the Peruvian census has been eliminated, which I think is very interesting.  Our professor talked about how nobody has a stamp that labels them, such as, "Made in Japan."  He stated that borders separate race and people, but in reality everyone is the same in the sense that they are all different.  For example, we are all "white," but how can we be labeled under one category when in reality we are all different.  My professor attended the University of Florida and he told us a story of a time when he had to fill out a survey where it asked his race.  His choices were:  Caucasian, African American, Native American, Asian American, or Hispanic.  He obviously left it blank because he felt he did not fall under any of the categories and then he was told he could not attend the university the next semester if he didn't check a box because public universities have to show their statistics.  The whole topic of race and its (almost) non-existence amongst Peruvians was just very interesting.

Anyway, then I went to my Living and Learning class and today we discussed two articles we read on study abroad experiences.  One of the articles, which I really enjoyed reading, discussed what culture is and if it was possible to completely understand and be immersed in another culture.  Again, all in all, it was a good discussion.  I had Spanish and Ethnography today too which were pleasant.  Of course, I have to read a lot in Ethnography this semester, so that should get interesting!!  And last random fact of the day:  a lot of cars here run on natural gas. :)

Okay, now for the fun and exciting second half of Machu Picchu day!!  After the dreadful, yet exciting hike up Waynapicchu, Mark and I got our own short little tour of Machu Picchu before our tour guide had to leave.  We saw some of the important religious sites on Machu Picchu such as this temple.  Experts believe this building to be some kind of building with religious importance because of the way the stones are laid so much nicer and more precise than the other buildings: 

Rock quarry for carving the stones

Machu Picchu (mountain) through an Incan window


The main gateway!! This used to be the
ONLY entrance into Machu Picchu

After our short tour, we decided to hike one last trail to an Incan bridge.  The trail was only 15-20 minutes long and the majority of it was flat..which was amazing!!

Machu Picchu

Incan bridge

One last view of Machu Picchu!


Waynapicchu (on the way back down in the bus)
My overall experience at Machu Picchu was amazing!!  The whole day was a blast and definitely a once in a lifetime experience!  I'm so lucky to have gotten to experience the wonders of a lost Incan city.  Hey, try to remember though that there are wonders all around you!!  Keep your eyes open for them so you don't miss out!!

Anyway, after this amazing experience, Mark and I subired the mountain in bus.  Oh I say "in bus" because I did see people hiking down and up the mountain just to get to Machu Picchu!!  I'm sorry, but hiking Waynapicchu was enough for me..I really don't think it's necessary to hike to the city as well.  Mark and I got some food and then relaxed with everyone as we waited for the train to leave the town Aguas Calientes to return to Cusco.  It's funny, Mark and I got to Machu Picchu first out of everyone else and I'm pretty sure that we were the last ones out of the city as well.  We definitely got our money's worth of Machu Picchu!  On the train back to Cusco, I met some really nice people: a couple from Great Britain, a older couple from Georgia, and two girls from Argentina.  Another girl from my program, Jacey, and I had a nice long talk with them on the train about almost everything dealing with Peru tourism.  The British couple and the Argentine girls had both done the 4 day Inca trail hike from Cusco to Machu Picchu!  Now that's what I call a hike!!!  We also talked about a race that goes on (actually I don't think it happens anymore) on the Inca trail.  There used to be a race on the trail, which is supposed to take 4 days to complete.  Well, guess what the record is?  Yep you guessed it..3 hours and 50 minutes!!!  Clearly that guy ran the whole way..and fast!!  Corra, Forrest, Corra!!  When we returned to Cusco, Tonisha and I went shopping at the markets (particularly, one lady's stand who had been really nice to us two days prior) and I bought some gifts for my family and friends, as well as a Peru soccer jersey for myself!!  Then we were both so happy to crash in the amazingly comfy beds at the hotel.  Now, for the next day, Sunday, the day pretty much consisted of the plane ride home, which was more pleasant than the one there, and of me relaxing at home and uploading pictures/writing my blog.  Again, it was an amazing weekend and I am glad that I am able to share things like this with you!!  Thank you so much for keeping up with my blog..I really appreciate it!!  Also, don't forget about Machu Picchu por video, which will be posted soon!!!

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