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Saturday, July 10, 2010

No, you didn't fix it.

Next day, before we left we took pictures with the kids in the hotel gardens.

The hot tub is just up the stone path behind her.

After lunch, we went back down the mountain early in order to see the town and go to the market before getting on the train.

This is the center of town with a statue of an Inca king and a couple of those figures of ancient Inca to pose with. We chose this one because she could hold the kids. Click to see how clever this is.

This is the flag of Cusco City and Province. We like it a lot. Guess why.

The market here is gigantic and you can get lost easily in it. Because they want you to, because you will buy more stuff while trying to get out. But we did get some neat, cheap stuff, so we're really not complaining. In the train station waiting room, we met one of the backpackers from the Millenium. He had broken off from them to get up to MachuPICCHu alone. He was more pleasant by himself. They all were, to give them credit. In a pack, they are a huge nuisance. Individually, they are just people.

Now, we have to backtrack a little bit. After our harrowing ride and climb the previous day, I told the people up at the Sanctuary, who are also in charge of the train (it's all Orient Express, and so is El Monasterio), that there was no way Joyce was going to climb all that way up that horrible hill, and I wanted someone to meet us with a wheelchair or a dolly or an alpaca or whatever. I expected porters to meet us as well, because they showed up before and helped us down. We reviewed this with train personnel at the station. Someone would be there to help us.

Well, they weren't. They lied again! Not only was there no one there to meet us, there were no porters at all! Not even for luggage. Joyce got out her stick and I took both bags and started up the hill. We were a third of the way up before one poor clown in a train uniform offered to help with the bags. Not with Joyce, just the bags. I was livid, or as they say in Great Britain, incandescent. Furious. I rose hell and hollered bloody goddamn murder all the way up the hill. Meanwhile, porters came out and physically carried a severely disabled woman up. But no one helped Joyce. She had to do it herself, and God bless her, she did. I asked her after how she could possibly and she said, "It was a ramp. If it had been steps, I never could have. Period."
Well, Elson got an earful after that insane bus ride back in the dark through herds of cattle. Luckily on this bus was an American family, three generations, including kids, who had obviously travelled together a lot, and they made us laugh all the way back with their commentary on the godawful aspects of everything that was happening. Pretty soon we were joining in and laughing, too. Anyway Elson raised hell at El Monasterio and we got some discounts off our bill to sort of appease us, but that was just fucking inexcusable. So screw Orient Express. We are done with them forever.

That night we were back in our same room as before, the one with this reproduction of the Pirate Madonna and Chucky. You have to click it.

We totally repacked everything, making sure we carried all souvenirs, checking all other baggage. Elson had arranged a later flight for us because we had a lot of time between stopovers. Too bad the sleep machine batteries chose that night to die, and as much as I recharged them, it never worked right again until I charged them at home. So not a lot of sleep again. But onward! Only two days to do, and only one required flying. Yay!

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