Exploring Cusco

Sometimes hostels just don’t work out. This was the case for the Flying Dog Hostel in Cusco, Peru. We woke up around 9ish after sleeping maybe 3 hours in a row. Across the hall, loud people had woken us up at 3am banging on doors and yelling. Then a rooster around 5 (can not be helped). Then explosions around 7 and 8. I was furious and poor Dave had slept with his coat on because he was so cold – no heat in this place at all. Then I tried to take a shower. No hot water. I was trying to figure out this little hot water mater in the shower and I swore I was doing it right but it wouldn’t work.  Went downstairs to use the bathroom – someone in it. Finally I used the room across the hall because the door was open and it was evident that they had already checked out. This room was great! Nice bed, monogrammed sheets, tv, nice view, real walls, hot water….wtf. I showered and stole some more unused towels and went back into the room. Dave had complained about the water and now it was hot for him. Two minutes later it shut off completely – no water at all. Fuck this place. Now, I was really hesitant to complain enough to have us move to another hostel, but Dave seemed completely on board. He hustled out without showering and walked from hostel to hostel looking for another room. He found a triple right outside the main square – score!!  We packed in a hurry, paid for 1 night, and left that place. Adios Flying Dog, you suck.

Traffic Jam in Cusco, Peru

In this new hostel, the Royal Palace Alfred, Dave showered and I did my hair and we were overall SO much more comfortable. It was very clean and it was roomy, too. We decided to get some breakfast even though it was nearly noon so we went back to the Inka cafe and had chocolate crepes, freshly squeezed orange juice, and I had tea too. From there it was time to shop. Right by the massage place was this huge market filled with tons of Peruvian-made souvenirs. Some things were very nice, such as the blankets, and others were a bit goofy but we had to get them for Machu Picchu tomorrow – winter hats and sweaters/scarves made from alpaca wool. Every vendor sold all of that along with the usual crap. We got some good stuff although we probably could have haggled a bit more over the prices. I don’t think either of us were in the mood.

Traditional Peruvian Clothing from the Source

After dropping our stuff off in the hostel, it was time to find lunch. Most of these restaurants, it turns out, suck. They are all the same and serve Peruvian food (including guinea pig – “cuy”), pizza and Mexican food. We went in one place and I didn’t like the vibe so we left and went somewhere else. I wasn’t into that place either because it was the same as all the others, but we had to eat. We got nachos, quesadillas, and a burrito. It was not good and not worth the $15.

Trying to pick a Restaurant

Dissatisfied we left and went back to the hostel, stopping a few times to take some candid photos in the plaza. I wanted to lay down because my sunburn was a bit achy so I did but fell asleep for a few hours by mistake. I woke around 6:30 and we both decided we needed to go out and feel better. I was really worried about Dave because his breathing seemed bad with the altitude coupled with the pollution from all of the cars. Its not that there are a lot of cars, but rather than they don’t have the same emission standards that we have. We found a place to print our train tickets for tomorrow’s trip to Machu Picchu. From there we decided to start looking for dinner. We headed towards a smaller plaza, not Plaza de Armas, to look for a curry place that the Lonely Planet had recommended. This was more difficult than we had planned because the plaza was called something different in the book than on the street signs. We couldn’t find this restaurant anywhere. Finally it seemed easier to go back to the hostel to get the damn book and when we did we were kinda pissed because even though it was listed in one section, the place was waaaayyyy far away. Wtf Lonely Planet. We did also pick up the 300mm lens to take photos of this big show going on in Plaza Del Armas tonight. It was actually really cool. They had dancers, live music, big screens – very cool. I actually learned a lot about the Incan beliefs and culture. The center of their empire was Cusco and many of their beliefs sound similar to those of the natives of North America with sons and daughters of gods coming to earth, etc.

Peruvian Dancers in Plaza de Armas

After watching that for a while, it was time for curry.  I was so excited for curry. We set out on the long walk which was pretty much all up hill in the less-nice area of the city and stunk of exhaust the whole way. Dave was dying. Finally we came to the address. Nothing. Not a hostel or restaurant in sight. I was pretty mad. This Lonely Planet sucks. Well, from there we headed back towards the nicer part of town and looked at a few menus along the way but it was all the same crap. We decided to go back to the same place that we ate at last night but decided to check one more place along the way — Tupananchis. The menu looked good. It was on the expensive side, but we had to remind ourselves that expensive was $20 for both of us and that was only $5 more than the crappy restaurants. I ordered shrimp with potatoes in a spicy sauce with some fried dumpling thing and Dave had the gnocchi. Both were excellent. I loved mine so much actually, even better than last night. We left very satisfied and only $20 poorer. Back at the hostel we both showered and packed for our early morning tomorrow to take the train to Macchu Picchu. This is what we have been waiting for – so excited!!

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