Peru was seriously one of the most insane trips I have ever been on. Let me start by saying that we were there for 10 days and we all packed all our stuff into ONE backpack per person, except for one checked bag where we put all our toiletries and my camera charger. Upon landing in Arequipa, Peru we found out that they had misplaced that one checked bag. OF COURSE. We didn't know when it would arrive. Since my battery charger was in that bag I had to be very frugal with the amount of pictures I wanted to take. Especially since I knew that we were going to Machu Picchu on day 8 and I definitely wanted my camera to be alive for that. We didn't get the checked bag until 9 days into our 10 day trip? I think. So I hope you enjoy the photos I did take.
We got to live the real Peruvian experience because we went with Trevor's brother, Dallin, who served an LDS mission there for two years. We mostly stayed with people that he taught and spent most of our days house hopping to meet everyone. This actually turned out really great because we got most of our meals for free, and they were home cooked. The bad part about that? Not all Peruvian meals are that great... One morning for breakfast we were served tomato, onion, and avacado (3 things that I really don't like by themselves, much less together) on a piece of bread accompanied by papaya juice. Papaya juice looks like it would taste good, but it actually tastes pretty nasty. One of my favorite meals in Peru was this super good chicken served with fries. No one drinks water there because their water is pretty bad and bottled water is expensive and almost always never served cold. They all drink Inka Cola and Coke. Inka Cola is a really tasty soda that almost tastes like cotton candy. One of my favorite things about Peru was the amount of dogs wandering the streets. I knew that it probably wasn't a good idea to pet or touch most of them, but I couldn't help myself at times. I'm still alive and as far as I know I don't have any diseases, so that's good.
There are far too many stories I could tell you about Peru but I'm only going to dive into the most interesting one; getting to Machu Picchu. We rode an overnight bus from Arequipa to Cusco expecting to get there and meet up with the man who was going to help us around and get us to Machu Picchu. As soon as we showed up at the bus station he was no where to be found, so we called the agency he was with and they thought we didn't need them anymore? Weird. haha. So they said they would send someone out and we waited at the bus station for about an hour before he showed up. He took us to lunch and then we went to this place called Saqsaywaman (pronounced like "sexy woman"). We were so confused cause he kept telling us he was bringing us to see "sexy woman" and I thought we were going to a Peruvian strip club or something. It ended up being this super cool little city with HUGE rock walls and pretty views. After that he told us that we should probably start heading to Machu Picchu so we could check into our hotel that he had booked for that night. Unfortunately for us there was a strike happening the exact days that we wanted to go to Machu Picchu. The strike was targeting all the tourism and trains and transportation that brought you to Machu Picchu. After driving for a few hours through the mountains we were told that we had to get out of the bus because it was about to cross a bridge and we weren't allowed to be on it. So we walked across the bridge and there were a ton of men dressed up like they were a SWAT team. It was a little scary. We finally got back into our bus and shortly after arrived to the train station. We went to buy the train tickets, and I kid you not, he was about to run the transaction and someone walked by and said they had to immediately stop selling train tickets because of the strike. So here we are with no other means of transportation in some little town while our hotel was waiting for us in Machu Picchu. We called our tour guide dude and he cancelled our reservation and luckily found us a hotel in this small town for the night, but we still had no idea how we were getting to Machu Picchu the next day. We woke up to another guy in a bus who was supposedly going to drive us to another train station. We drove SIX hours through the Andes Mountains, which at first was so amazing and breathtaking.. until we started hitting very skinny dirt roads. If we had driven off the edge of those roads even just a little bit we would have fallen thousands of feet to our death. Not only were these roads skinny but they were very windy and cars were also coming from the opposite direction. I've never been car sick in my entire life until this very moment. It only made it worse when the driver's 4 year old daughter (yes he brought his daughter on this trip. I took some photos of her.. see below) starting puking all over the place. We had to pull over while he cleaned out the car and Trevor peed off the side of a cliff. After 6 hours we finally made it to the next train station. The only thing was that we weren't sure if we would make it in time to ride a train. If we didn't make the train we would have had to walk another several miles to make it to Machu Picchu. We did in fact make it on the last train of the day and finally made it to the city of Machu Picchu. We then bought our tickets and roamed the streets for a little bit. After a very long day we finally went to sleep only to wake up at 3 am to wait in line to get on a bus to make it up to Machu Picchu for sunrise. Which we did, and it was amazing. Absolutely stunning and breathtaking. After walking around for a while I started to have a panic attack. I couldn't breathe, and I was getting super hot. I went back and sat on a bench in the shade while everyone else continued exploring. I sat there for about another hour drinking as much water as I could, and then we finally rode a bus back down to the city. I still felt nauseous. We passed a market that was selling raw meat and I immediately ran to the bathroom feeling like I was going to puke. I was a little light headed and dizzy for the rest of the day. That night we had to get back on our bus to head back so that we could make another bus that would take us back to Arequipa so we could fly back home to America. Our bus driver had coincidentally broken his right arm, so he got his brother to come so that he could drive us to the other bus station. not even 5 minutes into our drive his brother got into an accident. He clearly didn't know how to drive stick shift and backed into the car behind us. After just yelling at each other for 10 ish minutes our original driver got back in the drivers seat and started driving us back with a BROKEN ARM. Well... we didn't make our other bus. We missed it by minutes and had to ride another one back to the city. It was another night bus, and we all froze all night long. I've never been so cold in my life. anyway. That is our crazy Machu Picchu story. Hope you enjoyed. haha.