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A warpus in Peru

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by warpus, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Hey guys, so.. Who wants to see a New Zealand trip thread then?

    And if so, what changes would you have me make to the way I've been doing this, if any?
     
  2. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I would look at it all if you're interested in doing it. And this format is fine if you're comfortable with it.
     
  3. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    More jokes.
     
  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Here's a shot from Machu Picchu overlooking a bit of the terrace system and the valley below. There's a bridge down below, if you look closely - that should give you an idea of how high up we are and how steep everything is.

     
  5. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Is there any more interest in a New Zealand thread? I spent 5 weeks there and saw most of the highlights the country has to offer.. and have TONS of pics.
     
  6. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    That's one of the most amazing things ancient people built. Doing all of that so high in the mountains.
     
  7. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    It is. But what did they grow up there on the terraces? Potatoes, maize? That's 8000 feet above sea level right?

    edit: still, less than Cusco at 11,000 feet.
     
  8. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I'm reading this book right now - The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time. It mainly focuses on how the Incans viewed the skies and how their myths can be traced back to specific points in the past by analyzing the way the stars were positioned, where the sun was setting, the milky way, etc. It does talk about all aspects of Inca culture though.. I am finding it very interesting - but I'm only the 3rd chapter.

    The thing with the Quechua/Inca is that they needed to farm a lot of their foodstuffs on the side of mountains like this. (for what reasons, I forget, the book focuses on other things and this is really just a sidenote) .. This required members of their society to be very supportive of eachother - you couldn't just have a bunch of guys farming stuff on the side of a mountain - they needed support mechanisms going all the way down to the bottom of the valley. And the guys at the bottom of the valley in turn relied on all the other people going all the way up to sustain themselves. This was all mentioned in passing in the book, but essentially it was a very communal endavour. They couldn't have achieved it without a large majority of the community participating.

    According to the book, there are distinct "ages" in South American history, and each one of these ages corresponds to a specific time period where different accomplishments were possible. So for example, there was an age where people lived in huts, then one where farming was introduced, and so on. Each new age relied on the last, and in the end you ended up with farmers working on terraces, farming maize, or what have you. Not only did this rely on all previous "ages", but also what I mentioned previously - all the support structures all the way down the mountain. These ideas go hand in hand - the development of pre-Columbian Andean culture was kind of like a bunch of building blocks - with the ultimate block being a society that can farm things that high up and contains all the elements that are required for something like that to work and benefit the entire society.

    It is really quite amazing that they were able to, in a relatively short period of time, create the largest empire in pre-Columbian America... in the 2nd highest mountain range in the world.

    These guys just got REALLY good at traversing through/farming on/living on/etc. mountains and the sides of mountains.

    Our guide for the Salkantay Trek said that he was of pure Quechua descent.. and the Quechua are basically a larger sub-set of the people who include the Inca. So.. if he wasn't making that crap up, and I have no reason to believe that he was - his ancestors were Inca who were really good at doing everything at high altitudes. The guy walks the hike that we did 5 times every month - and has walked it 250 times total. That sounds crazy - cause just 1 hike almost destroyed me.. but.. the guy was walking so easily that he seemed rather superhuman. There was no sweat, he didn't have a hard time with his breathing.. it seemed like a stroll through the park for him. He wouldn't tell us his age, but he couldn't have been very young.. My guess is anywhere between 40 and 60. It was pretty impressive how easily he walked the trail.. And sure, he was used to the high altitude and fully acclimatized, but that's how his ancestors managed to conquer such a large part of the Andes - by becoming REALLY good at hikes like that. Is it something in their genes? I don't know.. but they were definitely masters of higher altitudes.

    Yeah, they grew various kinds of potatoes and maize.. mainly, I believe.

    Making our way through Peru we saw these terraces almost everywhere.. at least in parts of the country that were mountainous. It makes everything look.. very unique.
     
  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Here's an excerpt from wikipedia that sheds a bit more light on all this

     
  10. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Obligatory Legal Disclaimer: Anything said here in this thread about the Incas or aliens or anything else that isn't Polish or Canadian should not be taken as fact.

    I have calculated that at least 98.7% of it is true with an error margin of 3.2%, and that margin of error has a margin of error of only 0.2%.

    So it's probably true, but don't quote me in your essays. And it's not that I would lie, but there were coca leaves involved, a lot of fatigue, an intense adventure, plus at least one of the guides was crazy.. Okay not craaaazy, but he tried to tell us that the Egyptians and the Incas were somehow connected, possibly through God.. He tied it in with Easter Island, Atlantis, and so on..

    He showed us a picture of what he claimed was the face of God, in his book.. which cost $30 or something ridiculous like that. In Peru $30 goes a long way! You could probably eat and sleep for 2 days for that.. and then some!

    Anyway, it was our tour group, doing a tour of the scared valley. And he's showing us (maybe 12 of us?) the book and points to this face-looking lensflare (and I'll give him this - it did look a bit like a face) and says.. "What do you see here??" , clearly very excited to follow it up with "GOD!". It was a picture of Machu Picchu, and it was an awesome picture, but that was certainly not God.

    so I open my eyes wide and exclaim: "IT'S MY MOM!!!$r*@!"

    He didn't like that, but still told us that it was God.

    Anyway, this disclaimer is just in case I want to ever become a president of Poland. No Polish president has EVER lied about the Incas.
     
  11. Osmowstroyer

    Osmowstroyer Chieftain

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    Why is that foreigners want to always say that aliens helped the new world civs? IMO they don't get that a bunch of south or central americans built those amazing structures. So, it is envy.

    BTW, many peruvians always like to deceit (sorry for my english) foreigners, so don't trust anyone! I am a peruvian and I know many people who do this.
     
  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Yeah, I caught a bunch of lies from various people, mostly in attempts to enhance an experience and/or make a bit more money in whichever way.. I saw it mostly as an industrious way to try to make a bit more money from people (gringos - tourists from the west) who had a lot more money than they did. It always did seem to be done with an entrepreneurial spirit in mind ;)

    I didn't encounter much deceit overall, and most people who I met were honest enough.. I can see some tourguides making a couple things up, but the guy who took us through the mountains to Machu Picchu seemed to know his Inca history & local flora & fauna pretty well.. Our group was pretty smart and nothing really seemed out of place. Except maybe his claims that he used to work in a cocaine factory (for 3 years, while he was younger) and then escaped.. or that he trained roosters on the side for cock fights for extra money.

    I did meet a lot of good, friendly, and seemingly honest people in Peru who were only willing to help me. Most people seemed to welcome me more than anything - I had money and could buy things from them. I was contributing to the economy... even if I was just trying to ask for advice, most people would try to answer.. I did this a lot - and not knowing Spanish at all it must have been very annoying.. I don't think I got bad directions once :)
     
  13. Osmowstroyer

    Osmowstroyer Chieftain

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    I am glad that now people are more kind to tourists. The good thing is that in the Sierra (highlands?) people are more honest. That's not true in the part were I live, in the coast, though now they are improving.
     
  14. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    It is of course all anecdotal "evidence", and I did mostly visit places where tourists play a relatively large part in the economy.. except maybe Huanchaco.. But even Huanchaco is seeing more and more gringos these days and from what I've heard that's expected to grow.

    And then again I was for example explicitly told not to visit certain parts of Lima, no matter what the time of the day was.. Plus a girl in central Lima tried to steal my camera (by asking me if she could take my photo, I saw right through her plan)

    So it does depend on which part of Peru you go, it seems.. You are probably right about the coast vs mountains thing. From my readings about the country I've been able to deduce that people living on the coast are more descendent from Spaniards, while those living in the mountains are more descendent from the Quechua. generally speaking, of course

    Does that play a part? It's probably one of many factors.. Either way, the more a community relied on tourism, the friendlier the people seemed... on average of course
     
  15. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Journey back home - Part 1

    Day 21 of trip - Saturday May 26th

    This is not going to be too exciting, since there are no pictures... So I'll make it quick (edit: or not)! It just seems like unfinished business and it's going to bother me otherwise.

    *cough*

    We woke up at 9:30am and I had a bad omlette. I can't remember that happening, but it must be true since I have it on my list.

    We checked out of our hostel at 11am I think and jumped on a combi-bus to Piura. A combi is basically a van that gets packed with people. You don't need a ticket - you just show up early enough, get your name on the list, and they'll drive you to the Piura airport, which was just over 3 hours away.

    The drive was very interesting, and alternated between desert, a couple hills, grassy areas, varying types of terrain, and then some very rough looking neighbourhoods.. in terms of poverty, not violence or even potential violence or anything like that. I remember seeing rudimentary mud hut type things that people lived in.. I saw much more poverty on that cramped ride than at any other part of the trip. And the thing was that most of it was just desert-like terrain, with no people at all.. So the ride was interesting but at times slightly depressing

    At first I had lots of room in the van, but then they picked up a guy in a town on the way (if there's room they'll just honk at random people they drive past until somebody wants to get on - that's just how things work down there - it's crazy but it works)

    It was a long bus ride and we did not get much sleep the night before - there were at least 2 raves going on nearby, at the same time, until 4am. This we had not anticipated at all. We woke up at 9:30am, so that's not that much sleep... And yes, I'm not even kidding.. Imagine pounding bass, shaking the neighbourhood.. with lots of annoying and catchy dance music. To add to all that, there were at times suspicious squishy sounds coming from one of the other beds in the room, which I presume was not-so-discreet sexual activity happening without my approval. All that combined with the fact that I had a couple beers to "help me sleep" and well.. the fact that it was our last full day in Peru, of course we were going to drink a bit more than average. All those things made for a restless, tireless, and just weird night.. not at all something that would refresh us for our long journey back home. Not at all..

    So anyway, we had a bunch of time to kill at the airport in Piura (one of the largest towns in Peru's north) so we spent some time eating random stuff at a small lounge type area. It was a very small airport and the lounge was almost empty.. When we arrived there, our flight wasn't due for another 3 hours - 7:15pm

    So we had a lot of time to kill - here are the marks I gave to the two things I ate:
    (there are only 6 points in my notes for this entire day, and these two reviews are two of them, so I can't not include them here, really)

    Roast Beef Sandwich: 8/10 (good bread)
    Oreo Cheesecake 5/10
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Journey back home - Part 2

    Day 21/22 of trip - Saturday May 26th & Sunday May 27th

    The flight from Piura to Lima ended up being uneventful - it wasn't delayed and the 3 hours and a half of time between flights we gave ourselves ended up being more than enough.. any less than 3 hours and I don't think I would have booked that flight. We had already experienced an hour and a half delay in the country previously, and getting through security to a place like New York is probably going to take longer. Either way, we made our flight, all was good, etc.

    We landed in Lima at about 8:50pm, got our bags, picked up our new passes, checked in our bags, went through security, ate some food, read some magazines, and then boarded our flight to New York at about 12:15am on Sunday morning. We were flying with LAN, which was awesome, because they give you free unlimited wine.. and even free whiskey.. not to mention TETRIS, the ability to play chess against other people on the plane, lots of free TV shows, movies, lots of music, even a Spanish teaching tool.. (pretty bare but teaches you some basics) It's one of the best airlines I've ever flown on. Probably tied with Air New Zealand for #1.

    We landed in New York just after 8am and our flight to Toronto from there was at 11am.. plenty of time, right? WRONG! Not if you're flying to New York with a lot of people who sort of look Mexican.

    Long story short, eventually everybody trying to catch the 11am connecting flight to Toronto had to be allowed to cut in line getting OUT of security.. so that we could go through security again to board our next flight. We almost missed it, and.. the "funny" thing is that every single person in front of us was getting interrogated, getting their photos and fingerprints taken, there might have even been people getting waterboarded in the back for all I know, but as soon as they saw my Canadian passport they pretty much waved me through.

    Goddammit.. There should be a Canadian line at all American airports, so that us polite Canadians can just be waved through, like we are anyway. Please don't make us stand in line if the other non-Americans! It takes forever.

    Right... To Toronto we flew with American Airlines, so that was obviously not nearly as good of an experience as the flight to New York.. We landed in Toronto at 12:45pm, and had greyhound bus tickets to London, Ontario already bought.. I think that departed at 3pm.. So we went to Red Lobster and devoured large amounts of Canadian food and a small helping of some fine Canadian beer.

    It was good to be home! On the greyhound bus home, the UWO girl sitting beside me had a photo of Machu Picchu as her wallpaper on her laptop.. so of course I chatted her up and we talked about Peru .. and.. 10 minutes later I was like "kthnxcya" and passed out.. or half passed out. I'm not sure. I had a very scruffy beard going at that point, was probably partially incoherent, and must've looked rough and rugged. So I'm not really sure what she thought of the exchange, but I was just happy to be on the bus in a comfortable seat getting some much needed rest.

    I think the bus arrived in my hometown at 5:30pm or so, and I took a cab from there and was finally home Sunday at 6pm.

    I have no idea what happened after that, but I sent an email to my boss and took Monday off work.
     
  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    More Machu Picchu shots







    Panorama shot (2400 x 528)

    Spoiler :




     
  18. Verarde

    Verarde Pondering Wearing A Hat

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    Dang, those are beautiful!
     
  19. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Thank you and thank you to the Incans!

    edit: and to whoever was in charge of the weather
     
  20. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Facing Machu Picchu mountain (on the left), deep valley just to the right, many terraces in between



    Facing the other way again, towards Huayna Picchu mountain

     

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