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Peru Photography Expedition, Day 1

May 13, 2015

Crossing the street in Cusco is like Russian roulette. Drivers ignore marked crosswalks, tearing down the streets like they’re on their way to a fire, frantically honking their horns. At some of the more apparently deadly intersections, policewomen blow their whistles, forcing traffic to yield to pedestrians; but you don’t dare cross in the middle of the street unless you have a death wish.

I arrived at my hotel around 7:30 this morning after a 27-hour trip, twelve hours of which was waiting in Miami and Lima airports. Just proving once again that getting to the destination is the very worst part of traveling. The city is at 11,000 feet, and I had been warned to expect altitude sickness. But aside from a minor headache  — which could be attributed to the stresses of getting here — and elevated heart rate, I’m fine. I’ve been taking maca root and gingko leaf as a preventative for a couple of weeks, so maybe that’s it.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed a few hours’ sleep this morning and a leisurely walk to Plaza de Armas, the hub of this bustling city of 400,000 that is the gateway to Machu Picchu.  untitled

I couldn’t walk ten feet without being approached by yet another person selling paintings, woven bags, “genuine” alpaca sweaters, llama key chains or silver necklaces. Some fall away after a simple “No, gracias,” while others tag along down the street, lowering the price as they go, finally asking what I’d pay for whatever they have on offer. Competition is fierce.

untitled-2                          Lady selling

People are trickling in for the photo expedition, which officially starts on Friday. I met a couple from Indianapolis and we had a nice dinner: barbecued ribs for them, grilled alpaca with wasabi sauce for me. Delish. More exploring tomorrow, but now, a real night’s sleep.

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