Week 22 Working in Cusco, Pisac & 7 colours mountain. Peru

So there is a first for everything and on this occasion  it was busking. After a quick practice in the square Ekkie (my new hippy friend) persuaded me that I could play the tambourine. When I realized we were going into proper restaurants with our monstrosity of a duo act I almost lost my life.  It probably was the most mortified I’ve ever been. I was on tambourine duty while Ekkie played guitar, accordion and sang (terribly). In fairness he can play guitar player but the singing is very hard to listen too. A rendition of Zombie by the cranberries was an uncomfortable experience. I tried to drown out Ekkie’s terrible singing by shaking my tambourine. The worst part was when  Ekkie went around asking people for money shaking my hat (I refused this part). I’d pay just to get rid of us. I genuinely have no idea how Ekkie has funded 5 years of travel with this act!

Learning how to play the tambourine in the Plaza, Cusco
Smiling on the outside dying on the inside

We went to about 4 different restaurants and made 24 sols (a lot considering the calibre of music) . Out of all of the money Ekkie didn’t give me a penny! We went for ice cream after and he wouldn’t  even pay for the 20c ice cream.  I managed to find a coffee shop that constantly offers free coffee (obviously it’s become my local). Ekkie angrily asked the owner to change the music voicing that reggae and pop music are the cause of the world’s problem. A tad extreme and considering we weren’t even buying anything v unreasonable.  At this stage I wanted to nip Ekkie in the bud. I was also questioning my sanity and wondering why I was hanging out with a hippy like this. It was probably out of desperation and delirium (amazing what a lack of money can do to you)

At this stage I needed to get rid of the hippy asap. I ended up texting him telling him I didn’t want to see him again. He got v deep and upset but it was a relief to be hippy free. He tried to convince me we could make truffles together to sell in the square. Given the state of his hygiene he would probably poison half of Cusco. Going into the square now is serious danger zones for fear of bumping into hippy. Anyone I see with dreadlocks or a guitar I run a mile.

Hasta Luego Hippy

Ekkie asked me to go camping to a nearby place called Pisac. He wanted to share tents. He smells so bad I couldn’t bare it. Ekkie ended up bailing on Pisac because of the man flu which was great. I was only delira to be flying solo. Pisac is gorgeous and has a famous craft market. I spent the day strolling around the beautiful town. Pisac is very popular among the hippy community no wonder Ekkie is a fan.

Small town of Pisac
Pisac, Cusco
Pisac’s transport system

I somehow  ironically ended up in this hippy cafe just because I was trying to flee from the rain.Overhearing the conversations was unbelievable everyone was hippy and talking about good vibrations and energy and all that jaz. Not able…. The owner was so zen he forgot about me, probably because I didn’t fit the scene. 1 hour later the worst soup of my life arrived (obviously it was the cheapest thing on the menu). It was miso, seaweed and tofu just what you need on a dodgy stomach.

Hippy buying mango in Pisac
Amazing collection of street food, Pisac
I couldn’t have asked for better mates in Pisac

I spent the entire journey home trying not to be sick before just about making it to Mc Donalds for the free loo. It was horrific, the nicest guy from the bus offered to pay for a taxi to take me home because I was so unwell. When I crawled back into the hostel I was greeted by angry Karen. She had the flu so told me I had to work the night shift for her from 12 pm until 6 am. I decided to try get some shut-eye before the shift. I’m so exhausted from work that somehow I managed to sleep through my alarm.  I  was woken aggressively by Karen angrily shaking keys in my face. It genuinely was like a scene from a horror movie. Nobody wants to be woken up by that face. I got through the night and obviously not a mutter of thanks from my new mate Karen the next day.

I had my first homemade ceviche of South American. We all chipped in and the owner of the hostel showed us how to make it.  Peru is one of the most famous places in the world for Ceviche (raw fish cooked in lime juice and spices). It was very nice but I’m not sure I’d be craving to have more. Work is improving slightly and I’ve made mates with the best Mexican gal and Argentinian girls. I really like working at reception you get to meet lovely people and I can practice Spanish. Best of all Karen is acting scrooge up at the breakfast so I’m left alone. I met the nicest Argentinian women who gave me a large donation of clothes and a lovely French girl gave me a few mangoes. There are still lots of gems out there.

Kent, the hostel owner making Ceviche

Apart from trekking to Machu Picchu one of the big things to do in Cusco is to climb to 7 colours mountain which is  really high at 5, 200m . I decided to do this on my day off. The 3 am wake up call is a bit rough the mountain is a 3 hour trek from Cusco. It’s extremely touristy and there are tons of locals trying to sell their horses to bring you up the mountain. It seems pretty cruel because the horses are puffing and panting because of the high altitude. It’s really bad the locals want you to fail just so that you pay for the horse. I ploded along slowly by foot until I reached the top.

The start of the trek up to rainbow mountain
Horses on rainbow mountain
Glaciers on 7 colour mountain
Views of the valley on top of rainbow mountain

The climb itself is pretty steep and the high  altitude is the biggest challenge. I’m also in terrible shape so I found it fairly tough going. The top is spectacular I’ve never seen anything like it. I trekked for a while to find a quiet spot at the top as I felt pretty unwell at this stage. I had to puck a few times and then I was right as rain. I  don’t think I’ve had puck scenes as good as this one (and I’ve had my fair share on this trip).

The top!!
Relief to have reached the top of rainbow mountain

So the money situation remains the same and the waiting of card continues. I am getting used to tight budgeting. I’ve become a regular at the market now for food and surprisingly the daily budget of 2 euro goes a long way. Homemade haircuts are also on the menu complements to my Mexican friend, Brenda. She kind of butchered my hair but the standards are extremely low at the moment that I don’t even care.

The war rages on between myself and Karen. There is one shower in the entire hostel which obviously is a bit of an issue. I ended up grabbing a quick shower at 6am one morning (the only time it’s available). Somehow between the shower and my room I ended up loosing my bra. Typically it was found by Karen on the breakfast table as she was eating her pancakes (god only knows how). There were angry Spanish words exchanged and I couldn’t stop laughing. Of all the people to find it had to be Kaz!!!!

The volunteers luxurious living quarters, Brenda (Mexico) and Bane (Argentina)
The lucky one who gets the top bunk. There is barely enough room for your head. I wake up regularly banging my head against the roof.  grim grim grim

It’s not all bad and I hope I don’t sound like I’m moaning (too much)! In between the bad times I’m so lucky to be able to enjoy some of the amazing sights of Cusco.

Views of Cusco from the Christo Blanco
Full moon in Cusco
Cusco at night

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