Peru 2012: Day 8

Today was my birthday. It started at a good time: 8:00, since breakfast ended at 9:00, and this was check-out time. Breakfast wasn’t all that nice, since there weren’t many choices. Surya celebrated my birthday by lighting a candle for me. We spent the next hour or so shopping at the market near the train station, where I bought a gift for one of my friends.

The train ride back to Ollantaytambo was more interesting than that to Aguas Calientes. First, there was a dance, where the dancer dressed in an interesting traditional costume and danced with Mami. After this, a fashion show took place, where the attendants took then modeling traditional Peruvian clothes.

Upon our return to Ollantaytambo, we were told by our travel agency that the driver’s van had been stuck behind a truck with a flat tire. It took him a while to walk to the train station, so we accidentally confused some other drivers for him. The walk back to van was also fairly long, but it was interesting to see the inside of the town.

Once we reached the van, it took the driver a few minutes to turn the van around, since a large back-up had formed where it was parked. Heading back down the road, Daddy told us the story of the defeat of the Incas. The Spaniards only numbered between 75 and 100, and were only armed with muskets and steel swords. Despite their possession of firearms, they had no hope to defeat the Incas in an all out war. Thus, they posed as honorable guests who the Incas welcomed in an elite gathering of the Inca nobles. Having done this, they killed the entire group except the Inca king, who they held on ransom of the entire empire’s wealth. Even so, they ended up killing him and replacing him with a puppet king.

The rest of the drive was uninteresting, and, of course, ended with our arrival at the Andean Wings Boutique Hotel in Cuzco. Rather than checking in right away, we first had lunch at a Peruvian Chinese Restaurant called La China. As an appetizer, I had a wonton soup, and we shared the main meal family style. We ate a few different types of chicken (one tamarind and the other garlic), an airport (fried rice covered in egg and chicken), and some fried rice. The food was great, but it was nice to get a chance to rest for a while afterwards in our hotel room. We didn’t do anything else until dinner, for which we ate at Incantos. I had a really interesting tortellini and amaretto drink, but I wasn’t able to finish because I wasn’t feeling all that well again.

The end of the day was probably the worse, as Mami started having a lot of trouble breathing. We ended up calling the doctor, and she told us that Mami had to be kept at the clinic overnight to deal with the bronchial illness that the large amount of exercise at the high altitude of Machu Picchu had caused.

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