May 19:  Inca Trail to Cuzco

Dimas and Edith kept me up for hours talking in the tent next to me.  WTF?  Dimas especially.  I never heard anyone talk so much in the space of an hour before.  This hurts him on the evaluation.  You know we're all having trouble sleeping, due to the altitude effects and the lack of masturbatory opportunities, sleeping in tents and whatnot.  The loud, lengthy, animated-at-times monologue RIGHT NEXT TO MY TENT came off as really unprofessional.  Dude, you were awesome up until now but a total cunt last night.  I considered not tipping you at all.  Also, your phone kept making a "drop" notification sound in your tent, a foot away from my ear.  Why the fuck would you have your phone on audible in such close quarters?  Not the best experience with a tour leader.  And this was after he told us to be quiet at the Ollantaytambo hotel because people were trying to sleep.  Dimas was kind of an asshole to me here.  Not sure what was going on in his head.  Especially after I yelled "what the fuck's going on over there" and he ignored me.  Cunt.

I eventually fell asleep (ironically my best night of sleep on the trail) and was awakened at 3:50am.  The porters had to get us out of there ASAP so they could pack up our stuff and run downhill past Machu Picchu and catch a 5am train back to Cuzco.  Had breakfast (bread), left the campsite at 4:30am, got to the final checkpoint at 4:50am, waited until it opened at 5:30am and played 20 questions in the interim (Justin Bieber is Canadian, I know...he lives on my street so I forgot...sorry), then continued the hike.

The final stage had a lot more uphill parts than I expected, especially at the end.  This ran from 5:40am to 6:35am.  After the last ascent we arrived at the Sun Gate.

More Inca ruins.  Getting tired of these.

I've seen these on TV before but I forget their name.

I'm kidding of course.  This is Machu Picchu!  The only major tourist attraction I'd never been to, and the reason for this trip.

Looking progressively better as the sun comes up.

Us!  This was a prime spot for people taking photos of themselves in front of Machu Picchu.  I do not get this.  How is a photo improved if you stick yourself in it, AND have someone else take the photo?  I'm pretty sure that out of the 100 best photos ever taken, none of them feature the artist in the photo.  The closest might be the Buzz Aldrin-Neil Armstrong reflection thing, but that wasn't really intentional.  Also, there were a bunch of Nips with tripods up here taking complicated photos.  They either carried a tripod along the Inca Trail for 4 days like a douche, or skipped the hike and took a bus to Machu Picchu like a douche.  Nip-ass douches.  And "Nip" is the linguistically correct term here for Nip-ass douches.  Look it up.

Aw, I got mosquito bites in my tent.  Must be from the night mosquitoes that cause malaria.

Machu Picchu, pronounced "Pic-chu" according to Dimas.  "Pichu" is a penis thing.

More non-penile ruins.

OK, I threw something plastic into the organic bin.  I assumed in the absence of a sign that said "pseudoscientific hippie Whole Foods definition 7 of 'organic' in effect" that I should use definition 1 that we all learned in school, if we stayed in school.  I have a master's degree in organic fucking chemistry.  Pretty sure that between me and some Peruvians, I'm the authority on what's organic.  A plastic bottle is organic per definitions 1 through 6.  Fucking hippies.

Whenever we posed for photos, Dimas had us say a variety of cheese-like Spanish phrases.  Finally here he revealed what "chupi" meant:  "pussy".

Ruinous stuff!

Central Plaza.

M f'n' P.

Ruins and sort-of-quarry.  Around here I walked past an older couple wearing Phillies garb.  I said "Phillies".  No reaction.

Artsy stuff.  We're still pretty high up in the mountains here.

Steep!  Steep-ass!

I'm.  Too artsy for my love.  Too artsy for my love.  Love's going to leave me.

OK, at least this looks architecturally cool.


Tired of this art shit.

This and the following 4 photos were meant to be stitched into an awesome panoramic pic, but it ended up being too long and narrow (TWSS).

2 of 5.

3 of 5.

4 of 5.

5 of 5.

Parting shot.

And, wallpaper.

We waited at the cafe and collected tips for Edith.  I gave $10, which was standard.  G recommends $20 per week, and we had two tour leaders, so I divided.  After Dimas and Edith kept me up, I feel like I'm cheating them, but it's not obvious.

By 11:15am I was done with the ruins.  Got chocolate ice cream with the English girls.  Most rewarding ice cream in a while.

At 12pm we caught the bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes.  Arrived 12:30pm.  Originally I thought we would be spending the night here instead of in Cuzco.  On Samantha Brown's show, Aguas Calientes appeared to be kind of a party town.  Found the restaurant where we were supposed to meet.  Edith was there with a table reserved for us!  I had an Apu burger (as did half of us) and two beers.  The barely-legal blonde was there!  With several blonde friends.  Edith acknowledged the Dimas thing from last night.  Kelly said Dimas didn't hear my yell.  Maybe if he wasn't fucking yelling so loud right next to my tent, he might have heard me. 

Kelly said her legs feel like lead.  I said my legs feel like osmium.  These are the conversational items I continue to salvage from my chemistry degree.

I almost started to have to poop at lunch, but then when I was peeing a pound of farts came out.  Solid waste generation has not yet resumed.  In the bathroom I looked in the mirror for the first time in 3 days (and not having shaved for 5) and I looked like CM Punk!  I may keep this look.

At 2:55pm we left on the train back to Cuzco.  The Lares people were on the train too, so the groups were sort of reunited.  Becky or Emily said the Lares Trek goes up to 4600 m, which is higher than Dead Woman's Pass, but it's not as steep.

The saltier the better!

The train arrived in Cuzco at 4:30pm, then we took a minibus 4:40pm-6:30pm to the Prisma Hotel.  On the bus Roxanne sat next to me and I found out she's moving from San Diego to Philly at the end of the month (starting grad school at Penn).  I recommended Mad Mex.  I said I moved from Philly to LA for grad school in 1991.  "That's a long time."  Translation:  "You're old."  First order of business at the hotel was that 4-day dump.  I thought maybe only a rabbit pellet would come out since my system was just now restarting, but no.  Four days came out.  I looked at my feet in the light for the first time in 4 days.  Multiple blisters and abrasions.

I checked the Internet for the first time in 4 days.  I had 46 Facebook notifications and 104 new e-mails in total.  Joshua Ledet was eliminated from Idol.  Phils were finally over .500, still in last place but only 3.5 games out.  Donna Summer died!  Merkle's Boners were surging, and well ahead of Fish.  This is the new reality.

Since we got in so late and had a lot of cleaning up to do, we didn't leave for dinner until 9pm.  Since this was our final night, I had Edith or Dimas call ahead to order a guinea pig for me.

His name was David Rosenberg and he was delicious...nay, CRISPY.  This presentation was just so we could take photos.  They took it back and cut it up (and discarded the head) so it would be easier to eat, although it still wasn't very easy.  Picking out the meat is kind of a chore.  One of the segments still had the front feet, so I shook one of his paws "how do you do?" as I continued to consume him.  Kelly said "you're so weird."  Ordinarily I would object, but yeah, this was not ordinary.  More to entertain the crowd than myself.  I'm on the fringes of showbiz, remember.  The Lares people were there too, but at an adjacent table and they didn't interact with us.  Why didn't we all have dinner together?

After dinner Dimas took us to Mythology, a club that advertises itself as "only for gods".  I'm godlike, but as I've pointed out in previous travelogues, I'm also a straight white American guy, so I have absolutely no motivation to get fucked in the ass or dance.  In my country, I'm normal.  In Peru, I'm stuck standing miserably with a beer in my hand for hours watching people and not being able to talk because of the music.  This was actually a very shitty end to the tour.  I guess it was a cultural disconnect.  In my country, you have drinks and talk to people.  Only thing notable from my perspective what that the bartenders were dressed as Smurfs (with blue facepaint) for some reason, and I had to kiss one of them (a dude) on the lips after I dropped my tip in a can that said "tips for sex or kisses".  I left subsequent tips on the bar.  Kissing is on a separate chromosome from dancing and ass-fucking.

Matt, Dimas and Rob.  I just started taking photos out of boredom.

Debbie, Edith and Dimas, who totally looks like Ernie from the Green Day album here.

Dimas and Rosie.  And Sophie I guess.  Do I include her in the caption and photo title if she's looking off to the side (ignoring Rosie's desperate plea for help in getting extricated from this situation) and not really a featured player?

Sophie, Rosie and Dimas.  He's only the second Dimas I know of.  The first is San Dimas.  Coincidentally, I was chatting with a comedian last night who said a third Bill and Ted movie is in development.  Excellent.  San Dimas called its 50th-anniversary celebration "San Dimas, 1960-2010 An Excellent Adventure".  That's pretty cool.

Dimas and Zvez.  Is Dush taking a photo of his fiancée's rack?  Hot.

Rob and Matt.  And Rosie, who's clearly as bored as I am.

Alex and Edith.

Dimas and Kelly.  And Debbie?  And Rob?  And Sophie?  Rob should count since he's obviously posing.

I bailed out of here without telling anybody, but as I said the music made conversation impossible anyway.  It really sucked.  I didn't get to say goodbye to the group.  I just felt stifled and disabled.  I'm rarely unhappier than when I'm in a club.  Then I got lost on the way home.  Bed finally at 3am.