So after having spent some time in Cuzco it was time for a little change, considering that Cuzco is a fairly large city I was set on finding something nice and quiet which as it turned out was Pisac. I got there early in the day after about an hour long bus ride, and it turned out to be a really nice small town located in the entrance to the sacred valley. I had found a nice little hostel sporting a big garden with a nice little pavilion in the middle, the rooms were basic, but the garden was a little slice of heaven. My first 2 days in Pisac I did very little other than quietly walk through the small streets taking in life as it goes, and sitting by the local corn fields. As it turned out, Pisac was another haven for Ayahuasca tourists, so there were again a lot of those around, generally speaking they are quiet and nice people, but every now and then you meet one that is shocked if you’re not there to drink Ayahuasca, and will try to convince you that their particular shaman is the real deal, and the right one for you. I however did not feel more comfortable with any of them than in Iquitos so again I opted not to partake in one of the fairly large tourist ceremonies, I think the biggest one I heard about was around a hundred people which would have been way too many for me! Instead I opted to explore the surroundings of the small town, climb up the mountain to the old Pisac ruins, and just enjoy the view and feel of the place! So one morning I headed up the mountain starting at an altitude of around 2900m climbing up to about 3600m. It took me the better half of a day to actually make the climb. Not that it is such a great distance to cover, but it is fairly steep territory, and I had to take a short break about every 80 to 100 m in altitude. Having failed to acquire new coca leaves, there was not much of a choice. First on my way up I came across the temple area, which is much smaller than for example Machu Picchu but has the same features, such as a place that points out the summer and winter solstices etc.. Smaller also by default means less crowded so that was something I greatly appreciated, as unlike Machu Picchu, you can actually take some time to just sit down, and enjoy whatever it is you’re looking at! After some time in the temple area I kept on climbing and came to a tiny tunnel which made me realize how small the Incas actually had to have been, as I had to bend down quite a lot to make it through, past the tunnel it was only a few more hundred meters to make it to the old ruin of Pisac, which turned out to be set on 3 distinct little levels, on top the main town, a little down, a second little settling, and further down still there was the temple area! About 4 more km uphill you can find a little town of people still living traditionally, but in all honesty I was just to beat to climb uphill another 4km, so I settled next to the ruins, and climbed around there quite a bit before heading back into town for a nice Alpaca steak dinner! Alpaca is truly excellent meat, and the best steak I had in my time in Peru was indeed in Pisac in a place called Ayahuasca café.
On the full moon night I had in mind to climb the mountain back up a bit to “meditate” under the full moon, and after arguing my case with the entrance guard that I had no intention of revisiting the ruins, I was allowed to climb up a bit without paying again. When I finally had found a great spot to sit/lie down it took about an hour until one of the other guards actually asked me to go back down as the sun was setting and they preferred not to have visitors on the mountain at night. So I said ok, and moved my full moon session down to the hostel garden, which turned out to be great as well! It sure is a nice feeling to lie down, and stare at a full moon at 2900 m of altitude, it just looks so much clearer and bigger, it is wonderful! The only down side of the spot was the company of some girl who told me her story of the day, how she had been in Cusco at the templo de la luna, and was stunned with an electro shocker by two guys. She was fortunate enough not to pass out, and scream for help so the 2 ran off, but I still over empathized with her, and actually felt where she had been shocked, and how the electricity had flown through her body, not a good feeling, but I was still happy she had made it back safe and sound, at least more or less. That night I spent in the company of a Norwegian dude that has been on the road for 4 years, and an American girl that was on vacation for a little bit. I sat there observing the 2 and it turned out to be quite hilarious! The Norwegian guy tried to expand her mind with talking from a global/political perspective, while she took everything he said on a very personal, “but Americans are not all bad” kind of level. Quite fun to observe how their talk and energy kept passing by each other for a few hours. The Norwegian had a bottle of booze called Flor de Anis which was not bad at all, but that night I did not really feel like drinking so I just had a little taste while the 2 others got wasted. Considering that it was quite cold the Norwegian guy came up with the idea of a small coal fire in front of the pavilion for heat, all in all not a bad idea, but considering it was the middle of the night we decided to get together a few days later to drink around a small coal fire and spend a more comfortable night!
So 2 days later I picked up a small clay bowl and some more of the Flor de Anis while the Norwegian guy said he’d get coal and something to start the fire. So we met around 9pm and started drinking, listening to some music, and lighting the fire. Turned out his idea of starting a fire involved pure medical alcohol which although it burns very well is not a good fire starter as it soaks the coal, and once the alcohol has burned leaves the coal wet, and not burning well. Instead of adding a little bit of paper or the like, he kept on adding alcohol creating small burst of fire. After a while even the coal had enough heat to give of a little, and our supposedly fireproof bowl cracked already, which was not the best of signs, but oh well… We kept on going, drinking and mostly discussing music giving suggestions to one another about what we each should still explore. The Norwegian meanwhile kept on poring alcohol over the fire, and even though he started out with only a shot glass, he had somehow brought around a bigger glass and kept on adding more and more alcohol creating larger and larger flames, which was not a good idea, considering that although the bowl was standing just outside the pavilion, the straw roof was still in danger. Being that I don’t drink all that much I got pretty wasted and shortly after midnight actually started puking my soul out of my body. Meanwhile the flames kept getting bigger. I remember he asked me to do the honours and poor some more alcohol over the fire but it refused with the argument that I was way too wasted to still be playing with fire. So I packed up my music gear as he did not want to hold on to it until morning and bid goodnight… I puked a few more times in my room before passing out, holding on dearly to the wall, as everything was spinning out of control. I woke up around 10 in the morning and felt like shit. When I headed to the kitchen I ran into the Norwegian, and he said “well I have been kicked out of the hostel, and have to pay around a 200$ fine”. So I looked at him quite puzzled and he just pointed to the pavilion at which point I realized he had actually put the roof on fire. Turned out that around 2:30 in the morning he had so little control left of what he was doing that he probably made such big flames that the roof caught on fire. Luckily one of the receptionists lived on the premises and for some reason woke up to the flaming disaster and managed to extinguish it before the whole thing caught on fire. In the morning they of course added new house rules, no strong booze, and no fire. Fortunately I was drunk early enough to not be considered part of the whole fire experience, and was allowed to stay for a few more days.
I was actually sick for 2 days from that drinking experience, and swore to myself I’d never get this drunk again, which I am happy to say, at least to this day has not happened again! So the next 2 days I pretty much spent recovering trying to drink as much water as possible, and to eat whatever little bit of food I was able to put into my body.
That weekend I finally headed out to discover the small waterfalls I had been told about, and after about an hour walking I arrived at a wonderfully lovely little place, 2 streams coming down the mountain, and in the middle of them a giant boulder that had a perfectly shaped place for me to lie in. I spent almost the whole afternoon there on that boulder just exploring the surroundings a little and figuring I’d come back the next day to enjoy it some more. Along the way back I noticed that people really are pigs anywhere in the world, as there was enough trash around to fill a couple of large garbage bags, but still the place itself had a nice flair to it.
The next day I did head back to the waterfalls, but as I got there I started to rain, so instead of on the boulder I sat beneath it waiting for the rain to pass, again I found a rock to sit on that was perfectly shaped for my body so I stayed and watched the rain for quite a while. When I finally headed home is when things got interesting, somewhere on the path I encountered a pack of about 6 dogs, so it was impossible to keep an eye on all of them all the time. The path was fairly small, about 1 to 1.5 m large with a wall on one side, and a stream on the other, and when I was almost past all the barking, one of the dogs bit me in the leg from behind, little fucker I thought! But walked on a bit to get out of sight before checking the wound. Fortunately it was only a small bite so I headed to the hostel to disinfect it and thought that would be it. But the next day the wound started to itch like hell, actually more than any cut or wound I had ever had. So that did start to worry me a bit. I headed back out the next day to see if I could find the owner of the dog, but was fairly unlucky, as I could not find out whether the dog had actually been vaccinated against rabies or not. Following a bit of research on vaccinations and the like in Peru, with a bit of a heavy heart I opted to get on the next plane back home to get myself into proper care, and be sure I had not gotten rabies. So 2 days later I was sitting on a plane back home to get to the hospital for some antibodies, and my vaccination against rabies. Considering that to this day Pacha Mama had guided me quite well on my trip I took it as a sign that I should no longer stay in Pisac. So going home for some vaccination was not too bad, as I had to book a 2 way flight as those are generally cheaper than 1 way I figured I’d come back to Peru in about a months’ time. Turns out Pacha Mama had a different plan, as a day before I was supposed to get back on a plane I found a fairly large hole in one of my teeth that I need to get fixed before heading back out… So next week I’ll go to the dentist, and then I’ll take it from there, considering that there were 2 signs, one to get me out of Peru, and one keeping me from going back on the intended date I figure I’ll do something else next. As of now not quite sure what it will be, but considering that I rediscovered my ability to really look into nature and see its true beauty anywhere I am, wherever I will be heading next will be just perfect.
I had started my trip with my mind set on staying in Central/South America for a whole year, so as to have completely new surroundings for my journey inward, but as usual a plan turns out to be a list of things that don’t happen. Considering that I have probably learned more in the four and a half months in Costa Rica and Peru than I had in mind for the whole year, and considering that while being back home for a month I learned a few lessons that I could or probably would not have learned while being on the road; I think everything is great, and my trip is still going on even though currently I am in a location that I have known for quite some time. My recently rediscovered ability to look at things, places and life with a fresh set of eyes, has turned home into a brand new place to explore as well. But being that I still have the rest of the year off from work, as soon as I am done with the dentist, I’ll be heading back out, even though I don’t have set my mind on any specific location as of yet, I am sure the right thing will happen. Whatever that right thing may be! As long as you have a really open mind, and are comfortable with yourself you’ll find yourself in the right place all the time. So look forward to more adventures from the road in the near future, whatever they may turn out to be!