BootsnAll Travel Network

Rather than emailing photo updates during my trip, I'll use this site for one stop shopping. Come back and check in. Or not. Either way, I'll drink a Pisco Sour in your honor.

Machu Picchu: check

May 16th, 2010

machu-matt.jpg Today was unbelievable.  Not because I visted Machu Picchu, but because I got more done before noon than I have in a long, long time.  But the site was pretty impressive in its own right.  I got out of bed at 4am so I’d be on the mountain in time to see the sun’s first rays hit Macchu Pichu sometime around 6:50am.  But really, I needed to be there early because only the first 400 people receive a pass to climb the peak that overlooks the ruins.  My stamp read 363!  Without going into extensive detail, it’s a real ordeal getting up to Machu Picchu, but so worth it.  I’m in awe of the fact that the Incas were able to build such an extensive city in such a remote location more than 500 years ago.


As for my trek up Wayna Picchu (the aforementioned climb limited to 400 people), it nearly killed me.  Between the high altitude and my, ahem, lack of proper conditioning… wow!  But I’m glad I pushed on.  The view from the top:

wayna1.jpgBottom line: really remarkable day. I catch a train in about 90 minutes for a small town in a nearby valley.  I’ve never looked forward to a good night’s sleep as much as I am tonight.  Hope everyone’s well.

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Happy Machu Picchu Eve

May 15th, 2010

It really should be a holiday for a lot of the tourists here.   I’m in Aguas Calientes tonight, a pure tourist-trap-of-town cultivated for no other reason than the fact that tourists needed a launching pad to Machu Picchu.  There was no other town in the vicinity when the Peruvian government decided to start pimping out the ruins in the early part of the 20th century.

Back to Machu Picchu Eve.  Many of the people who are visiting the ruins have been dreaming of this for years.  I’ve been dreaming of it for months.  Not that I’m not totally excited about the fact.  But it was never on my radar in the way that the Pyramids at Giza have been.  Or the Roman Coliseum was.  So while I’m completely in awe of the pending visit, lots of my tourist colleagues are realizing a long time dream.  So for these people it is indeed Machu Picchu Eve.

I’ll rise at 4am tomorrow, mostly because they only let 400 people a day climb the peak that overlooks the ruins — the site from which all the famous photos are taken.   And one recent visitor said he got in line at 6am and he was way too late.

So sleep tight my North American friends… tonight Machu Claus is coming, only he prefers ceviche to cookies and milk.


Did Maslow say anything about coffee?

May 14th, 2010

I know he covered the shelter, love, belonging, and all that crap.  But Portlanders will argue that good coffee should be added to that list of basic human needs.  And upon arriving in Cusco this morning I found a cafe right around the corner from my hotel that serves a fantastic cup of coffee.


Flying in I got a good glimpse of the Andean foothills… what we call mountains in Oregon.  And I’m staying in an 18th century colonial house.  So far, so good in Peru.


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Take the tour

May 12th, 2010

For those interested in stalking me, er, I mean seeing where I’ll be headed in Peru… check out this Google maps tour.

View Larger Map

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Locked and loaded

May 12th, 2010


24 hours from now I’ll be trying to breathe at 11,200 feet.  That’s not the plane ride, that’s the destination!  Cuzco is high up in the Andes and to combat any potential altitude sickness, I have my Diamox prescription in hand.  For all of you non-pharmaceutical groupies out there, we’re talking anti-altitude sickness medicine.  Ironically the side effects are quite similar to the very condition I’m trying to prevent.

side effects

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Hats off to you

May 8th, 2010

One of the things I’ll be doing in Peru is a 5 day, 62km hike to a set of Inca ruins called Choquequirao.  When I emailed one of the guys who offers guided trips to Choquequirao, he passed along a number of tips about doing the hike.  One of those tips was “bring the widest brim sun hat you can.”  The guide wrote that, “it is ferociously hot during the day if the sun is out. Stress ferociously!”

So that’s how I ended up at REI in downtown Portland shopping for sun hats.  Now let me tell you, wearing a hat in the blistering sun of the Andean Mountains is one thing.  But trying on sun hats in an urban Amercian city is another thing altogether.  More to the point, it’s impossible to wear a hat like this at REI(or your dining room) and not feel like a jackass:


The purchasing process inevitably comes to that moment where you ask the person next to you, “how do I look in this?”  And in this case, there is no good answer to that question.  You simply press on, comforted by the fact that you will be shielded from the sun and reassured by your knowledge that the photo above is already how Peruvians view Americans.  You’re just part of the status quo.

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Gearing up

May 6th, 2010

What was it the Boy Scouts were always preaching?  “Down with the gays!?”  No, not that one.  “Be Prepared?”  Yea, that’s the one.

Well, it’s always struck me as a bit odd that when you’re gearing up for a trip, the smallest discoveries seem so exciting.  Just when I thought I was gonna have to lug a half-used roll of toilet paper to South America, today Fred Meyer introduced me to “Charmin To Go.”


I’m not entirely ready for the trip, but it’s pretty safe to say that my ass is ready to go.

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The first post

May 5th, 2010

Ok, here we go.  After months of planning, my trip to Peru is just 8 days away.  I’ll be there 16 days, visiting what is known as the Sacred Valley.  It was the center of the Inca Empire.  You can google things like Machu Picchu and Choquequirao to get an idea of why I’m going.  I’m really looking forward to this; it’s my first solo trip and I just hope I’m in good enough shape for some of the hikes that lie ahead.

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