19 October 2023 Aguas Calientes to Cuzco
In search of new directions
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”Attributed to various Buddhist teachers
.A good night’s sleep and I naturally wake-up up at 6 am. No sense of anti-climax, if anything a sense of gratitude and appreciation at finding myself where I am on this day.
When I was drinking alcoholically, maybe around my 21st birthday, I didn’t aspire or expect to live beyond the age of thirty. Although, I did stop drinking when I was 39 years old, I am still amazed that I doubled my own life expectancy to 60 and beyond. It makes me smile just thinking about it.
I had, for want of a kind word, another one of those ‘uninspiring’ breakfasts, but I was grateful for the coffee and banana. I checked out at 10 am, leaving my bags at the HTL Samananchis Machupicchu.
There was a nice Café nearby, so I had coffee and cake, and booked the Quechua ApartHotel back in Cuzco for tonight. I had a slow walk and wandered around Aguas Caliente on the railway station side of town.I took time to sit in the shade by the rapidly flowing river. From this point on I don’t have any hotel rooms booked in advance. Feeling contented and a long way from depression.
I opted for a Chinese meal for lunch. There seems to be quite a calling for Chinese food in Peru, but I digress. I asked the waiter if I could have extra chillies with my chicken noodles. I didn’t think that he understood my request as he brought me a small dish with some halfed limes and, what appeared to be, sliced tomatoes. Oh well, nevermind. I popped one of the slices of ‘tomato’ into my mouth only to realise the waiter had understood. It took a lot of mind over matter, to remain calm and serene as my mouth and stomach instantly disapproved of my choice of tidbit. After a couple of minutes and a tiny sip of soda, the eruption subsided and I continued the meal more cautiously.
After collecting my bags I headed for the station. The journey back to Cuzco with Peru Rail – ‘bimodal’ both train and bus – was organised chaos. If Peru Rail were clear about the ‘bimodal’ journey, I would have only booked one-way with them and returned to Cuzco or Lima by bus… saving a lot of money in the process.
I had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting next to two intoxicated northern Europeans, both with beer bottles in hand, who talked at the top of thier voices for the entire 2 hour drive from Ollantaytambo to Cuzco. I turned my hearing aids to minimum volume but they were still too loud. The rest of the bus passengers were obviously tired, I couldn’t hear anyone else talking. After finishing thier beer they just dropped the bottles behind them into the luggage space and laughed. I am so glad and grateful for my own sobriety.
Winners and losers… the bus did arrive in Cuzco ahead of schedule. The Quechua ApartHotel was a little further away from San Pedro Station, but much cheaper than the Hotel Monasterio for tonight.
As I have said before, life is a series of disappointments, one after the other. Big disappointments, and little ones. It’s not personal, it’s just life. If I can learn to ride the waves of disappointment then they change from tsunamis to ripples. There are still disappointments but I don’t get swept away and drown in them so much.
- Train ticket Aguas Caliente (MP) to San Pedro (Cuzco) bought in advance € 64 each way
- Fika coffee and cheese cake € 7
- Chinese lunch (2 courses) € 6
- Quechua ApartHotel (through Booking.com) € 22 with breakfast
- Coffee € 2