Machu Picchu. Before our visit we watched a documentary explaining the history of the sacred attraction called, “Ghosts of Machu Picchu”. During our tour I earned the title, “The Ghost of Machu Picchu”. Let me explain why. I have a pretty fair complexion and very strong sunscreen. The combination of those two things along with the lack of a mirror caused me to look about as white as the salt mine we visited in Moray (featured below). On the bright side (pun intended), I didn’t get at all sunburnt throughout our time at Machu Picchu, which is almost 8,000 feet closer to the sun than my hometown. I even took one of the most scenic, sunniest, power naps of my life, and woke up as pale as ever. Thank you, an abundance of CVS generic brand sunscreen!
Now that I’ve spoken almost sol-ly (another sun pun if you speak Spanish) about how I managed not to get burnt, I’d like to talk about an experience that I had at Machu Picchu, which first began with the journey there. After taking the train to Aguas Calientes, which is this tacky little town that only exists for tourists visiting Machu Picchu, we took a bus up to the top of the mountain. Despite the somewhat nauseating curves along the road, the 30-minute bus ride passed quickly for me because I was sitting next to a very interesting man named Puma. Puma is currently studying management at the University of Saint Anthony in Cusco, and in his spare time works at a hotel called Casa Andina. He has a dream of creating his own Peruvian tourism agency. When we arrived at the top of Machu Picchu I said goodbye to my friend Puma, never expecting to see him again.
As I was climbing up towards “La Puerta del Sol” with the rest of the group, I heard my name being called, but with an N at the end instead of an M. I turned around and it was Puma! He happened to be doing the same hike we were. When we reached La Puerta del Sol, Puma asked me if he could take a picture with our group to use as advertising material for his tourism company. We posed by the picturesque ruins, happy to help out a fellow student.
The salt mines of Moray
A panoramic photo of Machu Picchu taken by Jeff Greenberg