Archive for October 2016

Machu Picchu Peru, September 2016   1 comment

Presenting Lari’s latest episode of
“Hawaiian in Peru”
Lari with Lois Kuge
September 1-19, 2016

Last year, Lois asked me if I’d like to go to Machu Picchu, and I said yes. So I found this smarTour for September 5-15, and we both signed up. Our tour group had only 23 of us, and everyone was congenial and fun to be with. The weather was perfect, sunny with blue skies and cool breezes. Most of us took meds to prevent altitude sickness. They provide coca tea for high altitude, but I did not want to take it since it is high in caffeine.
We had beautiful and convenient hotels in all locations and our guides were very knowledgeable. We stayed high up in the Sacred Valley in a small village called Yucay. The first day, we went to several villages in the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba and Pisac. We saw how the people lived in a kancha (condo) with dirt floors with guinea pigs running around inside. We shopped at the Wednesday market in Pisac, where we bargained for all kinds of crafts and gifts.
The next day, we took a train to Agua Caliente, the small village next to a river at the base of the mountain, then caught the shuttle bus by many switchbacks up to Machu Picchu. It was amazing! We spent hours walking through the ancient city, visiting the Sun Temple, the room of the 3 windows, the room with 2 mirrors that reflect the stars and universe, the 2-window temple and more. The construction made of granite rocks was precise and earthquake proof.
We took a train to Cusco, where we stayed for two days. Our hotel was near the main square and we had free time to walk around the old town to shop, eat and enjoy. Lois and I had guinea pig for lunch one day and we bought soft alpaca wool -Lois got a sweater and I got a scarf.
An all-day bus ride south took us to Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Our hotel was on the shores of the lake and the next day, we walked down to the pier where a boat was waiting to take us for the day’s adventure. The first stop was a floating island home of Uros Indians. Kantuta has 7 families on their little island with 7 houses. The head of this island is Nestor. Everything is made from Totora reeds which grow profusely in this area of the Lake. The island, their homes, their beds, their boats, are made from the reeds, which also can be eaten, used for medicine, and toilet paper and much more. We learned how they built and maintained their floating reed island and how they live. They took us on their reed boat to ride around to see other floating island villages in the area, and when we bid farewell, they sang us songs. It was the most fascinating and fun visit ever! Next, our boat took us to Taquile Island where we trekked up from the pier to the village and had lunch prepared by a native family. We had quinoa soup and trout with potatoes and rice. They also entertained us with song and dance.
The next day we flew to Lima where we had a half-day tour and free time to walk around and shop near our hotel. After a farewell dinner, it was time to go to the airport for our flights home.
I took the tour from New York so that I could visit Yvette and her family before and after the tour. I enjoyed being with the kids and even went to see The Color Purple on Broadway. We went to the Bronx Zoo, took the PATH across the Hudson River to Jersey City for Sunday brunch, and I gave Yvette and Erik a date night. We also had lovely picnics in the back yard with friends from Gateway complex where they live.

Lari’s Top Six:
6. The unique cuisine such as guinea pig and alpaca
5. People in our tour group
4. Villages in Sacred Valley
3. Cusco
2. Machu Picchu
1. Uros floating islands in Lake Titicaca


Llama and their cousins Alpaca, who are smaller and provide soft wool for clothing.


Our smarTour group at Machu Picchu.


Guinea pigs are raised in their houses for food.


Lois and I ate guinea pig for lunch in Cusco


We are riding the train to Agua Caliente on the way to Machu Picchu.


Here I am in Machu Picchu!


Cusco’s cathedral at the Plaza de Armes (main square) is composed of 3 churches


The amazing floating islands of the Uros Indians are built from reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca.


The island we visited had 7 families and 7 houses. This is the family I visited and I bought some of their crafts.


This is the welcoming arch on Taquile Island.


I visited Yvette and her family in New York before and after Peru.

Posted October 1, 2016 by lariyasui in South America

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