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Trails & Techno_Text_December 24

Trails & Techno_Text_December 24

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Published by Patrick Archer
Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.

Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.


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Published by: Patrick Archer on Jan 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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cajero autom
automatic cashier 
.Quechua:the officiallanguage of the Incas.agenica de viajes:travelagency
On Christmas Eve we were up by 8:00 for a quick breakfast in Lida’sdining room. At the table, we struck up a conversation with a youngcouple from Sydney, Australia. They encouraged us to take a scenic tourof the
Valle Sagrado
with a local travel operator known as
. Wepolished off our pancakes and left the hostel around 9:00.I had no cash and made a dash to the only ATM inCusco on
 Avenida del Sol 
 which, like the bathroom in theTacna café, deserves its own chapter in our ongoingtravelogue. With all of the surrounding street vendors andpotential pickpockets, you had to move fast. Unfortunately, as this was the oldest known ATM in the WesternHemisphere, that was nearly impossible. I wastempted to peer through the money slot to seeif a tiny Cusco merchant were actually insidethe
counting the local currency. I halfway expected the machine toask me to select my language of choice,
, when my ducats finally came creeping out of the metal box.Five minutes and two-hundred crisp
nuevos soles 
later, I ran to the
 Jaguar agencia de viajes 
, caught up with Andy and paid twenty 
for a
Valle Sagrado
tourticket. We were quickly escorted to a waitingvan parked one block west of the
Plaza de  Armas 
. Andy and I were the last twopassengers to climb aboard the twenty-seat
van that was packed to the rafters withEuropean trekkers and tourists. Our tourguide, Martín Martinez, a native of the townof Chinchero, addressed his captive audiencein a mixture of Spanish, perfect English andsome occasional Quechua for good measure.
martes24 de diciembreCusco a Valle Sagrado a Cusco, Perú
Martín Martinez
D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J V V V V V  
1 2 3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 
Objetivo: Valle Sagrado TourModo:MicroDistancia:95 kilómetros
 As we taxied down
 Avenida del Sol 
, Martín gave us a brief overview of the trip and said that we would be back in Cusco around 19:00. A meretwenty 
for ten hours of sightseeing was hard to pass up.The first leg of our ten-hour journey took us northeast of Cusco. It was one of the highest points in the region at 3,500 meters. After athirty-minute drive, we officially entered the Sacred Valley of the Incas:home to an impressive collection of Inca ruins and agricultural terraces,most notably in the cities of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo. Legend has itthat the fertile soil in this temperate valley yields close to two-hundredfifty different varieties of 
. We motored down Main Street Pisaq and the van came to a stop ina gravel lot just outside that citys archaeological remains. The ruinsthemselves were modest, yet intact-enough for Martín to teach us a lessonin architecture. Our guide pointed out the three main characteristics of 
9:15 10:28
Entering Valle SagradoPlaza de ArmasChinchero Cathedral
Fútbol & Future StarsOllantaytambo FortressRoadside lunch in Calca
Mantas by the Pound
f   i    ni     s s t    a t   
Pisaq Agricultural terraces“Saque mi foto”
choclo:cornSaque mi foto:Take my picture.After doing so, your subject willexpect a tip.trucha:trout
Inca design evident in the
Valle Sagrado
ruins: 1) non-vertical walls, 2) mortar-free dry construction, and 3) trapezoidal windows and doorways. After thirty minutes, as we walked back to thevan along the same path, we came across a preciouspair of young village girls waiting for us. Dressed in white blouses, black vests, brown and gold alpacasweaters and caps, they would plead “
Saque mi foto
” and implore withtheir big brown eyes. Someone in the group would inevitably break down and start snapping away. Seeing these five year-olds practically begging to the point of tears, one realizes just how dependent inhabitantsof the
Valle Sagrado
are on tourism revenue. We returned to the market in Pisaq for twenty minutes of shoppingbefore heading an hour west to a small roadside eatery in the town of  Yucay. The ten
meal was served buffet style and included a randommixture of 
(it’s everywhere),
, and fettucini. Andy and I talkedbriefly with a few of the folks seated at our table: a retired Canadianliterature professor, a Swedish guy and his Brazilian girlfriend, an Italiandrifter who was heading to Machu Picchu for “at least a month” and an Australian who was spending five weeks in Perú.The next stop on our journey was Ollantaytambo: one of the firstInca settlements and the site of a bloody yearlong battle between theSpanish and the Incas during the Conquest of the 1530s. That the Incasemerged victorious from that conflict is living testament to the quality of the fortress that they constructed atOllantaytambo. Unlike the Spaniardscenturies before us, we climbed easily to thesacred altar atop the fortress ruins. Westrained our eyes in search of the various figures that Martín wasdescribing. Apparently, the Incas had carved assorted animal figures inthe surrounding mountain faces. Even the town below us was supposedly laid out in the shape of an ear of corn. And while we could discernsomething oblong, Martín, like his Inca ancestors, seemed to have a fairly active imagination.Upon departure, the parking lot in which our Isuzu was resting was

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