End of the Andean Mountain Passes, Peru


This morning finds your correspondent in the Starbuck’s in Cuzco sucking on a triple shot latte having just had a huge breakfast at Paddy’s pub. Am surrounded by ever-so-serious looking designer tourists talking earnestly of their impending adventure to Machu Picchu. They seem to have no idea that they are in the company of bicycling touring greatness! How can they be so completely oblivious, all decked out in their matching brand sunglasses and backpacks, that I have suffered through months of endurance, river crossings, huge mountain passes, battle with Big Hats and dogs and bottom cheek welts in order to get to my triple latte? I just overheard one prat talking about how he and his equally idiotic friend are going trekking and just to make it more difficult they are going to fill their designer backpacks with oh-so-heavy water bottles. Oh dear.

A half a tonne of angry pot roast

With my arrival in Cuzco I mark the end of the big mountain passes of the Andes. Having been climbing up through mountain passes in the Andes throughout southern Colombia,  Ecuador and Peru, I’m delighted to report that I think I’m done with the big mountain passes for this little trip.

I may have been unfair to synchronised swimming in my last posting. On further reflection and on watching a bit of this sport this morning, it is actually much more ridiculous than I had previously implied. There is as much justification for live chicken juggling in a serious international sporting meet than seeing people dangle themselves upside-down in a tub of water and wave their arms and legs about the place, admittedly in a synchronized manner, all the time wearing those tortured grimaces. What the hell is it that they think they are doing before they jump in the pool anyway?? Marvelous stuff!

Irritating the hell out of bulls

The Mexican girls did score highly for artistic impression for spitting pool water at each other whilst performing a mock mutual synchronised erotic-strangulation maneuver (which I must admit I found oddly arousing). Have to wonder how the athletes that actually go higher, faster and longer etc view this stuff? It’s making a mockery of serious sports such as curling and synchronized pizza making. Yes, yes, it’s no doubt difficult to do. “I’d like to see you try it?” I already hear some bleating. It is, however, entirely plausible for something to be difficult and ridiculous…simultaneously.

Lovely snow peaks a day wst of Cuzco
East of Ocros

Every shop keeper in Peru continues in an unremitting search for change. If we were somehow able to bottle and utilize the vast amount of human expended energy in Latin America that is squandered in the never ending search for change, the human race could easily have colonized Mars by now.

123km and 2,300metres to Cuzco

I had occasion to see the bull fighting in Chincheros a few days back up the road (refer photos). ‘A lone man facing single-handedly a half a ton of angry pot roast’. It was great to see some of the local lads have a go at irritating the bulls, we shouted “Olé!” every time one was gored (Tom Leherer).

Having arrived in Cuzco I will join the throng of tourists wondering around the ally-ways shopping for ridiculously expensive crap. I’m tired, surely, but the legs are feeling strong from the experience of doing all of the mountain passes of the Andes. Now I can happily plough into a mountain pass and churn up hillsides without a hint of the pain and trepidation that used to accompany such undertakings. Half the battle in getting up these things is in the head rather than the legs anyway.

On-on.

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