After a night in Lima we flew off to Cuzco to meet up with our daughter Meghan and her boyfriend Tyler. Found a great little hotel (Corihuasi) about 2 blocks off the main plaza in Cuzco. That would be uphill from the plaza. Cuzco sits at around 11,000 feet. There is a distinct lack of oxygen in the air. We all felt it, but Tyler and I got hit the hardest. I was down for the count for a whole day feeling like I needed to sleep 14 hours a day, could not get warm, had zero appetite and my head hurt. Other than that it was OK. Our hotel had a large bottle of oxygen in the lobby, just in case the guests needed it. Then along came the miracle drug, Diamox (Acetazolamide). This stuff changes your blood chemistry just enough so the brain thinks there’s too much CO2 in your system. It then subtlety decides to breath a little deeper and a little more often. The next 3 or 4 days using it I could actually walk uphill again. Without it, the trip would have sucked for me. It took me 6 or 7 days to acclimate.
We did a number of trips to towns and ruins near Cuzco. Most are Quechua names. The locals up here in the Andes mostly speak the Quechua that is derived from the Inca language; some 8 to 10 million people speak it. Except for the youngest rural kids, they all seem to know Spanish too. When you are tired, the place names seem to become somewhat of a cruel tongue twister, Ollantaytambo. I know at least one Quechua word, wasi. It means casa in Spanish, i.e. house. Pretty impressive, ah. OK, enough verbiage, here’s some Andean pics (click to biggerate them), not necessarily in anywhere near the order we took them.
“The Incas cut the stones, by cracking it and introducing slim pieces of wood. Then, they pour water in the wood, the wood absorb the water and expand. When the crack in the stone gets bigger, they repeat the steps with bigger pieces of wood. The method was enough to crack the stones in large rectangular shapes.”