Manu jungle and more from Cusco

ManuAfter the trek, some rest was necessary. Except resting, we’ve walked around the city. Another fun experience was paragliding. Later on was 4 days in the Manu jungle: totally different climate, landscapes and animals and more interesting people in the group. Also returning for the third time to Cusco was fun: it involved a political experience.

Typical activity in PeruSore feet marked the return from the trek. After a good night’s sleep, we decided to upgrade our hostel. After many hours of walking around we finally cut a deal with a hostel that is very close to the plaza. The next days consisted mostly of hanging around the plaza, dining at restaurants with friends from different places and also watching a movie. The freezing nightswere quite annoying, but that’s where the thermal wear comes handy.

Eating outThe market was an interesting experience. First of all, nobody was robbed! All the scary stories about being spit upon as a diversion act just didn’t happen. What did happen was lots of eating. I tasted a special fruit who’s name I can’t recall. I also ate ceviche for the first time. Eating this Peruvian delight at the farthest place from the sea proved to be a mistake later on…

ParaglidingOn another day we went paragliding. This was quite fun. I jumped off a cliff (with the pro pilot behind me of course) and then floated in the air for about 30 minutes. It was over a beautiful valley near the village of Chinchero. Unfortunately, this is where the market food came to action: I threw up right after the flight. I guess it had to happen at sometime. A third world experience indeed.

Snake in the jungle

Next was a 4 day trip down into the jungle. We picked the Manu jungle after hearing many recommendations about it’s diversity and how it is untouched. I’m not such an animal fan, but it was fun mostly due to the company (operating company and the people). It began with a long ride eastwards. After making short stops on the long road we began exploring the jungle. The first thing we ran into, was this dead snake. An eagle thatThe was sitting on a treetop was eating it, and we bothered it. During the night I found out the insect repellent didn’t work so well. I guess that’s part of the adventure..

ButterflyOn the next day we woke up early to see the bird called “Cock of the Rock” in its morning ritual. It was just an orange chicken. Everybody was more concentrated in their cameras, trying to configure it for the dim light. Next we went for a trip to spot animals. We saw monkeys and lots of types of birds and butterflies. Usually someone else spotted out the birds for me, and gave me a detailed description of where thy were.

Erica lodge susetWe stopped at a village to taste some local liquer which was some sort of sweet poison. We also went to a Coca plantation and dyed ourselves with the local plants. Rafting followed. It was only class 2, but for me it was superb. It was fun going on the river and more fun conducting a battle with the other boat. Finally we reached the second night, this time on a lovely spot along the river called “Erica lodge” to see the beautiful sunset.

OmegaEarly in the next morning, we went to the Canopi (Omega). That sure was fun. After swinging to the other trees we rappelled down. When we came back to the lodge it was time to part from most of the group that went deeper into the jungle. Chen continued, so in this place we said goodbye after 3 weeks of traveling together. The remaining group consisted of me and a Peruvian woman from Lima.

MarisolThis was an interesting experience meeting a local Peruvian. She was not the ancient “authentic” villager from the mountains, but rather a real world person from Lima. It was interesting talking to her about how everyday life is in the big city (8 million, a bit more than Tel aviv). Luckily, her English was excellent, what made it easy to communicate. On the other hand, she taught me a lot of Spanish.

Walking TreeAfter dipping in the river we went to spot animals in the forest. We saw the interesting walking tree. It doesn’t really walk, but it grows new “legs” all the time. When we were returning, a big black snake surprised us. The guide couldn’t tell if it dangerous or not, but we stayed away. Later on we went to a small lake (the picture at the top), where we saw mostly birds. The gude convinced us to stay after nightfall. This was rewarding. We got to see caimans, by flashing the flashlight into their eyes. Their red eyes disclose their presence.

Balcony in Cusco PlazaThe last day of the trip was a long ride back to Cusco. Marisol invited me to join her and her family in a restaurant in Cusco. After eating fine Uruguyan meat, we went disco hopping in touristic Cusco. It was fun, and reminded me of my younger 20s.

It was already my third time in Cusco. I didn’t have too much planned, excepet arranging my transportation out of there. I did go to the recommended Inca museum, but the real treat came in the evening. There was a closing election rally of one of the preseidential candidates.

Election Rally - Ollanta HumalaIts somewhat different from the elections we have at home. The candidates are known and called by their first names. There are no big plastic banners on the streets, nor stickers on the cars. The main outdoor propoganda is graffiti. The whole event lasted about 5 hours. It was actually a live concert with the candidates speech at the end of it. Elections here are obligatory !. If you don’t vote you pay a fine of about US$40 which is quite a lot here. Everybody is travelling to vote because of this obligation.  It was hard and somewhat expensive getting tickets to travel in those days.

Unfortunately, the Peruvians didn’t have good options: One candidate is an extreme leftist (even for me) that has tried to violently overthrow the government a few years ago, while the other one was the president in the 80s, causing hyperinflation and failing to deal with the terrorists. Hot Used Jet Boats Sale Many people are going to vote “Blank”. I just sat on a balcony opposite the stage and watched it.
Afterwards, I met Ai and Pablo for the last time, before leaving town.
See more pictures here.
That’s it. Next is Huaraz area.