Friday, May 22, 2009

10 Pics from Peru

The light playing tricks at Sacsayhuayman, Incan military training grounds near Cusco


From horseback, a view of dogs running wild above the hills of Cusco


Somewhere on Day 2's killer, 8-hour hike to Machu Picchu


Trekking through 3 different ecosystems on Day 2 of the hike


Another glorious view of Peru on Day 2


Putting faith in one of several rickety bridges on Day 2


On Day 3, climbing one of the four imposing ladders, on the way to the top of Mt. Putucusi


At last, on Day 4, a view of the llamas grazing the terraces of Machu Picchu


On the grounds of Machu Picchu


An aerial view of Machu Picchu from Wayna Picchu, a nearby mountain

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peru

I am back in Cusco tonight after a four day trip to Machu Picchu. In a way I feel I have returned to my hometown. And for that reason I feel sadness at having to leave the city tomorrow to head back to New York. Of all the countries I have visited in this world, I can safely say none match Peru in terms of physical beauty. I will post some of these pics very soon. What I won´t be able to post is the real kindness I received, the genuine affection that I have come to develop for some of the locals. I will truly miss the people at Hotel Ninos. They made me feel like family my entire stay. But there were others, too. Sebastien, who led me on horseback above the hills of Cusco. And the Korean owners of the only Korean restaurant in Cusco. And Victor who helped plan my trip to Machu Picchu. And then there were the people who accompanied me on my journey. 2 Danes, 2 Canadians, 4 Israelis and 1 Brit. Who introduced me to Stieg Larsson and discussed Peter Hoeg with me. Who made me feel like I was much younger than my 40 years. Who taught me that life in Israel is difficult but that hope must prevail. Who hiked every single treacherous trail with me. Who made me laugh so much of the way, made me feel connected to the world. I wish I could bring all these people back to New York.

I am so thankful that I was able to make this trip in this lifetime. The memories of the mountains, of the clouds, of the hot springs where people from all over the world gathered, I will guard these in my heart forever.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who knew there would be Internet cafes all over Cusco?

And that they would be so cheap? For a dollar you get an hour and a half worth of time! OK, since I am not planning on spending an hour and a half here, I´ll just give some general comments.

1. I am singularly impressed by the gentleness of the locals here. On top of that they look you straight in the eye and smile when you say hola.
2. I am staying in a hotel called Ninos Hotel. You can find it at http://www.ninoshotel.com/. Please check it out if you can. I am so humbled by how much one person can accomplish.
3. Yesterday I hiked to a place called Sacsayhuyman, pictured above. You can read about it at Wikipedia, but you had to be there to experience the vibe it gave off. It was truly electric.
4. Today I went horseback riding above the town of Cusco. I will post those pics when I get back. To see the mountains under such a clear blue sky, dogs and horses running about, to feel the sun beating down, it was all so peaceful. But I also had a personable, adorable 19 year old guide. Between my Spanish and his English, we laughed for three hours. I hope I am not walking like a cowboy tomorrow.
5. Tomorrow I am starting a four day biking and hiking trip to Machu Picchu which will mark the end of my time in Peru. I am planning on coming back again so if anyone wants to join me next time, you´ll have someone as a guide.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Day at the Movies

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I didn't know there was going to be so much work in planning a trekking trip to Peru, but now that it's done I can't wait to get on the plane. And speaking of trekking, I went to see the new Star Trek picture today, desperate to catch it before I left. I don't really see a need to review it because either you already saw it on Friday or aren't planning to see it at all. I loved it! It was everything I hoped it would be and more, on account of all the unexpected humor. A lot of people in the audience were clearly loving it as much as I was, clapping when Leonard Nimoy appeared on screen (how time has flown) and again when the credits started rolling.

During the previews was this little trailer for Pixar's latest, Up!, that stars an adorable sounding, chubby Asian kid!!! How awesome is that. It seems like Pixar really did their homework on this one, tapping into the Asian stereotype of the kid with the book smarts who doesn't always know how to apply his knowledge to the real world. I can't wait to see myself in this movie!