Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day 12: So Long Cusco

It was so wonderful to wake up and not have anything to do. That morning back in our apartment, we slept in more than any other day during the entire trip. When we finally got out of bed, we decided it was high time to go and get our hands on some tickets to our next stop, Puno.

We decided that we'd walk down to Jesus' travel office on Avenidas El Sol, about a 30 minute walk from our apartment. Finding the place ended up being more challenging than I thought. As we made our way down the avenue, we realized that that the street numbers don't actually work like other modern cities? What's different? Well, in Cusco, it appears that they don't believe in having each city block represent a block of 100 addresses. So you could have 802 and 305 right next door to each, followed by 402 and 848 following right after. Peru was just full of surprises.

When we finally arrived at our destination, we found a two story shopping center filled with small businesses offering various services such as dentistry, travel, hair cuts, and more. As we made our way inside, a local asked us where we were off to. Alin and I were able to explain that we were in search of a particular travel agent. She was instantly familiar but told us that they won't be open until 1:00PM. Intent on seeing this for ourselves, we made our way upstairs to find that most of the shopping center appeared to be closed for business. Unfortunately, the lady was right, we'd get no help until 1.

Alin and I decided to head out and get some food. It was about 11:30 and we were starting to get hungry. We walked back up the street a few blocks to arrive at a small Italian restaurant. I was desperately craving that pesto pasta we had the other night at the Plaza de Arms. Alin decided to order a small pizza and we split the lunch between the two of us. After lunch, we headed back for a second try. Rats, still closed.

A few doors down, there was another agency which appeared to be open. She let us know that they are actually in there, but are have the doors locked and the signs closed. Apparently the use this day to work on paperwork. With a few knocks we were able to get a response.

We sat down with Jesus and our other bud from the night before. After a few moments of catching up, we got down to business. Jesus made a few calls and came up with a quote for $20 to take a bus to Puno. We were gracious and let Jesus know we'd call him back. We decided to head back out and try our friends at SAS travel to see what they could come up with.

Along the way, stopped into a photo lab and backed up all of our photos to CD, we did some shopping and picked up a few items for family. Alin picked up some clothes for Logan, a sauce tray for us, some small trinkets for Chris and Salpi and mama and papa. I was intent on finding a photo album to fill with our memories of this trip, but I wasn't able to find one at the price I was looking for so we moved on.

When we finally got to SAS, we spent 30 minutes haggling with our favorite sales consultant. She finally sold us on a pair of tickets on the direct route bus leaving at 9AM, with a free pick-up from our apartment. We ended up spending $25 a person with the ride.

After picking up the tickets, we did more shopping and then headed back to our apartment for a good night's rest. When we got back to our apartment, we spent 30 minutes packing up our belongings and leaving just what we needed for the next day out and about.

For dinner, we decided that we'd dine in tonight, finishing our left overs from the afternoon lunch. We laid in bed while we ate and watched TV programming all dubbed in Spanish. It was great, I started to really understand what was going on in the conversation, a marked improvement over the weeks prior.

After an hour of minding numbing, it was time for bed. We'd have a long day tomorrow and we needed our rest.

-s

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