I really needed to find a place to stay in Cusco where I could have my motorcycle with me. Too many sleepless nights in the other place worrying about whether my bike survived another night 2 blocks away. So after scouring the entire town, I found a place where the owner (who hit and damaged my bike pannier.. and then fixed it no worries) was so kind to give me a super great deal for long term stay. And on top of that I gained a much more peaceful place with a view!
Four days before I moved here, I got the dreaded Inca Bug. You can see by the lack of hygiene practices here with food how easy that would be. I did my best to avoid it.. but it got me bad. I have never been so sick in my life. I could not eat a thing. Even so I was up all day and all night throwing up. And during this time I needed to move to the new place. I made the most awful mistake.
On these small streets you can not stop any vehicle for more than a second before every single car behind you is blaring their horns. Come on! Give me a chance to shut the door! When the taxi dropped me off with all my gear, I paid him with all the horns blaring behind me, and barely able to move from being so horribly sick, I crawled out of the taxi and left my helmet in the seat next to me (where I purposely placed it to protect the visor).
It was hours before I realized I did this. Staying in the same place was a friend, Scott Hughes and his son Owen. Scott has been traveling South America on his Kawasaki KLR and introduced himself to me in Chile a couple months ago.
Today is my birthday and they invited me to a mad game of Rummy. As much as I’d like to just lay in my bed, I haven’t had anybody to talk to in English for days.
Anyway, while playing cards, a thought just popped up in my head.. “Where is my helmet?” I have many other things, back pack, camera, gloves, riding boots, etc etc. Why the heck I got this thought without even thinking about my gear I have no idea.
I ran up to my room and sure enough, it’s not here! I ran to the staff.. did I leave my helmet here at ‘Recepcion’? “No, Senorita Sherri. No hay cazco aqui” Shi…. Only then did I realize what I’ve done. Lord have Mercy, how could I be so dumb.
The days following I looked at every single moto on the streets of Cusco to see if they were wearing a black helmet that says “Sherri Jo” on the back. Nada. The staff took me to the thieves market on Saturday morning where you can likely recover your stolen phone, camera or backpack.. Nada. This is something I can’t play around with. If I don’t have a helmet, I can’t leave. A supersize policeman put me on the back of his very small 100cc motorcycle with a shonky oversized helmet and took me to “motorcycle street”.. where you can find any moto related shops. They had one sort-of decent helmet, but all were made very cheaply in China. When I researched this brand, it was not recommended for safety. My only choice came down to ordering a new one from the United States with higher safety standards.. this was important to me. What a bummer, and a whole lot of money I didn’t want to spend. Happy Birthday Sherri Jo….
Another friend came to town, Petar Rikic from Croatia. I met him in Quito Ecuador while traveling with Kevin. From all the time alone in Cusco, it’s so good to have friends around now. We had so much fun and went NIGHTLY to our favorite local hangout for beers. And young Petar won’t let you off until you play pool with him at Norton Rats on the plaza.
Jeff, the owner, rode here from USA on his Norton many years ago and decided to stay. He has kept a book here for Moto-Adventurers to sign over 12 years. Not only was it an honor to sign it myself, (I made it to the very last page in a book with some of the greatest well known riders of the world), but it’s such a great record of history from many whom I’ve met personally. I even found Kevin’s signature from when he was here in March while I was in Chile. That brought a tear.. It’s a fascinating book to look through while having a beer (or two).
Petar and I set out for the markets.. I have been many times, but this is his first to this particular market (San Pedro) in Cusco. Part of what gives me the thrill of traveling the world is seeing how other people live and what they eat. This market has a great “gasp” factor. If you don’t like photos of dead things, you might pass on the following photos.
Little tiny frogs for sale.
Cow noses? I asked twice.. it’s for making soup!
Those are the worst I will show you. There are other animal pieces and parts that I’d rather not include…
The good luck clay bulls.. Usually you see them placed on the roof of houses to ward off bad spirits. Not selling too well today??
Some fairly disturbing mannequins to help sell childrens clothes.
As I walk around town, I still can’t help but to scan every person on a motorcycle for my helmet. I’m completely prepared for when I encounter them. Traffic is slow enough I can stop them with a karate chop! Whack! Then I’m pulling that helmet off while they’re on the ground. Let them call the police over. it’s mine and I can prove it! (I’d never actually do this, I’d be too scared, but these are the thoughts that went through my mind.. 😉
The streets around the plaza are closed again today, this time for protests.. And one that I agree with! They are marching with their dogs for the protection of animals.. Hallelujah!!
Petar is super keen to get out on the bikes and explore the dirt roads around here. He is so young (22) and super persuasive! “Come, on.. let’s ride! Let’s ride! Come on….please please please???” I was reluctant because I am missing an important component.. the helmet! But, I have to admit, I could really use some time away on the bike. So! With the thinking cap on I went the next morning to ask the moto shops that rent bikes if I can borrow a helmet. That was easy! Got the helmet, told Petar, and he was over on his bike in a flash. “Are you ready yet? Are you ready yet?!” Yes, Petar.. I’ve been waiting on you!! Ha!
Just a day trip today.. my KTM looks so weird without the panniers on!
Petar and I decided to buy the 3 Ruins pass.. which includes entry into Ollantaytambo, Moray, and Chinchero. On the ride, it didn’t take long for us to just pull over and enjoy the view of the mountains ahead.
An even nicer view into the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Oops, we’re not there yet. We are spending more time enjoying views and taking photos outside before even getting to the ruins!
Aha.. here is Moray.. finally!
Moray is thought to be the site of agricultural experiments. From Wikipedia: The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and bottom. This large temperature difference was possibly used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. In other words, Moray was perhaps an Inca agricultural experiment station. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system.
Moray was one place I was really wanting to see, so check that one off the list.
One of my favorite photos of Petar as we are riding the dirt tracks away from Moray. The markets have the gasp factor, but so do the roads around here.
On this dirt road when the sun poked out behind the clouds, a quick photo of a young girl and her lambs.
Through the village and back out on to the main road toward Cusco where we’ll make one last stop to Chinchero.
We had to park the bikes several streets away from the Chinchero ruins. I feel bad that I cut Petar’s head off, but I remember this and wanted to include this old lady passing by. As she marched by quickly, her stare just screamed.. “Damn foreigners..” Ha! In our riding gear, we do look like space aliens in comparison to their clothes.
In town there is a definite contrast to the Inca construction and what the Spanish built right on top.
Lots of art and souvenirs in this town as well. I loved these dolls, nearly bought a couple, but as usual, refrained…. no space on the bike!
The Chinchero Inca ruins below, Catholic Spanish Church built on top.
It seems like this door might be a bit ‘drafty’…
As usual, crawling around on the ruins lets my imagination run wild. What is this place that I’m sitting on.. Did they do sacrifices here? It’s quite disturbing that is where my mind goes.. I’ve seen too many movies.. ;-/
While on the ruins, I was wondering what those women are doing in the field.
They are working on potatoes! From what I can tell, they are drying them. The barefoot lady is turning them with her feet.
Suns starting to get low.. we better start making our way back to the bikes.
Back in the village and I love seeing the locals in their traditional dress. These clothes are really beautiful. Each piece is hand died, hand woven and takes weeks to make just one piece.
I caught these two girls doing their homework and texting. The quickly hid the mobile phone… gotcha! I won’t tell your parents, don’t worry…
This lady is spinning that nice red wool. I asked her how they get the deep red color and she told me from beetles. Beetles!?! I don’t know how that works, and I didn’t see any personally.. so maybe?
The kids are playing marbles near the bikes. Marbles are great, and I think I’ve seen kids play with them in nearly every country except in the western world (where each child seems to have electronic toys instead from my observation).
While I was preparing to get on the bike with helmet and gloves, these gorgeous girls came up quietly and asked if I would be interested in their bracelets. I just happened to be in the mood for a new bracelet.. so I bought two! That is something that I can buy that won’t take up any space on the bike..
And there ya go! A day out around Peru with Petar!
Back home again to Cusco…
Back to El Balcon, and Talo the owner peeks his head out the door to see who’s making noises in his parking space. Sola yo, Talo, La Gringa!! 😉
Once I tucked my bike away, there was Young Petar still waiting at the door. Let’s go on another ride, Please Please Please!! Lord have Mercy, boy! Look at that face!
I did have a lot of fun today… I’ve been in town too long and it felt really good to be riding and exploring again. So I said… Yes! Where’s next!?! I know where he wants to go.. I’ll tell ya in the next post..