Saturday was another rest day and we have now stayed at Ollantaytambo for a total of five nights, the motorcycle must feel like it was abandoned as we have only walked around town the whole time we've been here. During a walk we meet a man and his son from Guadalajara, Mexico. They're preparing to leave and are headed to Puno and Lake Titicaca, riding two up on a 2007 R1200GS. They've had a suspension failure and just installed a new Touratech shock absorber on the rear of the bike.
While having lunch on Saturday we met a young couple from Eugene, Oregon who are in the process of setting up a micro brewery. They were telling us the process of setting up a business in Peru is very time consuming as the government isn't always clear about what is required and the rules seem to be created as needed.
Sunday morning we are up early and on the road by 8 am as we need to get to the airport in Cusco and book a flight to the Amazon. We are told the drive to Puerto Maldonado is 20 hours (one way), its a gravel road, it's the rainy season and I'm still not well enough to attempt this long a ride in said conditions. So, I tried booking the flight on line but was unable to finalize the transaction. The on line fare was $50 USD per person (one way) and when I get to the ticket counter the price is $62.50 USD, I step outside to ask Diana a question and when I return to the ticket counter the ticket agent is gone and the new agent wants $70 USD. After much negotiating and a phone call to head office we manage to get the tickets for $62.50, then to pay by credit card you are lead to the cargo loading area as this is the only credit card reader they have. The card reader won't accept my MasterCard or American Express and I need to retrieve Diana from the parking lot so she can use the Visa card which finally does work. It's just a typical day and it's not unusual for electronic payments or internet connections to be painfully slow.
While in the airport parking lot people are stopping to take pictures of us, the bike and ask if they can have their picture taken with the bike. People usually have the same questions about the bike, how many horsepower and engine size which is usually compared to their car (we usually are more powerful with a larger engine than most), how fast will it go and almost always, how much does it cost. One person (government employee) told us it would take over three years salary to buy a similar bike. We meet Alphonso, an off duty policeman with the National Police Department who wants to know all about our adventure. We ask Alphonso how the ticket system works in Peru and he confirms that we were scammed a few weeks ago when we had to make a cash payment in order to get my drivers license back. Alphonso apologizes repeatedly for what happened to us and provides his name and cell phone number should we have any questions or require assistance while in "his country". We find many Peruvians are very proud of their country and often ask if we are enjoying "their country".
After getting the airline tickets we start searching for a hostel in downtown Cusco, we've picked three and are disappointed at how different they look compared to what we saw on line. Driving around we find a hostel about 5 blocks from the central square and make arrangements to stay a couple of nights and leave the bike in their lobby while we are in the Amazon.
The motto's resting spot in Cusco while we make a 4 day side trip to the Amazon.
For supper we meet Chris (who we met on the sailboat from Panama to Columbia) at an Irish pub that claims to be the highest Irish pub in the world at 11,125 feet above sea level. We spend a couple hours comparing our travel adventures with Chris and meet Hanna and Carl, a couple from England who have just received work visas for Canada. They plan to start working in Toronto and work their way to the west coast.
This college filled a full city block in the historic district of Cusco.
These ladies were using foot treadle sewing machine to create dresses in the market.
Each type of food or product had a separate section at the market.
Double row seating in the food court.
Traditionally dressed mother and daughter with a baby sheep (yes it's alive and not stuffed).