Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

A view




A trip to Peru

Part 6
: Forever young

The last night of the trek we spent near some stunningly beautiful ruins built down a slope that was like a steep amphitheater. The name of the ruins translates as Forever Young, we were told.

I went there and explored as the sun set and darkness crept into each empty stone dwelling. Walking back there were fireflies along the trail.

Camp was beside a hostel with a loud restaurant where everyone was gathering, along with many other trekking groups. But I was not ready to return to "civilization".

I sat beside my tent in the dark, watching as stars rose above the mountain opposite me.

After a while, the porter who was on guard duty came and sat beside me, and we talked in those words that we shared, mostly in Spanish. He lived in Ollantaytambo, and they did not speak Spanish or wear western clothes at home.

He told me about the potatoes they grow, how the ones they sell in Cusco are very good, but they save the best for themselves, and they are rich as cream.

He was interested in where I lived, and he asked me, is Jesus in the United States? It hit me that he was very proud of his Inca heritage and language and customs, and yet the Spanish had imposed this religion on him. But I didn't want to make an issue of it. I think Jesus is in every country, I told him, and he seemed to like that idea.

Yes, a dawn the next day, we stood overlooking Machu Picchu. The guide took us down and gave us a tour, explaining many interesting facts behind what we were seeing.

Finally, when the tour was over, the trek was officially disbanded until we would gather in the nearby village of Aguas Calientes the following day for a final lunch together before catching the train back.

Many of my companions lay on the grass in a plaza, under a tree, to nap in the peaceful morning.I took the trail down to Aguas, and went to the hotel where my lover should be waiting. And she was, and she had been feeling fine since coming down from lofty Cusco.

She had spent leisurely days at Machu Picchu while I had been trekking. She had gotten to know the ruins at different times of day, crowded and empty of train tourist, learning the small and hidden pleasures of the site in addition to the grand and obvious ones. It was such sweet delight to be in each other's embrace again.

SW, 2003, Florida

additional infos about the trip and the author
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