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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bad Marie...

So...she surfaced. Bad, NYC Marie. BUT....only for a bit.
And, then she was gone. Here goes...

I decided that since I was going to be in Cusco for a week until I could get on my Inca Trail hike, I would make the most of this town and see everything there is to see. So, priding myself on my horseback riding skills (as you all know, ad nauseum), I decided to tour the C-level ruins (there are B-level ruins too, A-level obviously being Macchu Picchu) by riding thru Cusco for the day. I got up at 8 AM, very excited for it and wound up being paired with two Brits, Warren and Keri. He, a paparazzi (who admits that´s their job? Everyone hates the paparazzi.) and she, a typical worrisome British wife, ¨Waaaahrin, are you wearing your sunblock? Waaahrin, don´t bugger on my horse to make it trot. You know I don´t fancy trotting. Waaaahrin.¨ Blah blah. They were amusing, though.

Anyway, Ricardo, our guide doesn´t speak English, but is leading us by walking alongside with a handheld transistor radio that looks like the Germans used it in WW2, it´s so old and all he gets is static the WHOLE time. Never a song, never a newsflash, static. But, you´d think he was listening to the Word of God the way he´s got that thing to his ear. We get up into the mountains to saddle up. horse is probably as big as me (when I download pix, you´ll see...). But, I´m still excited, even though I feel like I´m riding My Little Pony. No worries, right? Ok, so go to see the ruins. C-level, nothing to REALLY describe. The views of the mountains were breathtaking, but the ruins were, well...underwhelming. Anyway, the day is long (but nice, glad I did it) but it´s starting to get cold. It´s rainy season here in Peru now, and it rains at least once a day. So, we get to the last ruin and after we get off to go take a look, Ricardo goes: ¨Adios,¨ takes the reins of all three horses and starts to leave us.

Me: ¨Wait...Ricardo -- where are you going?¨ (in Spanish, obv... which is ´A donde vas?´ for those practicing along with me)
Ricardo: ¨Fineto. Ju wawk now.¨ (Broken English)
Me: ¨Where is the bus from earlier?¨(El autobus?¨)
Ricardo: ¨No autobus. Camines.¨ No bus, you walk.

REALLY..............Ok, so we start to walk to Cusco, which looks like it´s 50 miles off ...
And, on cue. It starts to rain. No, sorry. It starts to hail. Ice balls. The wrath of the Incans.
I´m wearing off-white cargo pants (why I thought off-white hiking anything was a good bet (yes, Cherilyn...), I´m not sure...) that are now soaked thru and my orange underwear is begging to be seen. And is. The Peruvian peasants farming potatoes are whistling. I´m FREEZING, being hailed on. Ricardo and the wee horses are gone. Of course, Warren and Keri are prepared with North Face ensembles, of which I´m insanely jealous. And, I´m pissed off. We hitch a gypsy bus after about 15 minutes (buses of wild colors that pick up anything along the road with a pulse for soles) and are taken back to town. MIZ.

Getting back into town, I head to the SAS Travel office. Walk in and wail on the guides that they never told us there wasn´t a bus back and we´re freezing and cold and paid for a tour with a guide and a bus. And, all they say to me is...Aaaah, Marie Elena, we thought we told you there is no bus home. And stare at me. Um....what does one do with that? Shake it off. Shake it off.

Am supposed to meet Gabriel in the Plaza for coffee before he heads off to Arequipa, BUT also have to go to Taca (airlines) to get my flights to Santiago. So, run to Taca. Calm again. The woman who helped me the day before isn´t there, so a new agent is helping me. The flights are now $200 more than yesterday. Ok...fine, just get me to Santiago, please. ¨Jes, missus.¨
And, strike two against me brews...AmEx machine is down and can´t authorize my transaction (you need an authorization to, like, buy a bottle of water here).

Me: Um....when do you think it´ll be able to authorize.
Taca Lady: Yo no se. I hope soon. Seet down, I try again in 10 minutes.
10 minutes later.
Me: Um....are you able to authorize, I have to go, I´ve been here for 30 minutes already.
Taca Lady: Well, we just got new computers and I don´t know how to use them, actually.
Me: And, that problem gets rectified HOW, exactly, in 10 minutes?
Taca Lady: I cannot help you anymore. And leaves.

I leave (Yes, I wound up going back at around 7 and got the tix...) to go back to my hotel. Gabriel is long gone, foiled again. And...shocker, they can´t accomodate my new Inca Trail dates, so I have to find new lodging. Strike three. I am irate. I run around in orange thonged-see thru wet pants in the rain to find a new hotel (which I wound up loving), get my tix at Taca, thaw out, take an Ambien and force the day to end.

Thought you´d all appreciate. Not everything is all bubbles and sunshine EVERYDAY.
I´m learning how to deal....It was, looking back, a hilarious day. :)

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