Semi-Charmed Life

30May/110

Peru: Arrival in Cusco

My recent trip to Peru turned out better than I expected. Leading up to the trip, I was not particularly excited about it. I'm not sure why, but I've generally been like that for the last few trips I went on. I don't really get worked up or excited about a trip until I've actually arrived at the destination. Even then, it's only when I return back home that I can fully reflect on everything and truly appreciate just how great my trip was.

I suppose I'll start off with a recap:

Cusco Hostel

We arrived in Cusco on Saturday and checked in to our hostel. The family that runs the place used to live there, or at least that was what we were told. I have no complaints about where we stayed. I really had no expectations as to what kind of place we'd be staying at. The hostel looked well kept and basic amenities were provided. Clean sheets and blanket, clean bathrooms and internet access. That's all I need.

Cusco Hostel Room

My room.

Cusco Hostel Rooftop

On the roof of our hostel.

Cusco Hostel Rooftop View

The view from the roof of our hostel.

Cusco Hostel Decorations 5

A common room with some sofas and three computers with internet access.

--

We did not really do much the first day. We worked around the main plaza to explore the area and to also get our bodies acclimated to the high altitude. I believe Cusco is something like 3000 meters above sea level. We were told to not eat heavily and to not drink any alcohol. We were not very impressed by the food in Cusco, so eating too much was not a problem. One thing you immediately notice about Cusco is that the people are very poor. Tourism IS the economy in Cusco. Everyone there will try to sell you on something and they will try to sell you hard. It's also easy to get ripped off, but eventually we figured out how much we should be paying for everything so bargaining became a lot easier. Another thing we noticed: LOTS of stray dogs. There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE.

Cusco Stray Dogs

One of the many strays in Cusco.

Cusco Main Square

The main plaza.

Cusco Statue

A statue located on the outskirts of the main plaza. You can see it on the top left in the above photo.

Cool Truck

Laundry

Rooftop Drinking

We were told to not drink ANY alcohol. So what do we do? We end up buying some beers and drinking on our rooftop, playing music off an iphone, on the very first night. Luckily, we all thought the beer tasted like crap so we tossed it after a few sips.

--

The next day, we went to take our tour of  the Sacred Valley, which served as a pretty good warm up for our hike on the Inca trail the day after. It seemed like everything in Cusco is built on an incline, even our hostel. You only think walking is easy until you're 3000+ meters above sea level. At times our faces, hands and feet would get tingly, and it was a little disheartening to see myself huffing and puffing after climbing a few stairs. We all thought we were in decent shape, but the hike had not even begun and it seemed like we were already pushing our bodies to the limit.

Llama Mama

Lots of llamas!

Llama Snacking

I'm glad he didn't spit in my face.

Incan Cemetery

If you look closely at the picture, there are a lot of holes in the mountain. This is where the Incan people buried their dead.

Incan War

Some Incan site in the Sacred Valley.

Sacred Valley Tour

Another Incan site.

Out the Window

Danny getting thrown out the building.

Street Fighter: Peru Edition

Street Fighter: Peru Edition 2

An epic battle was fought here.


I'll continue this another time.

Time for bed. Good night!

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20May/113

Restroom Musings

Why don't they make all men's urinals go all the way down to the ground? Sometimes there are urinals placed so high that I feel like I have to tippy toe just to avoid having my junk touch the urinal. What's worse is the splashback that gets on your hands and sometimes your face (the WORST). I don't know about other guys but my piss does not just dribble out. It comes out like a hose. I'm sorry if any ladies had to read this.

And why can't all toilets have a nice moderately strong flush? Some toilets are so strong it feels like I'm going to be disemboweled through my asshole, and other toilets are so weak that when it flushes I'm always thinking I clogged the damn toilet because the water rises ever so slowly.

Yes. TMI.

I hope future job recruiters never find my blog.

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20May/110

Fiction vs. Non-fiction

I find it odd that I have some friends who discriminate against reading fiction. What others read is entirely their own prerogative, but I still find it odd. The justification, I'm told, is that fiction is useless and given a choice between fiction and non-fiction, they would choose non-fiction because they're learning something.

I don't have a preference for either one. My requirements are simple: if it sounds interesting or if I think I'll be entertained by it, it's worth reading. Excluding literary fiction is like saying movies are not worth watching unless they are documentaries or like saying the only channel you'll watch is PBS. That's probably an unfair analogy because there are a lot more compelling non-fiction books out there than there are documentaries or programs on PBS. My point though, is that books are just another medium and should not be confined to fiction, non-fiction or any specific genre.

The other day I was talking with some people about a book I'm currently reading, Game of Thrones. It's the first fantasy book I've ever read and I'm enjoying it a lot. Someone in the group though, had made a remark that fantasy is not her thing. How do people know unless they try? I think people should have preferences, but they should never close themselves off to anything.

As far as those who choose to read non-fiction to the exclusion of fiction because they see fiction as time-wasters, I think they should give fiction books more of a chance. It's nice to read just for leisure's sake and to get lost in a story. The fact that it's a book does not mean we can't indulge our minds like the way we do with movies. Literary fiction is just as awesome as cinematic fiction.

On a final semi-related note, being open minded is a double-edged sword. I recently agreed with a friend of mine to watch 3 episodes of any Korean drama of her choice if she watched 3 episodes of any show of my choice. I started watching Secret Garden, which is the first Korean drama I've ever seen. What a mistake! This stuff is like eating Taco Bell at 2 in the morning. It's so bad and I know I shouldn't be taking this junk in, but once I start I have to finish. So yeah, I'm on episode 11 right now. I just want this show to end already. I want to find out what happens in the end but my mind is going to have to rot in the process. It feels like going straight to bed without brushing my teeth after chugging a bottle of soda. I feel like shit.

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18May/110

Doh!

I'm sure we've all done this at some point in our lives. Or continue to do it.

What are some stupid things you've accidentally blurted out?

At a formal. Girl next to me has a flimy, flimsy dress.

I say, "Wow, that dress looks tear-able."

That day I learnt that 'tear-able' sounds exactly the same as 'terrible'.

Reminds me of an episode of Modern Family:

I was telling my black friends about how I got robbed, they ask me if the dude was black and I respond "of course."

Zing!

And that's how you got robbed the second time!

I'm not so sure he didn't really mean it:

Standing around with some guys talking about the kind of girl we'd like to end up with. "Blonde". "Nice boobs". You know. Me? I always wanted a girl who could take care of herself. My choice of words? "A girl who can take a hit".

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17May/110

Absent-minded

What is the strangest thing you did that seemed completely normal at the time, but 5 seconds later you realized was 100% moronic?

This one cracked me up:

One time I was holding a grapefruit. I wondered if I could catch it between by chin and collarbone if I tossed it up into the air first. So I threw it. The grapefruit. At my throat. I threw a grapefruit at my throat. It hurt like a bitch. I hacked and gasped and gurgled for like twenty minutes.

Something else I could totally see myself doing:

The other day I was making myself a sandwich and I thought to myself maybe my friend wants a piece of lunch meat, so I dangled a piece in front of her until she asked me what I was doing. I honestly don't know what I was thinking.

I've seen this on more than one occasion:

Putting on my glasses so I could see to find my glasses.

I'm sure I've done this at least once before:

I was standing in a grocery line the other day texting or something (being a phone zombie) and I just farted. Like pushed it out on purpose. I stood there for a couple of seconds before i realized where I was. No one around was pleased.

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