A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back In Action

I'm back in Jersey after an amazing week in Peru. I left last Friday at 8:50 on a red eye to Lima (we had a stop over in Miami until about 2:00 AM) and took another red eye back home that left Lima Saturday at 11:50 PM. There is no mistake that Peru has it's share of problems. 30,000 Peruvians were killed by terrorism that was very much alive in the 90's, they have a tremendous problem with poverty, and their government is not exactly running the tightest ship (yes, I know not many are) amongst other things, but Peru is filled with very good natured and amazing people. The main reason I went out there was to go to Machu Picchu. What I didn't realize is what simply amazing cities were out there and the people that were in them. From Cusco to Aguas Caliente to Ollantaytambo to Pisca, every place had it's own flavor and was special.

We first spent a few nights in Cusco, which could be my most favorite city I've been to out of anywhere. Our first hotel was Casa Del Campo in the San Blas section of Cusco. I was traveling with my brother and my friend and we got triples in every place we went. Casa Del Campo cost $65 per night divided by three people. Nuts...just nuts. Despite them stealing my hat, it was actually a very nice place. The first day we got there, we just got used to the city and explored it. On it on Sunday, we went off to Pisca where they hold a huge market a few times a week. The market sells all trinkets and gifts for tourists as well as food and goods for locals. Truly an amazing place as the city is nestled between mountains in the shadow of the ruins at Pisca.

The following day, we took a Taxi to Ollantaytambo and hung around there for a few hours waiting for the train to Aguas Caliente, which is the home base for everyone heading to Machu Picchu. After walking around the Plaza de Armas for a bit we were drinking some Cusqueñas at this hostal/restaurant by the train station. A family ran the place and they were great, but the crazy thing is that the place was 15 Soles per night per person which is the equivalent of $4.60. After a few beers, we headed off to Aguas Caliente.

In Aguas Caliente, we stayed at the famous Gringo Bill's Hostal for the bargain price of $55 per night with a great room overlooking the Plaza. We woke up at about 4:00 AM the following day to walk from Aguas up to Machu Picchu so we can fell like we 'earned' it. We had to walk through complete darkness with only a headlamp down train tracks, through two tunnels, and through some jungle going up a lot of stairs. It was absolutely crazy and I resented every lazy bastard who took the bus up to the top. Next time though? I'm definitely taking the bus. Needless to say, Machu Picchu was indescribable.

After Machu Picchu and one more night at Gringo Bill's, we headed back to Cusco and took some crazy bike ride that almost killed me. We started off in Chinchero, rode to the ruins at Moray, and ended up in the Salinas de Maras. The last leg was nine kilometers and was the easiest leg of the trip. I'm afraid to even guess how long the trip actually was. While the trek to Moray was murderous, it came together in Maras where we had to repair a bike tire. We got to give a few local kids some candy, fruit, and whatever else we had to give and played some soccer with the sweetest little girl. She was a nine year old name Clarissa that had a cow, a burro, some chickens, a dog, and duck living basically in her house. After we got the bike fixed, we had a nice downhill ride on some awesome terrain and some switchbacks that ended at the Salinas de Maras which is a place where salt is farmed out in little pools from natural streams with a ridiculously high salt content.

I must have said fuck about 4,000 times during the bike trip and I was not too interested putting myself through much more during our last full day. I was close to calling it a vacation and just hanging out in the city, but we decided to go rafting through Mayuc. The trip goes down the Urubamba River for about 2 1/2 hours and goes through some decent rapids. At the end of the trip, you hang out at their home base on the river and just relax with some amazing views of Peru.

As much as an attraction Machu Picchu and the other ruins are in the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Cusco is just as much of a reason to head down there. Overall, the trip to Peru was amazing. We just booked for the first two nights and found our way the rest of the week. I wouldn't recommend that in the high season, but it worked out great for us. If you are thinking about heading down there and want some tips on where to stay, where to eat, or what to do, let me know.

Here are some pics...there were about a 1,000 overall between everyone, so picking out a few was tough.

First beer in Lima waiting for a flight to Cusco...me in the back catching flies.



Insane mountains on the way to Cusco...



Our first hotel in Cusco at night...



They like to eat guinea pigs...



The Pisca market...



...one more...




Me walking around Ollantaytambo. The ruins here are amazing too, but you get no pics from them because I couldn't find a pic that did them justice.



I generally don't like cats, but while drinking beers in Ollantaytumbo, this cat made it really hard to not like it...



Walking through the jungle to Machu Picchu...



Waiting for the morning fog to clear...



Cliché picture for every tourist that comes here...



Alpacas and llamas are all over the place....atop Machu Picchu is no different...



...one more...



There were tons of pictures from Machu Picchu and the place was just crazy. Not much else I can say and it is hard to actually explain how amazing it is....moving on...

The bike trip from hell started off bad, but ended up pretty good. Me and Clarissa playing soccer...she could connect...don't let her fool you...



The Salinas de Maras were just nuts....the pictures don't even come close to conveying how nuts they are...



The rafting trip was great, but this dog at the home base made me miss my little girl way too much...



The last night in Cusco was filled with debauchery. I really cannot explain how it came to this, but this is a picture of me, two random people watching with much joy, and me about to get kicked in the cojones by a Peruvian. I guess the real question is did she land it?



Q&A from last week's comments:

scott said...

see ya Mike. Have a great time and let us know what the best burger joint is down there.


The best burger joint would probably be Los Perros who serves what I would guess is the biggest burger in the country. While some of Peru may have delightful cuisine, it is hit or miss in the areas around the Sacred Valley of the Inca (see above menu item). I did find that in Cusco the best food places where the ones owned by people not actually from Peru. Jack's Cafe is one of those places and Los Perros is another. Los Perros is a nice bar/restaurant owned by an Australian and Peruvian couple with a menu reminiscent of any trending NY eatery. Also true to their name, there are usually dogs walking around in the joint.

29 Comments:

Anonymous benny said...

I'll leave an analysis of your trip later but all I have to say abotu Peruvians is that they all have really, really, big heads.
I know alot of Peruvians and all of them, without fail have big ass heads.

2:19 AM

 
Anonymous DG said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip! I will make it there myself one of these days.

Living in France, I would have no problem eating guinea pig as long as it is not served with the head. I don't know, even a good old duck hanging in the window of a Chinese Rotisserie just kind of gets the nerves. But, on my table, without the head, no problem! (I have no problem with fish served whole, however.)

So did you or didn't you get kicked in the bijous? I sense there's a story there that you're not saying. Anyway, I'm happy to see you expand past baseball where fit. I'm sure the purists will disagree.

Benny says you should have gotten big head. Okay I cannot believe I just wrote that.... Since he wrote that he was too young to go to a pub to watch the Mets clinch on Friday night, the team seems determined to wait until his 21st birthday.

7:49 AM

 
Anonymous joe said...

Alpacas and llamas are all over the place...? You've got to send that picute to Wagner!

9:47 AM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

They do have big heads....

DG, there were a lot of stinky French people and plenty of Europeans to make yourself feel at home.

The head is on the guinea pig which is part of the problem. You see their little claws and the head. Not cool.

Re: Cojones....I have little recollection of what happened. I was told she went for it and I narrowly escpaed. I was also informed I payed her 5 soles for this.

It was a very rudimentery recap. If you are interested DG, I can send you the link to the pics full with commentary on ofoto.com so you can get the grand picture. It will be someone tempered since my family will be seeing it too.

9:52 AM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

Joe, all over doesn't do it justice. I have a nice film of a llama one peeing and pooping. It was the perfect storm of filming since it is a rare site indeed. I might throw it up on youtube.com for all to enjoy.

9:53 AM

 
Anonymous DG said...

Ewww, you're right; there is a head there! Well, I tried duck tongues once, so I figure I'm absolved from having to try that.

And yes, I would like the sanitized version of your adventures if you are willing to send the link. You've got my email address.

PS Don't try duck tongues ... Ever!

10:03 AM

 
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

I take it as a bad omen for the Mets that you flew into a city called "Lima."

11:31 AM

 
Anonymous Danny said...

I had a friend go to Peru a few months ago. She had a similarly great trip. They did a bunch of backpacking and hostels and all that, and she marveled at how beautiful. Sounds like a dope trip.

Now get back to reality... why can't the Mets finish this fucking thing off?

11:40 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The trip goes down the Urubamba River for about 2 1/2 hours and goes through some decent rapids."

Those rapids are especially fun during the rainy season. The native indians use hand-made rafts to navigate them. Now, going on one is the thrill of a lifetime. I'm still brushing up on my Ketchua, but i'll get there one day.

*sigh*

Emad

1:06 PM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

They are heading into the rainy season. Some dude from Israel dislocated his arm while in some class fives. Good stuff. We didn't do any of that. These were more like a bottle of rum on the raft type of rafting.

The Mets will finish it off tonight. Fear not.

1:27 PM

 
Blogger Anthony said...

Awesome trip Mike. Looks amazing. Way to culture it up and get out.

I'm going to be in NY this weekend. Anybody going to games on Sat/Sun? I know they're meaningless against the Nats, but I take what I can get when I'm in the area. It's always a bonus having flight/hotel paid for by the company to have a couple meetings on Fri and then spend the rest of the weekend playing and watching ball at shea.

2:20 PM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

I have tickets for Sunday, but I will most likely be in Buffalo. I was really looking forward to my last regular season tailgate fest of the year, but it looks like I will have to hold off for the playoffs.

2:37 PM

 
Anonymous joe said...

did anyone get playoff tickets? everyone i've spoken to got turned down... what's up with that? shouldn't the fans who go wait on line for tickets be rewarded, rather than the scalpers who went on-line with dozens of e-mail adresses! no offense to those who did get tickets from the lottery, i'm just bitter.

also, i want to clarrify the alpaca comment from above... billy wagner owns a whole bunch of alpacas or something. just in case anyone didn't know and was curious why i mentioned it.

3:12 PM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

I got tix...but through my sunday package. Eight tickets for four games.

3:21 PM

 
Blogger warmsox said...

I hope to God you went around Lima screaming about Lima Time (TM). Otherwise it's a wasted trip.

3:30 PM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

Completely forgot to. I'm ashamed of myself. Imagine a Lime Time! shirt with the little TM? Classic. It would have been a hot seller. In my defense, it's hard to keep baseball on your mind when your team is 15 games up and you are in a foreign country.

4:03 PM

 
Anonymous Scott said...

Yup I got turned down too. Fuck the scalpers.

I have tickets for tomorrow nights game but with the weather forecast it looks like if they dont grab a win tonight then I wont see them do it tomorrow night.

Guinea Pig burger...mmmmmmmm.

5:09 PM

 
Anonymous Coop said...

I got NLDS tickets via auction. Seems a little unfair, since I have a mini plan with my dad (but he's going with my uncle) and a season ticket plan with my boyfriend, but I was planning on selling most of my tickets anyway. I am scalping, quote unquote, but I guarantee I will be selling them at the lowest prices.

5:23 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

mike, i pictured you to be some 5'7 275 dude with bifocals and a VFL (virgin for life) badge. that was based on the seriousness of your blog
. guess i was wrong

9:01 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

i guessed wrong bc u look normal

9:05 PM

 
Blogger Metstradamus said...

Michael,

Please, please, please tell me that you were the one with the sign at Monday's game that read "For a Good Time call Mr. Met at 718-507-TIXX!"

As you know, that was YOUR QUOTE...which debuted on my little blog. If it was you, then please know that you made SNY's air, and Gary and Ron Darling absolutely loved the banner!!!

If it wasn't you...somebody ripped you off!!!

9:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOO-YA!!

Officially, this season is a success in my eyes. They can loose every game here on out, but all I wanted was the playoffs. Baby steps.

Un-officially, watch your fuckin' backs to the rest of mlb.

- Nokes

10:47 PM

 
Anonymous brian b said...

NL EAST CHAMPS BITCHES!!!!!

11:42 PM

 
Blogger mr. met said...

Hoo-hoo...someone ripped me off Robin. It wasn't me. I've been catching up on work and still have quite a bit of shit to do.

CHUMPS!!!....I MEAN CHAMPS!!!! Shit yeah!

12:18 AM

 
Anonymous Danny said...

I am enjoying this! 18 years. I mean, I was 9 years old the last time this happened.

Let's go Mets!

1:05 AM

 
Anonymous DG said...

Meaningful games, boys, meaningful games! Best thing the Wilpons ever did was shut up and hiring Omar. The Big O deserves all the credit. Well, it's nice to know that my sleep schedule will continue to be messed up through a good part (hopefully, all) of October.

3:19 AM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

it feels good to see thatlil marker next to our names in the standings.

i expected an improvement from this team like nokes did. not this kinda of jump considering the kinda big years we've gotten from guys like valentin, chavez, etc.

4:09 AM

 
Anonymous Shari said...

Hi Mike I haven't left a comment in a long time, but I always stop by your blog-Enjoyed the photos-the close up of the Llama (or Alpaca I can't tell them apart) had the same exact expression Art Howe had when he was Mets manager.

1:13 PM

 
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6:58 AM

 

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