Day 320: Cusco, Peru
Unlike most of the bridezilla-like travelers to visit Machu Picchu I really did not have a lot of expectations, especially since Neverending Voyage, who I highly respect, said it was one of the most overrated places they had visited.
Instead of shopping around I snagged a $200 door-to-door all-inclusive deal from the hostel and headed out with Chuck, a radio host from England.
He really wanted to take the train and it turned out to be a great time. As I looked out the train window at the pouring rain I knew I had made the right decision not to hike.
One of the things we both wanted to do was climb Waynapicchu, only 400 people are allowed on this mountain at the site, which means you have to be at the bus station at 4am to get in a long line for the 5:30am bus.
As always there was a catch.
Our tour guide hadn’t bought our ticket yet but the hostel owner assured us that we should go wait in line and she would run to get the tickets and meet us in line at 5:30 so we wouldn’t miss out on Waynapicchu.
We woke up at 3:30am, got in line at 4am, waited an hour and a half in the rain and the line started to move.
But we didn’t have tickets.
As we inched closer I could feel my anxiety rising, I couldn’t see the hostel owner anywhere.
You may think this is the moment where she shows up at the last minute and we catch the bus.
This is not that moment.
We reached the head of the line and I explained we still didn’t have entrance tickets so they pulled us off to the side.
I watched 8 buses of 40 people leave the bus station. I knew at the same time so many others would have hiked there.
The dream of Waynapicchu was over.
At 6am our hostel owner came running, profusely apologizing in Spanish and I smiled, thanked her and took the tickets.
After all it wasn’t her fault, the guide was supposed to have purchased them in advance.
There was no longer a line and we got on the next bus. I had already been up for 3 hours for no reason and was fuming, in my head I was crafting my complaint to the hostel tour guide.
I don’t know why I was so angry, I didn’t really care about Waynapicchu, I had seen views from the other peaks and they were just as good.
But I was tired and wet so in my head I had composed the most eloquent complaint, but then I realized I had two choices:
– I could spend the day disappointed that I didn’t climb Waynapicchu OR
– I could just enjoy the day and climb one of the other mountains that the guide said was just as great
Chosing the latter, I released the anger and arrived just excited to see something interesting for the day.
As we entered I took a chance and asked the girl if it was still possible and a man to the side waved me over and stamped both our tickets.
We had stamps for Waynapicchu for 7am.
And at the moment where I felt incredibly lucky, I also felt foolish for being so angry. Even if I hadn’t made it, would it have been that big of a deal?
It was a tough climb to the top but completely manageable. I’m not much of a hiker, in fact I’m pretty lazy when it comes to the outdoorsy stuff but the rain had cleared and the weather was great.
We took our time climbing the 90 degree steps to the top although I had acclimated to the altitude my face was pretty much red the entire way.
And after an hour we finally reached the top. Had some snacks and took all of the obligatory photos.
On our way down the clouds started gathering in mass making for some great photos but also obscuring the site below. Once we reached the bottom it started raining, and as we had been up nearly 7 hours we went for coffee before our tour hoping it was just a morning shower and would clear up for the tour.
It was cold and rainy for the rest of the day. Machu Picchu turned into a site with a rainbow of $1 poncho covered tourists. But rather than sulk about the weather let it ruin my day we went on the tour and continued to have a great day.
But by then I had already learned I choose whether I have a great day or not.
I had a great day.