Friday, July 15, 2011

On the Way to Machu Picchu

Friday, July 8th – On the Way to Machu Picchu

My transportation to the taxi that will take me to the train is coming at six AM. I get up early and get ready. I pack some snacks, make sure I have my passport, drink a cup of coffee and eat some toast and sit and wait until the shuttle arrives. The lady packs me in. About eight blocks down the road we stop and a guy who smells a little of alcohol gets in the front seat. I’m thinking he’s been up all night celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary. He has my tickets for the train, for the bus up to Machu Picchu, for me to get into Machu Picchu and all of my return tickets as well. “Do you speak Spanish,” he asks. “Yes,” I reply. So he gives me all the instructions, tucks me into the front seat of a taxi and sends me on my way. “My cell number is on that page if you need anything at all,” he calls as we drive away.
The country is up early
Young girl pulls her uniform jumper up
Over her white shirt
As she yawns
And comes out of the house
To see the day
Tethered together
Follow the man
To do something
Dogs scavenge through the garbage
Hoping for last night’s remains
Even the dogs under the table get the master’s scraps

We pass through a million little beautiful poor towns with names like Chinchero and Ollantaytambo. The taxi driver likes the left side of the road. The one that is for oncoming traffic. He occasionally gets up the nerve to pass the slower vehicles to the right of us. He returns to the right side of the road when he has no other choice.
I see a woman and a child
Tending a herd of pigs
Whose ending will be just as fatal
As the swine
Who ran into the sea
After being possessed by Legion
I don’t take out my camera as we drive. I just write what I see instead.

Six worker stand in the road
Three use brooms
To sweep away the dust
That omnipresent dust
While the others
Fill up potholes
With tar rocks

 A little farther down. A little closer to the train station.

A father
Puts the brush under
The running water
The spigot splashes water against the cold ground
He hands the toothbrush
To the very little girl
Teaching her dental care
Care, caring for her

We reach the town where the train station is. I walk to the entrance and go in. The guard asks me for my ticket and then tells me I can’t go to the station platform until twenty minutes before my departure. I have about forty minutes to kill so I go sit at a café and get a breakfast of bread, juice, and coffee. I’ve drunk more coffee and eaten more bread in the last three days than I have in the last three years. I figure it’s a little better for me than U.S. fare since it’s not overly processed and doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. Here’s hoping for health.

In the train I sit next to a girl from Colorado. “You look familiar,” she tells me. We figure it’s because we both have that Coloradan air about us. “Maybe we adapt to the environment we live in,” she says. Speakers feed out panpipe music and I gaze out the windows at the incredibly gorgeous terrain. The sky, the mountains, the air, the company, all reminds me of Colorado. I realize that I still love Colorado and it will probably always feel like home to me.
I am here
My heart might still belong in Colorado
That’s a strange way to say it.

I disembark from the train in the town below Machu Picchu. At the front gate there’s a girl with a sign with my name on it. Though my last name is spelled Huate. Or something like that. It’s close enough. I follow her to a small shop where I wait for what seems an eternity for them to get our group on a bus and taken up to the top of the mountain where all of Machu Picchu is. I just want to see it. I don’t want to wait any longer.

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