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Day 9 – Expedition Class

October 19, 2010

Location: Tracks and roads between Aguas Calientes and Cusco, Peru

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So this is how the other side lived. Sitting on a plush train from Aguas Calientes to Ollataytambo, Dave and I are living large. We’re not supposed to be here. Literally. That’s because we were supposed to already be in Cusco by now. That didn’t happen because yesterday, after exploring Machu Picchu, when we jetted down to the train station to buy cheap backpacker train tickets, the cars were all booked. The only transport left were in higher class (and higher priced) train cars. We decided to wait until today to get on the “Backpacker” car.

This morning, when we shuffled onto the train, we expected to be sitting in a bare, sparse car. Thirty-three dollars ($33) is expensive in Peru, but the price was a relative bargain compared to the more expensive cars (upwards of $56).

As luck would have it, we got upgraded to “Expedition” class. That meant train attendants, larger seats, and (unfortunately) zero locals. Looking into the adjoining car, I could see people crammed into coach class seats. No windows in the ceiling to view the scenery. Most of the passengers were brown. I’m also guessing they didn’t get complimentary snacks.

So, for one day, I abandoned the backpacker life and lived it up. It was nice.

Once in Ollataytambo, it was back to the cheap. We disembarked. Dave and I scratched up a 10 sole ($3.25) collectivo ride with two locals. Cheap seats compared to a private cab. I am, however, sure the views from our crammed car were just as good.

Living like the other side every once in a while is nice. Can’t say I miss it, though. At least not at the current price.

I Put In My Mouth: A Periodic Feature on Food Told (Mostly) in Pictures

Alpaca is not llama. It’s related, but is its own separate species. Alpacas’ silky fur makes for some awesome fabric. Its meat makes for a tasty meal. Think beef with a bit of bite. Word is that when the Spaniards searched Peru for the mythical El Dorado, they brought 4,000 alpacas for food. I can see why.

Since this is Peru, no meal is complete without potato, even if you’ve already got rice. And you thought Asians were militant with their use of their staple (rice, example: rice with spaghetti). The Peruvians match obsession with staples with their obsession with potatoes.

Passion fruit shakes: I will have many more of them. Sweet, with a citrusy finish. Got a little crunch from all the tiny black seeds. What’s not to love?

GALLERY: No bonus pictures today. As always, you’re more than welcome to click through to view a slideshow.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Doris permalink
    October 27, 2010 12:33 am

    I once had a dance party on one of those trains after convincing them to let us play a CD. West coast hip hop and 20 people in the aisle while the other car looked on in jealousy.

    • October 27, 2010 11:09 pm

      I can’t imagine that. Our train was a mix of older adults who probably would not have appreciated the finer points of the rap music.

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