Saturday, November 13, 2004

Crook In Cuzco

I have just arrived in the old Inca capital of Cusco after a 12 hour trip from Arequipa (it's not all glamorous jet-setting you know) which is at 3300m above sea level, although during parts of the trip we reached heights of over 4200m (just 600m shy of Mont Blanc). Luckily the scenery has changed from the drab, depressing deserts around Arequipa and the Cuzco area is pleasantly green. Unfortunately I was unable to ascertain the effects of altitude sickness as I have also caught a cold/cough, which is annoying the hell out of me, and I only hope that I'll be over it in a couple of days time when I start the Inca trail. Cusco itself seems quite pretty (although I may change my mind yet) but it's horribly touristy as the foreigners outnumber the natives in the town centre.

Anyway, seeing as I don't have much to say about what has happened today (basically nothing) I might as well educate you a bit. It's a common held misconception (at least it was held by me) that the Incas were pretty much the only indigenous people here in the Andes. In fact there were many different tribes, and even though the Inca empire was the largest in the Americas it only existed for 100 years. Before then the Incas were just one small tribe amongst many, but within 25 years they had conquered an area larger than the Roman empire. Neat, huh? So I hope you've all learnt something today.

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