10 October, Visiting Machu Picchu, Peru
We woke up (I had broken sleep) and it was raining outside. So I tried to dress sensibly. I bought a nice warm jacket that proved to be water proof.
We went off into the night and to the bus area to travel to Machu Picchu. We were advised to have someone wait in the queue for the bus and someone buy the tickets. So the Spanish girl I roomed with opted for buying the tickets. Then I was told I had to pay in $US I only had 5 on me and was stunned. How do tico’s pay? Turned out I could pay in solas, thank god. You wouldn’t want to be refused entry at this point. There were Peruvian women with cakes, tea and coffee and other food for the bleary eyed tourists. Of course they were charging more, the shops were even more outrageous. As I noted with someone later Machu Picchu had only reopened in September having been closed since February due to flooding. So the shops probably lost a lot of money.
It is 5.30 in the morning. I get on the bus and sit next to a New Zealander. As the bus ascends the mountain I am stunned by the monolithic mountains surrounding me. They are enormous and magnificent. There are no words to describe climbing up into the clutches of mountains and feeling dwarfed by their majesty. I tried to take in the scene as we climbed higher. I took photos but knew it would never capture the experience.
We get off the bus and wait in another line to get a stamp to be able to enter Wanapicchu (huge mountain pictured in all the postcards overshadowing Machu Picchu). The first 400 people are able to go up to Wanapicchu. So many people are keen to get up there by 6am. I get my ticket stamped and then go through to meet with the guide.
I was told to go with a guy in a green jacket as my guide. I noticed the group were not people I was familiar with. I spent my time filming the guide speaking as I wanted to remember the history of Machu Picchu. I noticed the group were not that warm to me. Later on (half way through the tour) an American turns to me and says ‘this is a private tour and we have paid a lot of money to be here’. So he is saying I am free loading on the tour and leave. I turned to him surprised and told him ‘I was guided to this group’, I thought it was fine. I said what am I to do? He said nothing just ignored me. As I left I said ‘this is a once in a lifetime experience’ and then said ‘the Incas believed in the oneness of humanity’, I thanked him fallaciously for his kindness and generosity. He got my annoyance at his attitude. I reflected on it feeling quite miffed. I thought about the small minded attitude which was thinking somehow he was losing something because he had paid and he assumed I was free loading. Yet in reality I was just another person enjoying the talk and learning about an ancient civilization. I thought about the system of capitalism running Machu Picchu making money and those who bought their way in to somehow touch the magic of this place. I then contemplated on how you can’t buy spirituality or respect. These are the true treasures. These are the real gifts left by the Incas. They also had a society where no-one was excluded and all were fed. There was no hunger. I was thinking about this as there were so many homeless, blind and elderly on the street in Cusco. That tradition had not found its way into modern day society.
I walked away from this group and thought i don’t need to be there. I will just wander around. I found my group immediately as I recognized the party. I joined in and noted the guide was better. So I filmed him in the company of friends. We visited the homes of the Incas, they even had toilets, they had sewerage systems and water ways. They had a very organised society that was laden with spiritual and ritualistic meaning. He showed us the sculpcture on the floor of a condor and I found out the whole of Machu Picchu was designed in the shape of the condor (an eagle type of bird with large wing span). The condor was perceived as being closer to heaven and speaking with the gods. Another significant animal was the puma and I reflected on the sphinx in Egypt a feline image that was spiritually significant. In Central America the Mayas have the jaguar. I found out in Costa Rica that there was a icon that was a jaguar clown. So perhaps in the Inca society there were clowns of some form but not recorded. I am just wondering.
We also visited the sun temple and the ancient temple and a sun dial for monitoring the solstices and equinox. Another similarity with the celts, the Egyptians and the mayans. The inca’s also had the sun shining onto these monuments during the solstices and bringing a beam of light exactly on time. There are definite links between these ancient civilizations which I am still in the processing of researching. I just can feel the connections but can feel a heavy veil of ignorance over my eyes. I am also conscious of the fact that the analysis and recorded history of these people is typically done by western minds who don’t think in this consciousness. One thing I have learned is you can never understand without ‘being’ that something. For example the ancients would often be the animals they worshiped by dressing in their skins. The Australian aboriginal would be the emu or the kangaroo as they formed a feeling of unity with the animal. I see significance in this teaching as I am learning to teach experiential peace as an experience rather than a concept that is analytical not feeling based. This is why we are stuck (just an aside I popped in). Anyway, the bottom line is there is much we do not understand in our present consciousness. I imagine much projection happening to try and understand the reality of the Inca and other people’s. They were very advanced and their stone architecture is breath taking and clearly built for eternity as I read it. There stone walls were made without tools. I read there were plants that melted (moulded) the rocks. I was stunned by this. There are also metaphysical explanations of levitation. This is a harder one to prove for obvious reasons. Although high energy places where lay lines intersect may provide some insights to the possibility of this as a technology we don’t know about.
I marveled at the order and sophistication of this Inca village. Wanapichu is the mountain that overshadows Machu Picchu. It is very spectacular to see. There is a walk up there which after the guided tour I was guided towards. My inner feeling was to go on the early walk at 8am. My ticket was stamped 10am. I stood in line and prayed in my mind that they don’t reject me but let me pass. I stood in the line and had a joyful look on my face. The guys manning the ticket box saw me straight away and I felt instant connection. One in particular took a shine to me. He got me to sign the book and held my hand for some moments. I felt his interest. I walked onto the path. I saw it metaphorically and often feel within my own heart I want to go home. For me this means returning to the real truth of my life and my spiritual centre. In a place like Machu Picchu steeped in spirituality and meaning, I did feel some sense of belonging here and indeed, purpose.
I started my walk and noticed I was alone, I felt this is the moment to connect to the energy of this place. I had in the bus trip up the mountain expressed my deep respect for the spiritual teachers of this place. I believe in honouring those who have been here before. I feel to step out of the touristic mindset and enter the feeling of the place. So as I walked I started to feel the Inca’s. I felt the peacefulness of this place and its location in the deep forest surrounded by mountains. They are high energy and definitely create the sacred valley or space. I feel. I looked at the plant life around me and enjoyed my isolation. I walked down and then around the corner and there was the mountain shrouded in mist and mystery. I saw the rock stair case and made my way up this sheer mountain. The walk is at an angle or gradient of around 60-70 degrees. It was a very tough walk. Each step for me was a contemplation of the accumulated wisdom of the struggle of life. You had to exert effort to reach the summit and I saw the mountain as a metaphor for reaching heaven. At some points you had to pull yourself up by a rope up rocks. Another point you had to squeeze through a small cave. I wondered at the elderly or those overweight and wondered how they would make it. I barely got through. I really puffed and my legs and calves were put to the test.
As I climbed I stopped intermittently and cast my eyes upon the grandiose mountains surrounding me and meeting my eyes from every direction. I watched the mist float past and wondered at the clarity of the sun, whether I would get to see Machu Picchu in sunlight. I decided what I receive is good enough. For me it was magical and amazing and nothing could take from this amazing encounter with an ancient truth.
I spoke with people Spanish and English as I ascended, we all puffed and struggled to get up this mountain. It was wonderful to sweat and I do like the challenge. Finally we got to the top and I viewed a panorama of mountains that are beyond description and then I could see Machu Picchu as if I was in a plane. The village could clearly be seen from Wanapicchu. There were groups of people up there resting and taking in this breathtaking view feeling a sense of privilege as the few in the world to view this wonder and miracle that still stands as it did 500 years ago.
The descent was not quite as easy as I thought as you had to angle your feet on the narrow steps to go down. The girl in front was not sure footed and she was a bit scared. However we had a chat as we went down. She was from the US and was traveling with her English boyfriend. She and I talked about Machu Picchu. I asked her if she believed in extraterrestrials, she said she did and wouldn’t be surprised if this place was built by them. She said had found out that the Inca’s had come from a star system called Mu. I had no idea who they were, but was curious about this coming from your average American girl. People are more open to these ideas than you believe. I spoken to a few and they can’t see why they wouldn’t exist. You just have to look at the stars to see we are not alone. I just googled Mu and this is what I found:
Mu Herculi A is located approximately 35 light years from Sol. It has five planets, none of them habitable. This is from galactopedia. So I can’t say if this is true, but it is interesting. The Mayans speak of grandfather as pleiadians coming from the Pleiades star system. This is a genuine star system. There are also aboriginal paintings depicting space people with helmuts on. In the Egyptian artwork there is a picture of a person lying on his back and he has a helmut and looks as if he is in a space craft. When I went to the Orkney Islands and visited Maes Howe (burial mound) the young guide mentioned extraterrestrials but she saw it as not true. She did later tell me a man keeps coming to do research into this issue. So what if there is a link? The mystery becomes very interesting and the question of ‘who are we?’ definitely arises. What mesmerizes people about these ancient sacred sites is the sophistication in which these monuments are built. In every place I have visited engineers are dumbfounded, how did they build these structures, what tools did they use, given during those times they had no tools. They had definite astronomical links and spiritual/afterlife beliefs and active rituals to ensure safe passage to the other side. So the mystical/spiritual was working alongside physical engineering feats and the integration of the two that are not understood today. So I am still looking into it as I am not clear yet. I am very interested. I feel there are answers to our future in the ruins of recollection of these ancient cultures.
I descended Wanupicchu and as I came up to the ticket office I approached the line and made out I was puffed and exhausted like I was dragging myself through the door. Yes I am a clown had to goof it up. People were smiling, I was saying no its fine go ahead. I then was told I had to sign out. As I approached the ticket office the Inca man grabbed my hand again, this time he held it as I looked for my name on the page to sign off. He was very peaceful and I allowed him to connect with me. I then thanked him and left.
I hooked up with another couple from Spain. I wondered without speaking how they felt about the Spanish conquistadors who had driven the ancient Inca into oblivion. I read in a book that the last Inca’s were so heartbroken at leaving Machu Picchu they smashed all the pottery. It would have been very hard to leave such a haven of heaven. IN the sculptures they appeared such a proud people. But you do see that in all ancient civilizations, a self respect and dignity as they have love for themselves and their traditions. It appears to have been the white people who have something missing there and are trying to find it through gold and treasures. The Spanish were after the art works and gold in particular. Thinking it would bring them wealth. Yet the real wealth cannot be stolen or taken over.
So back to the couple I just simply asked about life in Spain. They said people were not happy given the economic situation. I told them when I was in Greece it was the same thing. They said it was different. They said Spain is a great place to live. I think Madrid has around 6 million inhabitants. They also mentioned Barcelona. I thought of bull fighting and attempted to make a joke of a lot of bull there. I don’t think the guy heard but I chuckled to myself. They were very friendly and I walked with them to the entrance, gave them a hug and went to find the bus.
An Australian guy started talking to me. He was from a Peruvian background but distinctly Australian accent. He had come to visit his roots for the first time. He was with his father who had two sticks. I wondered how disabled people got around Machu Picchu. He was a cheery old fellow making a joke that he made the mountains. I jokingly said how long did it take. A lot of work there. He gave me lopsided smile, I noted he had had a stroke. His son told me he hurt his foot the day before, they rushed him to hospital and as a consequence couldn’t climb Wanupicchu. I think the father’s brother was with them, he was smiling broadly. We had a good laugh together. They were happy to see an Australian. I said goodbye and said maybe our paths cross again. I then sought out a bus ticket found the bus and got on. Guess who was at the back, my Australian friend. So we talked more about his life. He met his relatives for the first time and was really impressed by Machu Picchu, he didn’t feel he wanted to live there as the wages were not high enough. He said he was there for a few weeks. Then a Dutch lady I met on the tour turned up and sat next to me. The bus descended in heavy rain (it started around 10am as I got off the mountain) and the mist was shrouding the bus. The windows were all fogged up so there was nothing to see. The bus just descended and we returned to the town of Aguas Calientas, took on 20 minutes. Said farewell to the Ozzies and headed to my hostel. I had to get my backpack, change my clothes and have some lunch before the meeting point of 12.50 at the restaurant we went for dinner. I had to make mental notes of the hostel and restaurant as we were given nothing in writing. So thank god I did as I wouldn’t have found it.
I sat and waited for the people to gather. I was given my train ticket and noticed the seat number was 23. My favourite number. I also noted the date of today was 10/10/10 that seemed significant to me. Numbers as many mathematicians will tell you also define the universe and there is great significance in them, as most people will note in their own lives where dates have significance or are recurring in some way. Anyway, I waited and we all went to the train when the guides were ready. My two British friends couldn’t find the restaurant and nearly missed the train. Thankfully they got on without tickets. I vouched to the conductor they were on my tour and legitimate. We reached the Hydroelectric scheme and found our mini bus.
I decided to sit in the front so I could get some good photo’s and film. One of the Chilean guys sat next to me between myself and the driver. I wanted the window to hang out and get footage. On our first stop I saw the other Chilean guy gesture to him and he was clapping. I wondered about that and felt it was to do with me. Later on in broken English the other Chilean sitting behind me indicated his friend was shy. That is when I realized he liked me. Actually I felt they both did. I felt connection with them as well. They were really nice men. One of them was a bank manager in Chile and the other an engineer, he was the one sitting next to me. In broken English they both tried to ask about Australia, wallabies and music. They shared with me popular Latino music. I definitely get the sensuality of Latin America. You see so many people cuddling and kissing, I like open expression of love and affection. Something the British found exhibitionist and this Victorian attitude did filter into Australian, American and Canadian cultures. These guys were very nice. Even the one sitting next to me was a gentle man, I saw that with a deliberate gap. I could feel his energy and innocence. I was happy to simply be present with him. We did our best to talk but I am at peace. I thought about meeting the right one for me, but I know this work is my life and it does come first. It doesn’t mean romance is ruled out but I am mostly peaceful around that question as I have a deep understanding that my life is moved and I feel peace in the world and myself is the most important focus. I do find a deeply satisfying life in working (working is the wrong word, this is not work), hmm exploring peace would be a truer way of stating what I am doing. I am interested in it in all its forms. One can find peace with a loved one but one can also find peace in following their dream. It is deeply fulfilling. I believe everything has its timing and when things are meant to arise in your life they do. Better to just enjoy the ride and see what happens.
Throughout the journey I waved at Peruvians out the window and some smiled excitedly back. I noticed the driver really surprised that I was waving. He looked surprised but I felt awakened in those moments. He may have wondered at my connection. I joked with him as I saw him to be very closed off. I am not trying to demonstrate connectedness to others but I am sure it affects people. I also played with a couple of children in Santa Theresa getting them to throw me the ball, the clown just comes out naturally and I can feel that energy around me. I then go and shake their hands and say gracias. I feel the connection with the kid and I see this is expanding in my life. I do love life.
I did have a moment of needing to go to the toilet, feeling the pain of holding on. I asked my Chilean friend to ask the driver to alto (stop) at a bano (toilet), next town. He said in 20 minutes so I thought just be with it. I reflected on people who are tortured by holding on, this is true by the way, and all the times I have been busting and that I could do it. Embarrassing if I am wrong. Even thought of that. I kept straining to see town lights in the hope of a toilet stop. Then I had to laugh, bumpy road. Each bump reminding me painfully of the relief of getting there. He drops me at a place and says I have to pay. It is like a private home. The front door is open so everyone in the bus can see in. I go to the back it is like walking towards the lights of mecca. Heaven awaits me beyond that door. I pray for toilet paper. It is not customary for Central or South Americans to have toilet paper. I reach into my pocket I have enough, but thankfully there is some there. I like to keep spare on me. So I leave and give them some money. I am not comfortable to do that I recognize the economic reality but it is training people to expect payment for kindness and that doesn’t resonate for me. I would never dream of charging in Australia.
Anyway we drive on and then the driver puts on the warning lights and gets out. We look out the window he is having a pee. I turn to my Chilean friend and say can you believe it ‘free pee’. I have to pay he just does it there. I laughed.
We stop up the road further after zig zagging around mountains. We stop at a small shop that has coffee. I spoke to this little girl behind the counter. She has no englis she tells me and I have no el espanial. We smile but still we are able to communicate and I can seem to joke, she laughed. I told her I went to Machu Picchu, I am Australian and many other things. She enjoyed our conversation. Then the bus started and she leaned toward me to shake my hand and kiss me. It was very touching. I felt my own ability to connect with people and my deep joy of people. I noticed within myself I speak to her as I would an equal. I see everyone as equal to me, no one is less in any way. The guy back at the hotel helping me with my tickets etc told me he saw me as transparent. I think as you live a life of truth and love you become naturally visible to people. You are not into pretence but really enjoy your encounters with people. Not deciding who you like who you don’t, just enjoying the experience of someone unique and creating a moment of happiness or peace. My joy is her joy. I can’t think of anything more beautiful to do.
We arrived back at Cusco around 9.30pm. I went up to everyone and hugged them and said goodbye. The French couple may visit me in Melbourne. I then said bye to the Chilean guys. I felt their warmth. The one who had sat next to me tried to communicate his feelings to me. I had touched him in some way and I could see his frustration at trying to tell me. I was understanding and said don’t worry. I gave him my business card, if he wants to connect he can.
I turned and left the group. I realized I was dropped in a plaza that I didn’t recognize. I was very tired as I had about 4 hours sleep the whole weekend. I tried to think where do I live. I was imagining Arequipa the last place I was at. I tried to rack my brain as to what the hostel looked like and the name of the street. For a while I couldn’t remember. I thought about the foolishness of dropping tourists in a foreign location. I had been told I’d be dropped at my hotel. I did have a card from the hotel but couldn’t find it. I looked and spotted a couple of police I asked ‘do you speak englis’. They said no. Through gestures I was able to tell them I was lost. I was able to convey that I needed a map, that would trigger where I lived. When I looked at the map I saw Sol Avenue and remembered joking with the receptionist about Soul in this place. So that was good I was able to work out how to get back with the help of police. I walked and contemplated crime, but noted the people on the street are innocent, so I enjoyed the walk after a long road trip.
I got back to the hotel and just went up to my room and crashed hoping for silence in the hotel. What a day but went to sleep feeling the warmth that had been around me and that I had generated through showing people kindness. I saw the images of Machu Picchu and the friendships. This is the real wealth that comes into my life when I show myself to the world. I really believe in visibility and positivity (non judgement) and I am really working on purifying my mind. I do believe we can be the change we wish to see and it comes from self observation and generating peace through joy without expectation. To just love what life sends without trying to change it. This is a way of seeing that makes life wonderful. I find it works for me.