Raindrops on My Journal in Machu Picchu Continued

The fog seemed to grow denser the higher the bus climbed. I wondered if my flu-ridden body could wait it out for that iconic view of Machu Picchu bathed in sunlight. Upon arrival to the entrance, I realized that in all of the months of research I conducted prior to my big, solo trip, there really wasn’t much to be worried about. The flow of tourists in and out felt less like a cattle herding than it did a well-oiled machine.

Be sure to have the card with which you made your payment for entrance into Machu Picchu, instructed almost every forum, blog, and guidebook. I never once had to pull out my Capital One Visa. I suppose it’s better safe than sorry. Maybe it used to be necessary, but between the bus tickets, passport, and entrance ticket, the amount of things I “needed” were enough to cause a mini anxiety attack. Given my feverish brain that I was operating with, forgetful and slow, the anxiety attack was closer than normal. Again, though, better safe than sorry.

One Way

The citadel had one-way walkways. I suppose this was in an effort to keep the organized flow of thousands upon thousands of visitors daily. It sometimes felt like a maze. Prepare to hear a loud whistle, to be yelled at or a combination of both if you intend on going against the grain.

“!Sentido contrario!” (Wrong way) they’d shout, motioning for you to turn around.

I know from experience. I found myself walking in circles at one point. The fog didn’t help this confusion. Attempting to avoid the growing crowd all together, I walked down toward the lower part of the terraces. Everyone was seemingly trekking upward to obtain a better view, I assume. A better view of some wet clouds, I presumed.

Rest and Relaxation at Machu Picchu

I found a stone wall and plopped my sick self down. I sat, taking in the quiet, the solitude, and the moment knowing I needed to rest if I planned to see even a quarter of Machu Picchu. It was much larger than I imagined and there was plenty of stairs climbing in my future. A lone woman passed by. She politely asked me to take her photo, fog covered Huayna Picchu, the moss covered pinnacle in most iconic photos of the famed wonder of the world, as the invisible backdrop.

“Gracias,” she thanked me as she wandered off behind stone pillars and archways. I pulled out my pluma and I began to write as sprinkling drops of rain fell on the paper.

“I’m sitting at one of the wonders of the world as I write this. It’s incredible – hard to believe I’m here. It’s quite foggy, so I haven’t experienced the full effect of Machu Picchu, but I intend on awaiting the fog to dissipate.

It’s sprinkling and I am not well. I slept terribly and have been running a fever since. I’m contemplating canceling the last day of my trip in Lima and just staying at the airport. So much travelling – I’m exhausted.”

Feeling Less than Wonderful at one of the Wonders of the World

I felt so poorly. My teeth hurt, my joints ached, and every move felt like a concerted effort. I climbed a flight of stairs that appeared to be built at almost a ninety-degree angle by the ancient Incan people. I tried bypassing this route but was immediately turned around when walking el sentido contrario. Each step felt like I was carrying a ten-pound bowling ball on each ankle. At one point, I became so dizzy, wavering backward. I used all of my effort to throw myself against the adjacent stone wall to avoid a serious accident.

Looking down a staircase I just climbed at Machu Picchu
Looking down a staircase I just climbed at Machu Picchu

“!Sentido contrario!”

“You made it!” an American man exclaimed amidst a crowd of tourists. I looked up, startled. It took a moment for me to realize this was the man from Arizona I’d met while waiting for the Peru Rail train at the station in Ollantaytambo. We had started up a friendly conversation the morning prior when I wasn’t feeling nearly as weak as I was when he recognized me at Machu Picchu. “Yes, I did,” I forced a feeble smile – barely, I was thinking.

Later that night, I wrote in my journal:

“Well, Machu Picchu was a bust, unfortunately. The weather coincided with how I feel – it was foggy, rainy, and chilly the whole time. I already planned on this, but I will have to return.

I ran into Greg in the main square of Machu Picchu – was nice to see a familiar face.”

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