Today is quite a big day in Dutch footie and Peter really wanted to see the game, but it being Sunday nowhere is open early enough so he resorts to listening to it on the internet. We catch up with them at a place called “The Muse” where we are having brekkie as they wander passed. The result pleased Peter, though we know Paul would be none too happy about it, assuming he was aware – he is currently in the jungle somewhere…
Today´s mission is to visit loads of agencies and find out what kind of money we need to stump up to get to Machupicchu. We know from friends ahead of us it is possible to do an alternative trail (such as Salkantay) for $200 more or less – a 4 night/5 day hike – but we also know that the list prices on the internet are still up around $4/500. The strategy we adopt is our usual, to go into the “big few” that are those mentioned in the likes of Lonely Planet, Rough Guide etc. and compare them with a few other unknown quantities and get a feel for what they are all offering or not. It never ceases to amaze us, whether it´s a restaurant, hostel or trekking company, a mention in any travel guide seems to just be a licence for them to raise their prices and lower their customer service!
So having visited (either side of siesta time) “United Mice”, “SAS”, “Llama Path”, with from memory prices: $420, $450, $420, $565 respectively and some unknowns: “Sunshine Tours” being one of them, and another one some friends used and semi-recommended, with prices between $185-$220, we really struggled to see what extra we were getting for the extra price tags. Time required for weighing up all the info and the cost implications we thinks!
On our way back to the hostel we get a holler from Laura and Mirjam (Swiss girls from Wasi Masi) on a balcony above us. They are sitting with Laura´s parents enjoying the sun. We go and join them for a beer, it would be rude not to. They are booked onto an official Inca Trail trek which arrives at Machupiccu on Friday; depending on when we leave we may see them there, the Salkantay trek takes an extra day. They are enjoying a posh hotel in town as they are doing the trek with Laura´s P´s, cheeky but nice!
Disaster strikes us! We innocently go to a local ´fast food’ chicken place for dinner, which in itself should and would ordinarily be harmless, but for the fact that Bernice´s chicken was indeed a little too fast on coming off the grill and wasn´t cooked properly. She thought as she was eating it that it was ketchup she was seeing (poor lighting honest!) but it turned out to be raw. Oops, schoolboy error!!!
She paid for her mistake alright, up through the night talking to G on the big white telephone!