Epic Fail

Feeling marginally better this morning and trying to chivvy ourselves along we are determined to book a trek today, otherwise we may find ourselves still wandering around agencies this time next month! To set us up for the challenge we go in search of a nice brekkie. Two or three doors down from us is “Jack´s café” which is supposed to sell the best coffee in town, trouble is – it’s a gringo establishment and it always has queues outside it, at least 5/6 deep. Yes really, morning, noon and night!! No matter how good it is reported to be we aren´t queuing, not now not ever. Instead we find a rather nice local (a tad posh) place “Cicciolina” and have a very nice traditional Peruvian brekkie each.

The big camera is also out with us today to try and capture some photos of the town.

Weighing up all the trekking options and with no reason not to, we go with the 1st local outfit we spoke to – “Sunshine tours”. They were also the only agency to offer therma-rests instead of roll mats 🙂 , we have also decided to risk it and leave tomorrow. It means we will be back Monday night late.

As for the sailing, we pop into a different agency and quiz them about buses and flights from here to Panama, probably only possible via Lima as we´ve been told it´s the only city in Peru you can get external flights. Just so we have the info when we speak to Richard after lunch you understand. The bus to Lima is 1/3 the price of a flight but takes 22 hours as opposed to 1½ hours by plane. The fact that Richard is in a hurry and considering the Crewseeker ad says it’s a paid delivery, it´s likely that flights all the way will be the answer and he´d presumably cover the cost of transfers to Panama. We may even arrive in Vancouver a little richer. Not bad for a month at sea and it would go a long way to getting the budget back on track for enabling us to be away a whole year. Plus, it should be cheaper to eventually fly home from the States.

What are the benefits of taking on the trip?
1. Well we get to do more sailing, adding mileage and experience to our sailing CV´s.
2. We get to experience a catamaran in anger
3. We get to sail up the Pacific north coast stopping in Mexico, and possibly Hawaii
4. We save some money
5. We get a completely different travel experience at the other end – no half built towns, we hope!
6. An option of sometime in Vancouver followed by a road trip down the west coast to California and then across to Denver to visit the troops (Dan, Angie and Co.; Andrew, Karen and Co.) Yes Bernice is actually coming around to a US trip; best get it in quick before/in case she changes her mind!!!

What are the downsides of taking on the trip?
1. We have to leave South America straight after the Inca trail probably
2. We don´t get to visit Ecuador or Columbia
3. We don´t get to finish Peru, no “Colca Canyon” or “Nazca Lines”
4. No more meeting up with all the great people again that we´ve already met and keep re-meeting

All that aired it may not be up to us to decide anyway. We have a long chat with Richard late afternoon and he´s really keen to get going ASAP but the earliest we could probably be ready would be next Wed/Thurs which might not be quick enough for him. He seems really interested in us joining him on the one hand but on the other he´s already been sat in Panama having necessary works done on the boat and is now itching to get going. Sensibly we all agree to leave it open till we return Mon night/Tues morning from Machupicchu and see how it all is then. Leave it in the lap of the gods. If he has found other crew who are available, then it isn´t meant to be, if he hasn´t and we are still interested after the trek and having had time to mull it over then we go ahead!

In the meantime, we have a pre-trek briefing to go to tonight at the agency, to meet the guide and others going on the trek with us and sort out final arrangements re pick-ups in the morning etc. Then we are going to try a 2nd time to meet Tom and Natalie at “The Real McCoy´s” bar where we tried to meet them last night.

As it turns out we are running a bit late and Bernice goes onto the briefing while Huw wraps up the Skype chat with Richard. When she gets there it becomes apparent that it´s only the two of us for the briefing… curious, especially as we were told there would be 7 others on the trip leaving tomorrow… Hhmm, it´s all good as the smaller the group the better, but just us!!! that doesn´t seem right. Anyway the guy seems sound and we will be picked up from our hostel in the morning at 0430. Ouch!

Feeling a little more like food we arrive at the bar (it´s just across the street from the agency) a little earlier than we said. To find they are about to start a quiz 🙂 Reading a bit about the bar, it´s run by a British couple who came to Cusco/Peru to do some volunteering some time ago. They liked it so much they stayed and opened a bar, now a lot of their takings, including the money from the quiz nights, are injected into local charity organisations carrying on the good work they originally came out to do. We like to support this kind of enterprise so obviously agree to take part in the quiz and hope Tom and Natalie show up to help…

Luckily enough and not that we had any doubt, they arrive shortly after we have ordered food. We decide to call our team Epic Fail after Tom calling last night’s efforts to meet exactly that. The quiz is good fun, with quite a good layout, even though it is still more Americanised than we´d like. Natalie seems to be on fire, especially on the music round which is very US orientated, and to all our amazements we actually win. Not only are we one of the smallest teams, but we don´t have a single American on our team, we are all Brits. Get in there! A bottle of wine is our prize which we donate to Tom and Nat as we have to get going, a very early start ahead of us and we haven’t quite packed yet….

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