Well if anything, Machu Picchu, made me forget that I’m still wearing the same clothes for the 5th day, and my beloved camera has no battery or data cord. But once again, in the early morning, I call for my bag.
This time I talk with someone about next steps if they don’t find it. She admits that it goes to a different division on the 6th day, who will supposedly continue to help me find it, but are also the people with whom I would settle a claim. Well that’s discouraging. I have given up all but a small hope that my bag will be found.
Senior Parales to the rescue!
“Sir, I’ve found your bag. It’s with Senior Parales in Cusco. You should call him on his cellphone now.”
This is new. I’ve never been given a local person to contact! I thank the woman and immediately dial Mr. Parales, who puts me on with his wife. She speaks more English than I do Spanish. (Will someone tell me again why I paid tens of thousands of dollars to study Russian?)
Wow. Mr. Parales is bringing me my bag 8,000 feet in the Andes.
The Via Feratta.
The adventure travel circuit in the Sacred Valley is growing rapidly. Trekking, Mountain biking and rafting dominate, although teh Urubamba river is getting so crowded and polluted that some outfits have stopped running the rapids. One of the newer entrants is Naturavive.com who do a Via Feratta, Zip line and rapelling down the side of one of the more vertical canyon sides.
A via feratta is latin for ‘iron way’ which refers to the system of iron bars drilled and glued into the rockface, providing a climbable path to the top without any technical experience. A system of carabiners and metal cords protects the climbers in the event of a fall.
Up the side of the cliff
It takes a while to get everyone in the gear. Lily, Emma and I play around at the base, tying each other together with the clips. The weather is perfect, dry and 65 degrees in the shade where we climb.
The 1500 foot climb is glorious and it takes about 2 hours. The view of the Sacred Valley is breathtaking. Wildflowers of all kinds are everywhere, and birds chirp. The other day the group saw a condor family fly very close, but we aren’t so lucky.
Zippity Doo Dah
As if climbing on the rockface, and seeing all the flora and fauna weren’t enough, they have a series of 5 ziplines that take you all the way back down to the bottom. And aside from the second one, they are eye-poppingly fast.
The last few are really fast and fun. Trish actually gets up enough speed that she crashes into poor Marco. The gear needed adjusting, and he looked really sorry. But it was pretty funny and no one was hurt.
The last zip line is really a short repel, and then a controlled drop back to the basecamp. We are absolutely envigorated aftweward, tired, but thrilled to have done that event. And we really liked our guides, Koki, Allen and Marcos.
Do I get my bag?
Of course it wasn’t closed, but whatever. She says they will send it again, and in fact, Senior Parales’s ‘Aunt’ is on the way with the bag right now and will be there in 30 minutes.
Could I really be only thirty minutes away from fresh underwear and a camera to film this awesome vacation? (At this point, I’m undecided about which is more important.) Trish goes to Hearts cafe, a local non-profit restaurant that donates profits to several local charities, and gets me a coffee and a deliciously spicy samosa.
And then on the street, now dark except for the headlights of taxi’s and busses driving people back from the trains station to Cusco, I see a young man with a grey dufflebag like mine. And through the door comes my stuff. The young kid, obviously not Senior Parales nor his aunt, explains in broken english that there is another place called KBtours that is different than KBTambo hotel. (Later we find out that they stole the name from this hotel and it is in fact, true that there are two places named ‘KB’ .)
I immediately shower, change and throw away the cheap Chinese pants I bought three days ago. My clothes go in a special container to keep any contamination from spreading throughout my bag. And best of all, I recharge that goddamn camera and get ready to post to this blog from all the notes and scraps I’ve been keeping.
Dinner and sleep have never been quite as sweet. I got my bag back!