Getting Around Peru
|Mototaxi - very Peruvian method of getting around|
Indy--> Houston--> Mexico City--> Lima --> Cusco
(We could have done it in three, but she threw in the Mexico City stop so her hyperactive mother didn't have to sit still quite so long. If we did it again, we'd skip that step, even if it meant a longer flight from the states.)
But the variety of transportation we took and saw once we were in Peru was far more interesting than our standard flights!
For tourists taxis are the normal method of getting from place to place - even when the destination is many hours away. And a typical taxi is a Kia or Toyota. (Not one of those cute mototaxis like above. Those are used mostly by the locals.) We met so many friendly people, but our taxi drivers were among the most helpful and kind folks of all. With one of our drivers, we discovered a common bond in the Lord Jesus Christ. So sweet!
Taxis in Peru don't have meters; instead you negotiate the price before you begin a journey. So if you want to go from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, for example, and you want to stop off at the Pisac market for an hour, you simply ask your driver how much that would cost.
It was a good thing we trusted our taxi drivers so much. Because driving in Peru is Kuh-RA-zy!!! Drivers shift lanes without warning. Horns continually blare. (I never figured out what they meant. Watch out; here I come! Get out of the way, you nincompoop! Excuse me! Who knows!? Maybe all of the above!) And the passing! Oh my! We could be driving down a narrow, winding, mountain road, and our driver would decide to pass the mototaxi in front of us. No worries that a huge tourist bus was barreling towards us!)
|Lima traffic outside our hotel. Fairly uncongested at this hour.|
We saw very, very few stop signs in Peru. Kristen found one in Cusco, and said, "Mom, they do too have stop signs!" But before she'd finished her sentence, our driver had blasted past it, showing us why there weren't more.
But you know what? The cars looked remarkably dent-free, so it seemed the drivers knew what they were doing. We quickly learned to just sit back and not worry. It worked.
No roads lead from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, leaving options either of trekking for four days on the Inca Trail or riding a train. Peru Rail's Visadome was our choice, and it was lovely.
The scenery was gorgeous.
But we also had a pair of terrific South African seat mates to share our table with. They de-trained before we for a day hike up to Machu Picchu. We ended up on the same flight out of Cusco several days later and were able to catch up on our separate adventures!
A few more modes of travel -
|More adorable moto-taxis. |
They are basically three-wheeled motorcycles with a back bench for passengers.
I loved the variety of outer shells.
And finally - an ambulance.
What? That doesn't look like an ambulance to you? While we were on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco,
|Cusco Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas|
a man near Kristen fell to the ground. She went to investigate and found he was having a seizure.
|Plaza de Armas|
Several other bystanders tried to help him as well, but none were medical personnel. Kristen knew what he needed, but not being able to communicate was a serious hindrance. At least she was able to get him on his side and prevented others from trying to make him stand up while he was still seizing. When help arrived, it was an emergency truck like the one above. The sick man was made to walk between a couple of helpers, and then he sat in the cab for his journey to a hospital.
Kristen and I decided then and there that Peru was not a good place to have a medical emergency!
(To be fair, we did also see a few of more traditional ambulances at various times.)