15 July 2007

I´ve Seen a Condor

This afternoon I puffed my way up from Cusco city to Saqsaywaman (pronounced "sexy woman" to look at the Inca ruins, or what is left of them after the conquistadors pillaged the stones to build their mansions and churches in Cusco.

The remains are impressive enough in themselves, but what was important was that a man had a young condor there. It was perched on a rock and looking bored. He was collecting for a breeding programme. My camera´s batteries were just about spent but I got a couple of pics before they died completely.

Not being a wild bird, this one does not count as a tick - but an 11kg vulture close up makes a significant impression so I had to slip in a quick post.

My Spanish lessons are over, and I can undertake simple conversations with some confidence. However, I am grateful that the guide for next week´s trek speaks English. Just as a backup you understand ;-)

The plan for tomorrow is to get a local bus to Pisac to admire some more Inca ruins, then at 6am on Monday (yuk!) the bus comes to whisk me away for my high Andes trek. I have been advised to take coca toffee to help keep me going in the thin air.

It will be probably be a week before the next post, when I will be able to report on high altitude hiking and Machu Picchu. Keep those comments coming.

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