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“What Will They Say?”

“What Will They Say?”

picchustairsandplaza

Sounds of: Machu Picchu, Peru and Pumamarca Ruinas, Peru

 

 

June 18th, 2013        Doing our part?

        It is around midnight in an internet cafe here in Lima, Peru. The lights are shining with Mcdonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts in the plaza just outside. Our bellies are full of Chinese food. Dan’s birthday is tomorrow, 27! Same birthday as my mom’s!     Unfortunately he is getting sick (sore throat, stuffy nose) 🙁 We are preparing to trek for 10 days in (the Huayhuash circuit aka 2nd “best” trek in the world, second only to Himalayas) the day after tomorrow! The hike is all above 12,000 feet so we must rest up!

We ventured to Machu Picchu this past week!! We walked the Salkantay Trek, unguided, unmuled, for 8 days until we arrived at the campground nearest to Machu Picchu (the lost city of the Incas.) The trek took us through icy mountains, beautiful low lying pastures, jungleous forests being chased by biting flies, berry and banana plantations, cloud forests, and raging rivers.

water

Crossing an icy river at the top of a waterfall was one of the most painful things we have both experienced. We took off our boots for the ankle deep water, and the pressure of walking over the cut rocks with our heavy backpacks weighing us down, caused us both to scream out in pain as we crossed. We ate ramen noodles, strange fluffy granola bars from Cusco, dried apricots and almonds, and chocolate bars. Butterflies and hummingbirds followed us in the final days. We finished reading Robinson Crusoe to one another 🙂 (And I found out that Daniel Defoe is one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s favorite authors!)

On the 7th day we found ourselves on top of a mountain, (after climbing straight up for four hours) LOST and looking for the ancient ruins called “llactapata” (which we were supposed to camp at that night). Night was falling and we had reached the top of the mountain but no ruins were in sight. The trail was covered in a thick green moss and began to grow smaller and smaller until we were crawling under treetrunks to find our way. When our sweaty bodies began to freeze from the cold, we decided to camp in the forest and look for the ruins in the morning. Luckily there was a flat spot, just big enough for our tent amidst the jungle, and we sought refuge in our little portable bubble. (The next morning we found llactapata… literally a 10 minute walk down the hill from where we camped). A gorgeous flat land, staring off into the cascading mountains across the gorge, the perfect campspot.  ruinwindow

Our “new” saying, ” You win some you lose some.” It makes us feel better every time we order the wrong thing on the menu, the taxi driver jips us, we get lost, or pretty much every time big or small things happen to us traveling. Everyday we win some and lose some.

 

usOn the final day of our trek we woke up at 4:30am in order to get to Machu Picchu for sunrise. We walked, shining our headlamps along the lonely railroad tracks, which most people take to get up to the ancient city. Picchu was stunning, beautiful, but maybe just a little too “touristy” for our tastes. What we mean by that is crowded, tons and tons of picture taking, waiting in lines, guards walking around, restricted areas, rules, etc. BUT that is of course needed in one of the world’s most incredible manmade natural wonders. If you don’t know much about Machu Picchu READ THIS! (National Geographic’s top secrets of the city). We walked around the city for about 5 to 6 hours, standing near guided tour groups to get a little more informed, and regretting that we didn’t buy a guide to show us around.

The biggest questions we were asking ourselves during this time, and during the trek as we read all about the Incas and Machu Picchu off of our ipad in our tent at night was…“What is our generation going to leave behind?” This marvelous city has withstood, centuries, earthquakes, natural disasters! This city was made with men and men only and it is still alive and placed beautifully within the mountains and forests for us to enjoy. There is no trash to be found from the time of the Incas, no spoiled rainforests or tacky indulgent buildings. What are we building upon our earth for our future generations to find? One day, we will be the skeletons, the artifacts, the history lessons, and the national parks for the future to enjoy and learn from! What will be our legacy? And…are you doing your part?

Lyrics:    city

I’m high as the mountains, I am standin’ in the clouds.

I’m sittin’ on a pile of ancient stones.

And until this very moment, I had never been a wonderin’

Someday, will another look upon my bones?

Everyday we’re gettin’ taller, every year we’re livin’ longer

In the future, giant men will roam the earth.

And they’ll sit upon this mountain and look out at machu picchu

And say “Twas leprachauns who was here first!”

 

What will our childrens’ children say.  incanclock

when we all of us up and gone away?

Will they find the landfills? Our plastic cemeteries.

What will our childrens’ children say

when they all of em’ up and find the waste?

What will they say?

 

The Incas built this city without iron, wheels, or mules.

And this city has withstood six centuries!

Our churches may not perish, but our forests we should cherish,

if a healthy earth we hope to someday leave.

Chorus.       waterfall

 

What stories will our childrens’ children tell

of our lives, and how our people fell?

What will they tell?

I hope they find the Eiffel tower and lady liberty,

Mount Rushmore or the islands of Dubai!

Wind farms and the Empire State, Apollo 13,

our world’s web, wide and vast and free!

Chorus

Background:

So… we tried to take our new charango into Machu Picchu to record this video. Right before crossing the gates into the city a woman confiscated my charango saying that it was a “sanctuary” not a park, and we were devastated. However we had researched some ruins that were about an hour away from Machu Picchu and so we decided that it would be a perfect place for the song as well. With a lucky stroke of fate that night we camped out in the backyard of a young 15-year old Peruvian girl’s home named Susana. We were told by a man on the road that if we followed the girls waiting for a truck we could get to the ruins known as Pumamarca, since they lived in the town below the ruins. We hitched a ride with the worktruck that carried the schoolchildren back to their homes in the Sacred Valley every day. It was one of the most amazing rides we have taken, driving through the valley past secluded homes, corn drying on large mats on the lawns, dog gangs chasing each other through the streets. The kids would stack the tires up in the back of the truck and play fight the whole way home standing on the tires to get the finest lookout points from the truck.   carolynschoolbus

Susana, one of the schoolchildren, lived near the ruins we were going to, and so she let us follow us all the way to her home. She sped up the mountain with speed and agility I imagined a “real Inca” would have. We huffed and puffed behind her and I asked her about her family. She is one of 8 children and she only goes to school, she does not work. She likes living in the valley and she thinks it’s cool that we are musicians. The sun was falling fast and we needed to find a camp spot so she suggested we camp in her backyard. Her family welcomed us whole-heartedly and when we offered money they refused! First time ever! I did however get out a few packs of cookies we had. The three year old girl who was before standing shyly behind her father, jumped out, grabbed the cookies, ripped them open with her mouth, spit out the wrapper, and chomped down on them! Dan and I laughed at the sight of the pig-tailed little girl with the dirty face, eating the cookies in less than 30 seconds.susanascasa

The next morning we hiked up to the ruins just above their home, and filmed “What Will They Say?”

 Click here for more Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu Photos!

love,

Carolyn and Dan