Archive for February 20, 2012

The Real Monday Post

I have already posted today because I didn’t get round to posting my Sunday Travel Tales yesterday. I have been busy today, but it seems like I haven’t done much.

It’s Monday, but its not an OMG It’s Monday type of Monday; it’s more of a dead Monday. This morning when I roused myself at 8am the world was like a morgue, no cars, no people, no noise. There was just this deathly quiet. You see Yesterday was the first of the 12 Special Group parades at the Sambódromo and there will be more tonight.

There are also local festivities like the Geriatria Bloco which is only a 20 minute walk from home. Lots of people having lots of fun until the wee hours.

Bloco da Geriatria, Campo Grande

I suspect there are many nursing sore heads, so I will type quietly.

I went once two years ago, but that was enough, now I watch carnaval from the comfort of my sofa.

Business-wise, Brazil is still closed. Nothing moves until Wednesday, and then it’s only a half day because it’s Ash Wednesday. Nothing really happens until Thursday, that’s when I start lessons again.

Av Rio Branco, the main business district downtown

Cordão da Bola Preta had a record turn out this year. Bola Preta is the traditional street party starting in Cinelândia, downtown Rio. I went a couple of times in my early years in Brazil, but since have moved further out of reach. This year there were a record 2.2million participants, that’s one hell of a party.

Literally, a sea of people in the main street, people as far as the eye can see.

My plans today, not much. I have had my customary nap, Lixo is still having his half hidden under my chair. I am debating the subject of lunch. Yesterday I didn’t debate. I literally put on my pants and went, but I can’t spend that sort of money everyday, as much as i would like to. But lunch should definitely involve food, which is something that my fridge is devoid of at the moment; not quite but the three salsichas (sausages) don’t appeal at the moment.  So a trip to the supermarket is on the cards, although there is an element of lethargy involved.

I should move…


Yes, I know it’s Monday. Somehow I’ve managed to let carnaval get to me. I had a post planned for yesterday, I was going to continue the story of the Colca Canyon, but I found a story that is a little more current; like in the news this morning.

Machu Picchu & The Inca Trail

Now while I have been to Machu Picchu more times than I can count on both hands, I have never been on the Inca Trail; that is not to say that many of my tourists haven’t been. You see on the trips I accompanied around Peru the Inca Trail was an option. The tourists who wanted went with local experienced guides while I accompanied those who didn’t want on a tour through the Sacred Valley and then on to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu the next morning where we arrived to regroup with the ‘Trailers’ as they descended from the trail into MP.

So I have a pretty good idea of what the Inca Trail consists of. Here’s the story I found this morning.

Student takes on Inca Trail for charity

A TEENAGER from Goring is to attempt a nine-day trek in Peru to raise money for charity.

Student Sarah Taylor, 19, will take part in the Machu Picchu Inca Trail Challenge in August.

The trail reaches altitudes of 15,000ft as it takes in the Andean mountain range.

Miss Taylor, of Elvendon Road, hopes to raise £2,850 for the Meningitis Trust.

She said: “I’ve never really travelled and I wanted to do something for charity so I thought I would combine the two.

“With this challenge, the trekking is not the most difficult bit. The real test is the altitude as it can leave you feeling breathless, even after a couple of steps. Also there is the possibility of altitude sickness, so it is by no means going to be easy.”

Miss Taylor, who is studying for a maths degree at Nottingham University, saw the challenge advertised on campus. She will be among a group of about 20 students on the trek and will be holding fund-raising events before it.

Her parents are John, 50, a chartered accountant, and Jane, 50, a teaching assistant at Goring Primary School, where Sarah attended before going to Our Lady’s, Abingdon. The couple have another daughter, Vicky, 16.

To make a donation, visit

Source: Henley Standard

Doing the Inca Trail is not as fearsome as many imagine. Yes, it’s a slog at times, especially the second day when you climb the most in altitude.

Doing the trail you begin in Cusco, where the altitude is 3,600 in the city, although the airport altitude is a little lower and often misquoted as the city.

One of the initial impacts on going from sea-level (normally Lima) to 3,600m (10,000ft +/-) for the first time is you may/may not suffer from Sorrochi (altitude sickness). Some suffer, some just breeze through it. It normally strikes you the first time you go above 3,000m, once you have experienced this once, normally you never experience it again. Sorrochi can affect people in different ways, a simple headache to full blown nausea and dizziness to the point where some (very rarely) need to be evacuated to sea-level a.s.a.p.

Abra de Huarmihuañusca or 'Dead Woman's Pass' at 4,200m

Some groups go by bus, others by train to Km 82 where the four day trek begins. Km 82 is a lower altitude than Cusco, you climb then to 3,000m, 12 km trek to Wayllabamba at 3,000m where you stay the first night. The second day you also cover 12km, but climb to Abra de Huarmihuañusca or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4,200m, from there it’s a steep descent to Pacamayo, 3,600m for the second night.

Photo credit: Naked South America, great story of the trail there.

From that point the trek is mainly down hill until you get to Machu Picchu at 2,200m.

Machu Picchu

What many people don’t realise is that from Cusco you are basically going downhill to the rain forest. Many people are under the illusion that Machu Picchu is higher in the mountains, it’s not.

While I have written about the 4 Day trek, there is another option of a 2 Day trek starting at Km 104.

Next Sunday, we’ll continue with the Colca Canyon story.

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