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  • Writer's picturePawel Stefanoff

Arrived in Cusco!

Distance 49 km (cum. 8,929 km); Ascent 525 m (cum. 66,081 m). Arrived in Cusco! Based on my previous experience, I have a hate-love relation to the popular tourist destinations. In these places I feel less safe and find myself treated by the local people as a source of 'plata' rather than a human being carrying an interesting story. On the other hand, there is a reason why some places are popular! They are natural wonders, unique in the world. Also, the local economy benefits, more people have jobs, and finally there may be some investments in the preservation of natural environment... My ambiguous feelings can be well documented by what happened to me a week ago in Puno... I was preparing to leave to a 2-day trip to the islands on the lake Titikaka. Since the port was some 2 km away, I decided to take a ricksha. An old sickly man had a problem with speech (or was pretending) and we could not agree on the price. When I pressed he showed with his hand '4', then confirmed when I asked that it will cost 4 soles, a price rather high around here... When I arrived at the port I found out that I don't have change and I gave him a note of 10 soles, which is more than 3 USD and a price of a good dinner. I expected change but he just took the note and started to mumble something... I gave up... I had mixed feelings: On one hand he was a poor sick guy who most likely did not receive retirement of any sort, and I would be happy to just support him; On the other hand it was really annoying to be treated like another white looser who can be squeezed like an orange. A local would pay for this service not more than 50 centavos and this would be considered a fair price...

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