By Mikey Beats
San Diego DJ Mikey Beats, and his nurse wife Jenny, decided to take a vacation to Machu Picchu, Peru. For the next few days San Diego Free Press will publish their daily adventures. Read parts I & II, part III, parts IV & IV.5 and part V.
Friday 6/7/13 Day 6
We awoke to my alarm at 5:00am and I felt much better. After a whole day of feeling sorry for myself, and Jenny nursing me back to life, I was ready. We dressed and went down to the restaurant where they had an excellent spread of breakfast foods.
I decided not to press my luck and ate only a banana, a few pieces of bread and papaya juice. At about 5:40, we heard busses arriving outside, dropping people off at the entrance to Machu Picchu. We quickly cleared our plates and headed outside.
The gates opened at 6:00am on the dot and there were about 100 people in line before us. We rushed through the gates showing our passports and tickets and passed many people who were beginning their tours.
We traversed the first 100 yards of steps and inclines to get to an opening above the farming terraces. That is where we got our first look at the ominous Machu Picchu. We both stopped and stared for a moment until I snapped us out of it and pressed on while many of the people around us took pictures.
I had talked to many people before we got there and all told me that the place filled up with tourists very quickly. We wanted to get to the highest possible vantage point and enjoy the view of the city with the least amount of people on it.
We climbed higher and got to the Guard House which had a complete view of the city. I looked to the west and saw atop the terraces no one anywhere near it.
While most people awaited the sunrise over the eastern mountain range, we pressed on to get the view I had dreamed of. We got to the top of the terraces and were in complete awe.
There before us laid Machu Picchu with no one around except on the Guard House. We stood silent as we looked down at the sleeping city with Huayna Picchu towering over the empty ruins just before the sun came over the mountains. We snapped many pictures and took some amazing videos.
People started flowing out into the ruins like ants and we decided to go exploring. We walked up a few more flights of stairs and a trail crept into the foliage. We decided to follow it taking the advice of an American who said the Inca Bridge is up that way.
After about 20 minutes of hiking up and down the trail, it opened up into a vast valley on the western side of the ruins. Deep down below was the Urambaba River running into a hydro plant.
It was kind of a buzz kill seeing something so new next to something very old, but we trekked on. We finally reached the Inca bridge that had a 1,900 foot drop and was only passable by two tree trunks. We snapped photos and hiked back to the main area.
The night before I had e-mailed Mike regarding the private tour he was going on the next day at Machu Picchu. When he mentioned the tour on the train ride there, he seemed bummed that he was going by himself. In the e-mail, I invited Jenny and myself to tag along and in his response he insisted that we join him at the entrance at 8:20am.
Jenny and I came back down to drop our jackets off in our room and meet up with Mike. He wasn’t very hard to find. He was a rather tall white man amongst a bunch of little brown men.
I spotted him and walked up to him as he was carrying on a tense conversation with some federal police and a man who looked like a guide. All sides agreed to an end to the dispute, which was over bus tickets, and I approached Mike. After our hellos and an introduction to the guide, we were off on a guided tour.
Getting a guided tour of the ruins was a smart decision because we learned and saw so many things that we otherwise would have no idea about. A couple of things I took away from the tour was that the Inca abandoned the city because the Spanish were coming. They destroyed the Inca trail to Machu Picchu to prevent the Spanish from discovering it. Conquistadors were real assholes. Hiram Bingham didn’t “discovery” shit. And there is a trail to the east recently discovered that is being excavated to find out what it leads to.
Shortly after the tour ended, we rested at an eastern facing wall of the ruins. There were llamas grazing and one just happened to be within arms length of Jenny and photo shot of me. Unfortunately for one guy and his wife, they were below where the llama wanted to go to the bathroom and they almost got a golden shower.
Jenny, Mike and I headed back to the Lodge for lunch. We later gave Mike a tour of our hotel and we parted ways but set up plans to meet him in Lima a few days later. Jenny and I rested up for a few hours and headed back out to the ruins for the last hour that it was open. We caught somewhat of a sunset but did get a bunch more real good pictures of empty ruins.
When we got back to the hotel, we set up jacuzzi time where we walked out in our hotel robes and slippers. I never understood rich people and their pampering, but I had to admit, the amenities of this hotel were spectacular. The jacuzzi had a view of the ruins and had a phone next to it to call for service. I’ve been in a lot of awesome jacuzzis, but this one had a Batphone and a view to die for.
We met the most bizarre couple in there. He was from England, she from Mexico City and they both were hammered. She was talking to Jenny about some super unhealthy rich person diet and he was talking to me about stashing money in off shore accounts to avoid paying taxes. I was appalled and wanted to throw up in my hand and throw up at them. After humoring them for a little bit, I gave Jenny the “let’s get the hell out of here” nudge under the bubbles and we got out.
Dinner was set for 7:15 and we got there a little late. There was a “traditional” Peruvian acoustic act playing Beatles covers with a bunch of white people golf clapping after every song.
The food at this place was purely gourmet and I had my first taste of alpaca meat. Honestly, it tasted like nothing I care to explain about but I will say that if it was wrapped in bacon, I would have loved it. Then again, anything wrapped with bacon is good so that doesn’t say much for the poor alpaca I ate.
Everything else was fantastic and I did notice that the salad greens were much thicker than salads I had back home and I decided it was because these were vegetables grown at high altitude, which make the plants stronger. After a desert that I didn’t need to eat, but licked the bowl anyways, Jenny and I retired to our room to wake up early and climb to the Sun Gate and Huayna Pichu.
Mikey Beats Beltran is a native San Diegan and veteran of the local music scene. He started off as a teenager working at Soma Live in Bay Park and he’s currently the co-owner and Vice President of Sleeping Giant Music. He has over ten years of DJing experience that has taken him all over the US. He lives in Pacific Beach, with his wife Jenny, where he was recently elected to the PB Planning Group. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeyBeats.