little sarah Big World

Tag: tourists

Cuzco

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McDonald’s and Starbucks: A Love Story

We arrived in Cuzco in the grey, pre-dawn hours–hungry, tired, and not knowing where to go. Just like so many of our arrivals this trip.  The bus station was filled with tourists and sketchy “tour-guides,” with people at bus line kiosks screaming out destinations (“Arequipa! Arequipa! Arequiiipaaa!”). After arguing with several locals and guides about whether or not there was a train to Macchu Pichu directly from Cuzco (turns out they were right on that one…), we headed into town to figure things out for ourselves and watch the sun come up.

Then we spent an inordinate amount of time (on-and-off throughout the day) in McDonald’s and Starbucks. Because there was wifi, and familiar food (soy milk!!!), and clean bathrooms. Which I may or may not have sullied with my bird-bathing, teeth brushing, underwear changing ways. Yep. Life on the road.

They were particularly well-curated fast food chains, however, so as to match with the central plaza in Cuzco. You can really see the Spanish influence in this city’s architecture–the tiled roofs, balconies wrapping around the plaza’s main buildings…

European style has not completely conquered, however–there remain segments of the city’s original walls, made of massive blocks of stone and miraculously held in place by great design and no mortar. They were warm to the touch in the mid-fall sunlight. I got in trouble for touching them.

 

We wound up planning our trip to Macchu Pichu through a tourist agency by happy accident–we stopped a man headed into the train station to ask a question, and he turned out to own a tourism agency (likely, in a destination city like Cuzco…). He gave us a great deal, which meant that we’d be leaving Cuzco that very night, on a train bound for Aguas Calientes. In the meantime, we visited museums, ate falafel and burgers, hiked up and around the steep hills surrounding the center, and enjoyed the free internet and immaculate bathrooms at Starbucks.

¡Hola de España! no.5‏

…being the 5th in a series, preceded by:

¡Hola de España!‏, ¡Hola de España! #2‏, ¡Hola de España! no.3‏, and ¡Hola de España! no.4

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Hi, y’all. This’ll be short. I’m in Alicante now. I left Madrid on Thursday with Michael (the Irish kid from Cambridge) and we caught a bus to La Mata, which is a little touristy place, except all of the tourists are Spanish and Brittish and German (although it turns out they prefer to be called ‘English’ instead of Brittish, says Michael). It was fun. We mostly just hung around and he worked on Physics stuff and gave me crap for being American and we enlightened each other on different Englishes (They don’t say sidewalk! Wow! And a handful of other things I didn’t know, because I did know about flannel instead of washcloth and nappy instead of diaper and stuff like that from Chi’s family).

Except that we missed our bus, and that was definitely all my fault, and then I had to buy us two new bus tickets. So I wound up spending 90€ instead of 30€ which sort of defeated the purpose of skipping Seville and Granada to go to La Mata because I could stay for free and save money. Oh well. Moms and Dad: I am not in need of your money (which you have so kindly offered, REMEMBER)…yet. I’m gonna keep trying this busquing thing, even though I made almost nothing in both Madrid and La Mata. I’ll try Alicante, though, and see how far the money I DO have goes before I accept your oh-so-gracious offer. Wait, let me say it like this: I don’t need your money, I’d rather work the streets. Oh, that never gets old…

Pues…nada (‘So…yeah’). Now I’m in Alicante and I’ve officially begun travelling sola, which is alright…so far. We’ll see. Now I’m trying to think of a way to get back to Seville, but I just don’t know if that’s gonna happen. Maybe I’ll catch a plane. If I can do that with my maleta (‘suitcase’) AND violin. We’ll see. We’ll see, we’ll see, that’s where I am right now.

Love and miss you all! In my next e-mail, I’ll include a series of demands for the things I want to eat and who I want to see on the night of my return. But here’s a hint: spicy cheetos and friendships.

-love, Sarah

p.s. Hey, is anyone looking to move out in August? Or does anybody KNOW anybody looking to move out in August? Because I need to find someone to live with (what with the bottom end of housing being so expensive in Utah…) and right now I’m a bit effed. Keep your ears open. Thanks.

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I had forgotten about the spicy cheetos thing. I would never eat those now. Good times.