‘You guys are going to be overwhelmed when you get there. The mountains are like the Rocky Mountains on steroids.’ My Spanish teacher, Mr. Keiser, always knew how to word things just right.
He was about to take us on the trip of a life time; we were going to Peru to see Machu Pichu. The group that I was going with was a bunch of kids from my school. We all were taking a Spanish class at the time which was hopefully going to help with the language barrier, hopefully.
There were so many things to learn before we left: what we could and couldn’t eat, the customs of the people, where we could go and where was too dangerous, and what the cities that we were going to were like. We learned as much as we could before we left, but it was only a small dent in what we experienced while we were there. The very first thing that we all noticed when we got there was the altitude.
Being from Colorado, we are used to a high altitude, but it is still nothing compared to the huge mountains in Peru. You couldn’t see the peaks of most of them because the clouds would cover them. It was incredible to say the least.
The mountains were gorgeous but there were too many things to see to stand around and stare at them all day. The people were amazing. Most of us couldn’t imagine living like they did.
Many of them had jobs in markets or in little shops, but they didn’t make very much money. Most of the stores had the same things to buy and they were sold cheap. After bargaining with a lady, I was able to buy a very nice chess set for fifteen soles; that is the equivalent to five American dollars.
It was amazing that they made their living that way. Not only did we see where they work, but the places that they lived. One of our stops was the Uros Islands, also known as the floating islands.
The houses on the islands were made out of reed and straw. Most of them were no bigger than my bedroom and were home to an average of seven people. The most amazing thing was that these people are happier than most of the people you see in the United States with lots of money and big mansions.
They have learned what is really important in life. They have created miracles. Machu Pichu was one of those miracles. When the Incan people came to South America they built this amazing city in between the mountains of Machu Pichu and Wayna Pichu. I have never seen anything like it.
It is believed that the ruins here are one of the few places that the Spaniards didn’t find when they conquered the Incans. Maybe they didn’t want to climb the steep slopes of the mountain. It is certainly not an easy task. When we were finished with the tour of Machu Pichu we were given the opportunity to climb the famous mountain that is in the background of all the pictures, Wayna Pichu.
I couldn’t pass up a chance that I may never get again so I climbed. It was by far the hardest thing that I have ever done. I had to stop constantly to catch my breath and the sun didn’t help at all. However hard it was, the feeling of reaching the top was indescribable. It was one of those amazing things that most people don’t get a chance to do.
I had some of my best and worst times in Peru. There were many people who got sick because of the food and the high altitude, I saw huge spiders that I had no idea could exist, and it was certainly hard living without the conveniences that we have in the United States.
No matter how hard it was though, I would never take it back for anything. I was able to do something that tons of people can’t even dream of. It opened my eyes to the fact that maybe our life isn’t so bad. There are people out there who are happier than we are with less than we have. Its people like them who perform the amazing tasks and live day to day knowing what life is about. We could all learn a little something from them and I only hope that some of us do.
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