It was winter time of 2009 in South Florida when my family and i decided to take a vacation trip back home to Peru. Of course i was excited more than ever because it is where i was born and grew up until a certain age. On this trip i was allowed to take one of my best friends along, which made the trip sound even more fun. Once i arrived to Peru, much needed time was spent with my family and then the idea to get away for a few days occurred. That was when we decided to take a plane and go to Machu Picchu, Cuzco. This was so exciting to hear since i had never been there and it would be a great experience. My stepdad told us that we should take pills for the altitude since Cuzco is 11,200 feet in altitude. The moment the plane landed in Cuzco, i felt the difference in altitude and air taken in as well as the weather (winter). We checked in to the hotel and the first thing handed to us was Mate de coca ( coca leaves tea) which helps with the altitude. Right away i noticed how concerned everyone in Cuzco was about their tourists and the altitude. Of course the hotels over there arent anything fancy but they sure made you feel comfortable. The next morning we were ready to go to Machu Picchu which isnt right by where we were staying so we had to take a bus over to another city in Cuzco which then took us to a train station that took us to where Machu Picchu was. This was my first time traveling through train and it was a very different experience. I sat by the window in order to see everything that we passed by, which was lots of trees and mountains. Once we arrived to the train station where Machu Picchu is, we found out that in order to get to the actual Machu Picchu mountain, we had to hike. This was another exciting turn to our trip that made it worthwhile. We hiked and hiked and hiked until we finally reached the mountain of Machu Picchu. Of course, during the hike, there were other mountains to see and sites as well. Once we were on the mountain of Machu Picchu, i stepped to the side and just breathed in the air and felt like i was on top of the world. Everything up there seemed so relaxing and just away from everyone and everything. The smell of the air and the llamas walking around and being so close to the clouds that you can jump and touch them, was perfect and amazing. When we were done with the mountains we walked around to see different places in the area of Machu Picchu. We went to different little huts where the Cholas and Cholos ( women and men who are native of Cuzco and live off of selling handmade products) sold their handmade artifacts. It was amazing to see how they make such detailed products. That made me realize how much work is really put into their everyday jobs that they must perform to live off of even if people dont appreciate them. There was a 15 year old girl who taught us how they take the llama fur and make different things with them and how they change the color with a specific bug who pees out coloring. It was impressive to hear this girl tell us about something we dont usually think of when buying products. We also took a ride on a bus to take us to see the houses and where these people live everyday. Even though i knew that these people werent much of money and couldnt afford places to live, its shocking to actually see it with your own eyes. It was very sad and it made me realize that we have to be thankful for every little thing we have and we get instead of complaining when someone in a different country or city would be more than happy with just something we see as simple. When we headed back to the main city in Cuzco, we walked around a fountain where pigeons usually go for food from tourists. Cholas sell the seeds that are given to the pigeons but i didnt realize that they fight for their sales. It is very disappointing to see another person be upset because a tourist took their sale which could have helped them with their own health or food. This trip definately opened up my eyes because its different hearing stories for 15 years of my life than seeing it with my own eyes. For sure its made me be more appreciative with what i receive and already have. I can say that this trip to my hometown but a new city, has changed many of my views and life altogether. Not to mention that it is still till this day, unbelieveable that i was standing 11,200 feet up in the air on one of the many wonders of the world.
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