An excerpt from Mis Dias de Peru
The Location: The Sacred Valley, outside Cusco, Peru
The Players: JB, Michaela, Caesar, and me
I really shouldn’t have drunk all that mate de coca this morning. I mean, it’s delicious, nutritious and actually a real necessity at 11,000 feet with all that nagging altitude sickness looming around; but 5 cups right before a two hour car ride was probably a little excessive. Now, I’m doing my damnedest not to think about it, but I really need to take a leak. I got Caesar whipping around these mountain corners, slamming on the brakes, throwing down the gas, bobbing and weaving all over the broken alpine roads – really just ensuring we know he can drive like a true Peruvian. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was deliberately driving like this to torture me and my poor bladder. It is a full blown fact that I will wet myself if we don’t reach a toilet soon…
Caesar had pulled up to our hotel in his white Toyota station wagon a couple hours
earlier and has cheerfully been touring us around the Urubama Valley since. We rode past the Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay ruins, and then got some nice pics of Cusco at up over 12,000 ft. all while enjoying some fun facts from Caesar in this smooth Spanish/Quechua mixed dialect. My favorite part was that first peek of the Valley as you ride out of Cusco. It is nothing short of spectacular. The whole scene makes your body kind of tingle, and I can definitely see where the Incans were coming from when they named it The Sacred Valley. Michaela literally had to take a step back as vertigo began knocking her off balance. The cool blue river surrounded by multicolored farmland on the valley bottom looks amazingly peaceful as it slices through the band of treacherous snowcapped mountains dominating the skies. My eyes doubled in size and I heard a faint ‘wooow’ seep through my lips as I’m pretty sure I saw God when we came around that first bend and the Valley finally revealed her exquisite beauty. In an area so rich with history and culture, Caesar has been foaming at the mouth, attaching interesting tidbits of info to every rock, plant, and mountain peak. My Espanol has progressed to the point to where I’m picking up a good 60-70% of what he’s feeding me, but a lot of the stuff is location specific and I’m pretty sure he’s mixing some Quechua in there, so who knows. Anywho, I’m translating and relaying what I can to the back seat for mis padres, Michaela and JB, to enjoy as well.
Pisac, which is where we’re headed and billed as the highlight of the day, is a quaint little
town known for its festive Sunday Markets and mind-blowing backdrop of Incan Architecture. The Pisac ruins ascend from valley floor to mountain peak, equipped with all the bells and whistles of nearby ruin rival Machu Picchu, with a tenth of the crowds. Displaying a level of ingenuity and creativity unsurpassed for its time, Pisac is the largest Inca fortress discovered to date – modern researchers still have no idea how construction of such magnitude was capable 500 years ago. With all the legend and mystique surrounding the Inca Empire it becomes easy to believe there was some sort of Divine Intervention at play. I’m doing what I can to soak all this up as we pull up to the base of the ruins, but it’s kinda tough as I got to pee so bad I got the sweats.
There are a couple tour buses around the base of the ruins; a few tents set up selling arts and crafts, food and drink, and some other just useless shit; and a decent amount of people milling around – but no bath room. Well ok, there has to be an isolated area around that I can sneak into and relieve myself, you know in the middle of a magnolia tree, or behind a dumpster, I’ll even take a knee between a couple of cars, but no such luck. Maybe I can hold it, we’ll do a nice little lap around the ruins and before long I’m sure I can find a nice secluded spot. So we begin our self guided tour and I awkwardly lead the pack battling the urge to buckle over and do the ‘I gotta pee’ dance I was so good at in my elementary years. A few hundred yards into our tour, I realize the secluded spot I fantasized about is just not going to happen; and I quickly come to the realization that if I am gonna pee, it’s gonna be on Sacred Ground. But do I really need to be urinating on sacred ground? Something about the idea is very unsettling. I want to be respectful and I certainly don’t want to follow the lead of those original Incans who got turned to stone by some subterranean Andean spirit. But then again the Incas had to do their business somewhere. You would think they had a few designated areas but I’m not sure the excavators have gotten around to speculating on where the old John was just yet. So here I am, surrounded by the raw beauty of the Sacred Valley, in a fortress built to honor the gods, whose construction may have been aided by the gods, and I am having one of the best pees of my life. I have a shy bladder but there was no shyness in this session – just pure bliss. JB helped out as my look-out to ensure a sense of privacy and after seeing the exorbitant relief on my face, he decided to join in on the action. This way if I am damned, at least I’ll have my dear ole Dad to suffer with.
Relieved and refreshed we continued deeper into the massive fortress bouldering over
ancient stonework and up narrow stairways. You try to get a grasp on how the Incas where able to erect such a large scale and intricate development and it’s just impossible. A people so intelligent and ahead of their time, surely they had some designated bathroom facilities. So for my second restroom break of the day I searched long and hard for an enclosure that resembled an ancient bathroom, and as I completed my business, offered up my apologies to the ancient ones if this was in fact someone’s bed — cause I know I’d be pissed if someone were peeing in my bed.