One of the reasons I came to Peru is the geographic diversity, and diverse, it is. Maryjane and I just came back to the Sacred Valley from our trip to Quillabamba in the high jungle. We took a 7 hour bus ride over the Andes. It was breathtaking and worth the bus ride alone. On the way, there were stone houses scattered about the hillsides and some herds of llamas and sheep. The views of the Nevado Veronica were stunning. This is a mountian pass that we can see from the Urubamba river. As the river meanders around through the valley, the mountain peaks out from in between other ranges. It was amazing to see it a bit closer with its snow capped peaks. As we proceeded down into the jungle my ears were plugged up and I started getting a serious headache. The loud music blasting out of the speakers didn´t help, and neither did the smell from the bathroom when someone left the door hanging open. As we entered the jungle, the road was no longer paved. It was a seriously bumping, twisty, white knuckle ride. Just in case I needed to vomit, Maryjane handed me a plastic bag.
We arrived at the bus station and went straight to the store to buy aspirin. A cold shower and strong aspirin took most of my headache away. In the morning I felt great and was able to enjoy the wonderful people and market of Quillabamba. The open market has many fruit and vegetable vendors selling local fresh food. I´ve never seen papayas so big! The meat market was fascinating. They use all of the animal, especially the cow. Cow guts, cow hooves, cow heads, cow tongues, cow brains - usan todo la vaca. It didn´t smell too bad without refridgeration because it was fresh.
The people in Quillabamba were wonderful. A bit different then the Andean people. They seem a bit happier. Mabye it´s the warmth, maybe it´s the lack of tourists, I don´t know but I loved those people.
Maryjane and I caught a ride in the back of a pickup to go up to the waterfall (the name escapes me now). It was a short nice walk to the pools and falls. Some locals were swimming and one of them had a bamboo stick. Maryjane thought maybe they were fishing so she asked them. I missed the conversation about the deep hole next to one of the pools. Just when Maryjane was about to warn me as I was stepping, I fell in the deep hole. No, I did not plan on swimming but it happened anyway. The locals go a kick of it for sure. They were laughing and we were laughing hysterically.
All in all, I loved the trip to Quillabamba. Crowded white knuckle bumpy twisty turny bus rides are worth it!