I took the weekend off and Rowshan and I went hiking down a road with a sign that said, "Pumamarca". The road ran along a river with mountains rising up on both sides. At one point it forked over a bridge. We took the smaller road which started going up the side of a mountain and providing us with views of the green fields and livestock. Rowshan turned back to go work on ceramics, but I climbed for a half hour more which had its reward--a view of some nice ruins above. I headed back before I got to the ruins since I told Rowshan I'd only hike for an hour more and then turn back and the ruins were still a ways off.
Note: Later in the week, Rowshan went back up the trail and climbed all the way up to the ruins. Rowshan said that the hike was so nice and peacefull especialy from the top of the ruins looking at the surronding fields and mountains.
Rowshan also saw two kids playing with muds.
The people I met on the road all seemed really friendly, smiling and saying, "Buen Dia". Back along the main road, it was a peaceful walk with the lulling sounds of the river. At one point the road goes by an extensive array of Incan terraces. At other points, part of the river is redirected into stone channels--maybe for irrigation or maybe it is actually the towns water supply.
Today we hopped the bus to the ruins at Moray. Well it wasn't actually that simple. First we hopped a combi to Urabamba. Then we boarded the bus to Chinchero which let us off at the turn off to Maras and Moray. There were 2 other travelers so we decided to share a taxi. We were all originally considering walking but since none of us knew the path, we figured a cab would be the best option. Then we could walk back or walk from Moray to Salinas and then to Urabamba.
Our taxi driver had other plans, saying for 30 soles he'd drive us there and back and wait an hour while we explored the ruins. We explained that we were thinking of walking back but he said it was a long way and pulled out a hand drawn map of the area to demonstrate how far everything was. At that moment I realized we were dealing with an expert, complete with visual aids. We told him we'd decide when we got there. I was looking for signs of a direct path through the fields but didn't see any. It was about 9 km from the village of Maras to the ruins. At the gate, he informed us of the price for the tickets (which was written clearly on a big board), greeted the guard by name, and we got out of the cab and started debating. The taxi driver pointed to a huge patch of rain in the valley "Lluvia!" he said excitedly, hoping this would pursuade us. When asked about the path to Salinas, he said there was none. I guessed that asking the guard wouldn't get any better result. Finally we agreed to take his cab back to the highway. Happily he gestured for us to follow as he walked 20ft to an overlook where we could see the ruins. He reminded me for a moment of good Golem in the Two Towers
when he defeats the evil Golem and happily leads Sam and Frodo toward Mordor. We were all kind of feeling like Sam.
Moray is a series of agricultural terraces. However, instead of the usual Incan terraces that follow the curve of the mountainsides, these are set in bowl shaped indentations in the earth making huge circular (or oval) ampitheatre formations.
It is guessed that they were a type of agricultural lab for the Incans because the arrangement created microclimates. Sure enough, I could feel a noticable temperature change as we descended into the smallest one. One of the guys we were with said, "They should have concerts here." At one end of each ring there were large stones with a groove down the middle--perhaps for irrigation. As we got to the bottom of the largest set of rings, we realized there were some really cool acoustic qualities. We could hear people talking on the top ledge even though we couldn't see them. A mooing cow, high above us could also be heard clearly. In the center there was a crisp but deep echo. Then we climbed up rock steps out of the terraces. We asked the cab driver how much he'd charge us to take us to Urubamba. He replied 30 soles, a ridiculous amount considering taking the bus was only 1. He then set about trying to pursuade us to go visit Salinas for 30 soles more. Stopping the car, he turned to us and launched into a vivid description of all the beautiful salt pans and how when the salt was washed with warm water and you tasted it (he demonstrated touching an imaginary salt pan and then putting his finger on his tongue), it was wonderful (he looked toward the heavens and smiled in ecstacy). To his disapointment, we asked him to simply drop us off at the highway. Then we all caught the bus back to Urubamba.