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The Rock-itt : December 2009
We were there in the winter season, like ours here in Oz. It was about 50m from the Plaza des Armas, a good restaurant near, a shop virtually opposite, and good public telephones directly opposite. Trish and I decided to explore. Unfortunately there was a general strike that day and parades through the city. It was mainly about pay. Very orderly, and rather touching as they had a lot of trouble with their banners. Police, armed were posted at various locations, and we were not able to get our caffeine shot at our little café, or make enquiries at the airline office. Still, the sun shone and flowers were blooming in the Plaza des Armas. I enjoyed watching the dogs of Cusco as they ran free and I have never seen happier looking animals, no fighting, no collars and no droppings; I am still puzzled about that. There were no recognisable breeds except the odd one or two who were either carried or on leads. We visited the salt pans, Pisac Markets, (overrated ) on that occasion our taxi, had a flat tire, well not just flat but ripped apart! I now know why they are so careful of the speed humps; they drive on tires that would have been written off at least 100,000kms earlier. There are a lot of dirt roads, but those are well maintained, well needless to say, our driver's spare was flat, fortunately the scenery was glorious, and another taxi driver offered his on passing. The other 2 processions were Education week, and all the schools and technical type college students turned out. Each of the junior schools carried distinctive balloons. And they all wore the uniforms of their schools. The next procession was religious and the enormous, solid, silver catafalque was hauled out of the cathedral, also the statue of Christ, there were well trained dancers and fire crackers and I suspect a lot of fun going on. That went on well into the night. We also visited, at modest cost a now superannuated Dominican convent, and they had a lovely museum and an old dormitory set up. We had arranged 1 day in Santiago and found on arrival that there was a desk labelled Accommodation... The hotel Holiday Inn was fairly typical. US home from home, and we arranged a taxi tour around the city. That cost us $US90. It was worth it, and very interesting. They have a female president there and security was tight but, I guess it provides jobs. In the afternoon, I had a swim in the hotel pool, thinking of our long flight to come. What it cost: The BIG items were of course the flights plus all the extras, like bring your own petrol, the hire car in UK, the prearranged tour, travel insurance, and airport charges are the latest, daylight robbery. If you have a European passport, it cuts out many of the visa costs. Economy class Around World Airfare QA $A3,499.00 Taxes and Fuel Charges$871.00 Economy class TAM Airlines flights $1,584.00 Taxes & Fuel charges $75.20 Tour arranged by Inca Tours my share $1,505.00 20/5/09 to 26/5/09 Insurance, arranged by Medibank Private $1, 404.00 Deposit for hire car in UK $151.00 TOTAL: $A9,089.20