16 de Marzo
Without an alarm, the day starts up much easier. I finally feel like I’ve adjusted to living at 11,000-13,000 ft. My head feels lighter and my breath is deeper. Our room is nice and dark, with the window in a room off to the side where Morgan and I have ditched our packs. The three of us sleep close in our twin beds, but not on top of one another. Their breathing does not punctuate my dreams. This morning we began to rearrange our packs to prepare for our 5 day trek to Machu Picchu. Morgan asked for a breakfast with yogurt and fruit. We wandered a street off the plaza until we found a cafe that offered such a menu. The papaya was cold and the puffed grains had a slight taste of black licorice.
We navigated outside of the historic city center to find a bus to take us to Moray and Maras, two more Inca sites on our list before we head to Machu. We were stopped across the street from our prospective bus stop (parada) by the driver of a colectivo. They had 3 seats left at 6 soles each. A better deal than the 10 soles public bus we were planning. So we grabbed our seats at the back. We drove out of the municipality to the countryside. Pig skins hanging on clotheslines, cows and tiled roofs. Soon we could see the snow capped mountains. The temperature dropped. Peru is the greenery and the scenery I fell for in Ireland along with the food of fresh and the language of my ancestors. I didn’t know all of those things could exist in one place. I didn’t know what people meant when they said Perú.
I returned my pack this morning. Pulling the empty weight up on my shoulders one last time. How nicely it felt against my back. How familiar. My clothes are washed and folded and put away. Nothing remains of my time in Perú except for the unseasonal tan on my skin and the memories in my head. The pictures on my phone. I sigh in boredom at my desk. I sleep and dream of far away places. The spring of my discontent. “There were words before silence.”
I draw a map back to the words.