Machu Picchu

 By all measures, I should be writing about Manchu Picchu, and yet… I’m not sure why I keep putting it off. Perhaps I lost interest when, prior to visiting, I read that during the high tourist season, 2,000 people a day visit the Royal Inca Retreat. That number of people was and is a hurdle for me.

Like everyone else, I had seen documentaries and still photographs. And what I saw was mist and mountains. I saw carefully constructed terraces cascading down and adapting to the mountain slope. And I saw a stone city built in the 15th century by a people with no wheels, no metal tools and no written language. It was a city that paid attention to urban planning, aesthetics, and the movement of the stars across the sky.

                 The city that I had seen in my mind’s eye did not have tourists.

 The white granite stone was shaped by hand – hammered with cobblestones of quartzite, basalt or hematite. Imagine the skill it took to cut the blocks and then key and groove them to fit hand-in-glove. The stones are set without mortar. In an earthquake prone country, this is an advantage in that the stones can move a bit.

Imagine an empire that at the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1532, stretched 2,500 miles down the Andes. Imagine a government that administrated 12 million people who spoke 20 different languages.

               And to think that the Europeans where just mapping the oceans.

As it was, we had a good jump on the tourist season. I don’t know how many people were there, but there were too many. I found myself wishing that I could have accompanied Hiram Bingham in 1912. (And if you have an interest in his discovery of Manchu Picchu, you can reference National Geographic, April, 1913.)

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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1 Response to Machu Picchu

  1. Ah, you worked on your strip photos. Is it possible this to be your own photograph? Wow.

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