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Sunday, June 3

Only mention the words Machu Picchu and it's news

New York Times: The Other Machu Picchu is a story about a place that is not Machu Picchu, called Choquequirao, but nearby in the Cusco region.

In Cuzco before the trip, Pedro Tacca, the director of patrimony for the National Cultural Institute, had spoken to me about the importance of preserving communities like Cachora and the other towns near Choquequirao as tourism to the site grows. He said Peru is trying to control growth and access to Cachora to keep it from becoming another Aguas Calientes, the town closest to Machu Picchu, which is made up entirely of tourist shops, restaurants and hostels, with a railroad track ? where the tourists arrive ? instead of a main street. ?It?s a community without personality,? he said, ?horrible in contrast to majestic and beautiful Machu Picchu.?

When I was in Peru, I really did not exploit the tourism angle enough. I felt that it was a well-trodden path that had already been covered a lot. Now I wish I had taken the opportunity. Of course, during much of my later years in Peru, it was not safe to travel outside the main cities.

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