Saturday, June 25, 2011

Machu Picchu

I'm in Lima, on the final leg of an incredible journey across Peru! Just two days ago, I was at Machu Picchu. My mother and I woke up really early (I'm talking 3 a.m. here, folks) two mornings ago and hiked Waynapicchu. That's the big mountain behind Machu Picchu. We climbed what were basically the remains of the Inca staircase all the way to the top. The Inca were amazing. And completely nuts.

I've been keeping a detailed travel journal, and I will upload parts of it later. Right now, though, I'm just going to upload a bunch of Machu Picchu photos, because this Peruvian keyboard is giving me a hard time.

Some things get lost in translation... A lot of the menus were very entertaining. "Breakface" was one of the more comical errors. Not sure I want to order anything off this section!

The Inca had this really cool system of fountains that still runs through Machu Picchu. I fell in love with it. The water trickling across the stone was simply beautiful. I took at least half a dozen pictures, but they all look pretty much like this one.

This is a flower that was growing on the side of one of the ruins at the top of Wayna Pichu. I had to lie down to get a picture over the edge so as not to freak out my ledge-wary mother. She kept fussing at me whenever I got too close to an edge. Most of them weren't even really ledges--they had terraces three feet below them, but she would never get close enough to find that out.

This picture took forever to get. The sun took its sweet time coming up over the peak of the mountain that was very inconveniently located. "Sunrise at Machu Picchu," an appealing enough idea, doesn't really happen. The whole place is surrounded by mountains, so it's daylight by the time the sun finally makes an appearance. No fancy colors, nothing. Lame. But this was cool, because it was only a couple of days after the solstice, when the sun shines through the trapezoidal window and makes a rectangle on this rock in the Temple of the Sun.

And finally... llamas! They were pretty much all over the place, hanging out in the shade (because it was hot!) and eating the grass that was the hardest to reach. Always greener, right? The funny thing was they pretty much used the tourist walkways to get wherever they were headed. They even climbed the stairs! That really impressed me. We tried to take pictures with them, but none of them were terribly photogenic, and all of them were more interested in lunch than posing for a picture. So the best you can do is kind of stand near them and hople they pull their heads out of the bush for long enough to take a picture or two.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haunting High School

I feel like a ghost. Not in an ethereal, float-and-walk-through-walls way. It's more figurative than that. Yesterday I took my last exam of high school. Now I'm done. I am no longer a high school student. I have moved on.

But graduation isn't until Saturday.

I don't believe in ghosts, but I feel like this is sort of the same idea. I am no longer among high school students, yet neither am I a high school graduate. I'm in this awkward inbetween place that will only last for a little while, but I still feel like I'm just sort of floating from high school to graduation without a floor beneath my feet. It's weird.

It's great to be out of high school, of course. And I am really looking forward to graduation (especially now that I've been informed that my family is going to drag me--against my will, mind you--to the nail salon on Friday to get "mani-pedi's." What a juvenile term. I told my mother I would go without a fight if she would let me get black fingernails. She said no. But I digress.)

So I'm floating along, enjoying being off school but not feeling like summer has started yet. My brother's not home because, although high schoolers have exam week off unless you're taking a test, for elementary school it's just a normal week. So my sister and I have the house to ourselves for most of the day. And I'll admit, it doesn't totally feel like summer without my brother making noise in one room or another. It's too...quiet.

So until the ceremony Saturday during which I will pass on from this life to the next (college omg), I will continue to feel like a ghost. The ghost of a high school student. I can't believe I'm not one anymore. That's all I've known for the past four years. Now it's ended, and no one asked me if I was ready. I was; but still, no one asked me.