Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu? Whachu’s Thebigdeal, more like

According to reviewers of holiday reviewers the world over, Machu Picchu is said to be one of the most astounding sites the world has to offer. After paying my own special visit to wherever in god’s anus the wonder of the world actually is, I’d have to disagree profusely.

I arrived with high hopes and a pocket full of dreams, but I felt as if since I got there, my pockets were emptied and my hopes were downgraded to economy class.

A festival atmosphere in Peru

Lots of people surrounded me, taking pictures – of the monument, not me – and I just didn’t get it. Instead, I felt like it looked more like somewhere you’d see in Minecraft. ‘Wow, look at that dodgy-looking pyramid.’ ‘It certainly is big, eh?’. ‘If I had a penny for every incredible thing I’d seen in South America, I’d now have at least one penny!’ Woopty doo dah, I thought to myself. Surely there’s Lego to play with somewhere around here. Maybe even a sticker collection to have a bit of a fun time with, but no – that was it. Rocks. Big rocks, but rocks nonetheless.

I suppose it must be an acquired taste and who am I to pick at that? I like watching Robocop in my home-made batman costume, and I enjoy waking up early and going to sleep late so I can compare the sunrise and the sunset to check that it’s the same sun we’re seeing at each point in the day.

It’s not like I’m totally opposed to tourist locations. Yes, I’ve been to Blackpool Pleasure Beech. It was long time ago, but I was there, and thanks to my half-remembered experience, I know what true happiness feels like. It’s a different feeling with Machu Picchu. A feeling of disappointment. A feeling of sorrow. A feeling of emptiness. But each to their own.

Feeding the ducks would have been preferable

To be fair, I did give it time. I stared across at it all with a glimmer of hope in my eye. I could see lots of elderly people who were really hyped up by it all. I simply didn’t get it myself. I frankly just wanted some biscuits and a jet ski, which might sound specific and somewhat imposing, but it’s all I ever want from a holiday, and it’s the one thing I’m never able to get.

I spent my life savings on this. I even spent the entirety of the plane there somehow coming to the conclusion that my backup plan of staying home and feeding the ducks would be preferable, so by the time it came to landing, I was quaking at the knees by the mere thought of my poor decision-making. The most harrowing thought in my head was that I was missing out on seeing those ducks.

They’d all be there: Salomon, Matt, Chris, Jake, Marc, Jonny, Claudio, Nacer, Darren, Craig, Boaz, Hal, Ben, James. I remembered every single of one them as I cleverly named the ducks in my local pond after the West Bromwich Albion squad from the 2016/17 Premier League season – the most ambitious showing of the Baggies to my recollection. It was a notable time in the club’s history as Tony Pulis was beginning to show an attacking flair at the Hawthorns. Skip ahead to the following November and Pulis was out of his job. It shows how quickly times change and how swiftly something positive can turn negative. In hindsight, I knew I should have just gone to feed the ducks. At least they go upside down and flap their little orange feet. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself on missing out on the sight of those little orange feet.

A consolation prize away from Machu Picchu

After ages of wondering what was with all the ‘hoo har’, I left. With a dampened spirit and not a lot of money to rescue my holiday, I spent my remaining time in the Peruvian airport of which I had arrived 20 minutes earlier. I discovered a Taco Bell where I gave the rest of my time to. It was at this point that I reached a new low, staring into the beautiful abyss of the Peruvian outback as I cried into my taco.

Deciding to leave in order to prevent myself from further frightening the locals, I wiped a line of sweat from my forehead and cleaned my eyes of taco juice. Matched with the solace I took from knowing that at least the song Machu Picchu by The Strokes kept one fond memory of the place, eating the local cuisine kept my mind at ease to some extent. As you can tell from my haunting description, when I eat a taco, I really eat a taco.

The only saving grace was the kind courtesy of the community nearby. I was touched by the people who made me my food, as after some time, I started to feel like the place of which I ate was not in fact a fast food restaurant within an airport food court, but a house that I’d rudely invaded. They didn’t make a fuss despite me breaking into their house during what appeared to be the funeral of a loved one. They didn’t even say a thing as I ate like a rabid animal, scrambling food into my mouth and dropping heaps of crumbs onto the heads of the many Peruvian children below me. The silence might have been as they felt threatened, but nevertheless, they were nice.

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