Nine weeks without a haircut is not a crime by any means but going to Machu Picchu without regard for ones presentation was not something I could allow. The women at my guest house advised that hair cutting was best done in Cuzco city but if it was an emergency there was one lady who’s services I could try. It took a while to find her quarters and when I did she agreed a time for the following day.
When I returned however, her sign was no longer outside her door and no answer either. I lingered nearby for under an hour unsure what to expect. I decided to abandon the plan and went to the Coffee Tree Cafe to ask my friends for another solution. The girls did not know any hair dressers, they simply cut their own hair.
Alex decided there was another hairdresser living on the other side of town. He beckoned me to follow him. Off we set, all about the town, there was no hairdresser. We came to a stop along the Patacancha River overlooking the fantastic setting of Inca terraces and temple known as the ‘Fortaleza’. He knew I had a tourist ticket to go there and it needed to be used soon. He asked me about my plans to go. I said it would have to be this afternoon. ‘You are going alone?’ he enquired. I nodded. He seemed concerned and I wondered for a moment. ‘Would you like to come with me?’ I asked. He smiled hugely and we agreed a time in the afternoon.
For luck the elusive hairdresser was open for business when I passed on my way back to my Ollantaytambo home. She took me in, boiled up her kettle and set about fixing my hair in her kitchen. All was well for Machu Picchu.
Later, Alex knocked on my door and we went together to the ‘Fortaleza’. It was our first outing as friends outside of our working environment. I was so happy that day, this human being provided his friendship like a magic plaster on a tender gash. To this day I am grateful for those happy memories. Human kindness should never be forgotten.
That evening at my lodgings my hosts were preparing for a feast. I had been invited to join them along with their guests of a visiting family member and her friend. For the occasion, I bought some Tacama red wine, which is expensive by Peruvian prices, is produced in Peru, and tastes exquisite. It was a special treat.
As preparations for the meal got underway, friends passing the door would put their heads in to say hello and after a brief exchange the table would be extended and a few more settings added. There must have been fifteen of us or so by the time the meal got served. Tacama wine was shared in thimble-sized glasses much to my dismay.
We had a hearty bunch of people, fine food and lots of laughter. I told some about my visit to Fortaleza and about how much I looked forward to seeing Machu Picchu in the morning. My clock was set for 4a.m. so as to avail of the first train to the sacred mountain. All was well.
©Caroline Cunningham Author Of Wild Star Landing (Blog)