The Awkis Dream Hotel is where we met up with fellow Machu Picchu adventurists.
Seven from the States, one from Australia and the two of us from New Zealand made up the United Nations. There is an Irish fella co-sharing part of the journey however, will separate to go trek the actual Inca Trail where as we are doing the Quarry Trail. Our one is a little off the beaten track and still climbs to over 4450 metres in altitude, just less traffic congestion.
Even more unbelievable is that the lass from Australia is from Melbourne and named Bronte. The friend of Naya’s who we met and spent some time with was also a Bronte from Melbourne, Australia!
Our local tour leader Frank took us on a Cusco walkabout, giving some historical narrative at different parts of the route trodden. Mostly around the San Blas area – a smaller market similar to San Pedro; San Cristobal Cathedral; ending up at the Choco Museum.
Arrr, a chocolate museum where we learnt about Cocoa, the finest ingredient that you can include when making the finest chocolate. Better than anything you purchase in a local supermarket.
The aroma’s were thirst quenching and part of the tour allowed for a complimentary drink. Claire had the floatiest marshmallows that wouldn’t sink under the surface; and I tried chili flavoured chocolate. It bought water to my eyes that no matter the water consumption, I had to wipe the tears away for a tissue or two.
There are 10 cacao varieties that exist in the world and 6 can be found on the Peruvian territory. Mainly in areas known as “eyebrow of jungle” lying in-between the mountains of the Andes and the lowlands of the Amazon.
We learnt that both the flower and the fruit grow directly from the trunk of the plant and that the best chocolate for your health is the darkest, with the most cocoa percentage.
As our tour came to an end at the Choco Museum, I happened upon Cocoa Chocolate flavoured condoms. Now, how can one not be confused to determine when you actually tasted the cocoa part of the rubber?
Even more funnier was Bronte the Australian, owning up to having purchased 3 packs that contained 10 cocoa condoms in each! Then quickly added that she had purchased them for friends back home in Australia!!
It was enough to have everyone adding their two cents worth of banter and jib, it kind of brought the group together in rapport. As if we had known each other for longer than the couple of hours we actually had.
And set the scene for what was likely going to be a fun couple of days hiking towards Machu Picchu.
We know that a friend of ours tried to innocently enter New Zealand after visiting Peru, with packaged Cocoa tea bags. Only to be stopped at border control and given a thorough detention and questioning.
Although she was let off with a warning, she is now flagged on the Whanganui Computer as a drug trafficker because you are not allowed to bring Cocoa into NZ in any shape or form.
We can only imagine what is going to happen to Bronte as she tries to enter Australia. They have a more stringent border security.