Source / Credit: Los Angeles Time
Reporting from Machu Picchu, Peru— At the top of the mountain, where an attendant will take your $46 ticket, foot traffic is steady and cellphone reception is excellent.
At the bottom of the same mountain, the town teems with pizzerias, tourists chatter in half a dozen languages and a school band director is herding his traditionally costumed students into formation.
Roki! Roki!” he seems to be hollering. And then, as darkness falls, his young trumpeters and drummers launch into the rousing theme from Sylvester Stallone’s first hit movie.
Yes, plenty has changed in this corner of the Andes since July 24, 1911, when Yale University professor Hiram Bingham III climbed these slopes with a local farmer and beheld the ruins we know as Machu Picchu.
In the last dozen years, visitor traffic here has boomed, been halted by flooding, then surged again. The citadel’s most famous stone has been chipped by a beer commercial crew. Peru’s president has prevailed in a tug of war with Yale over artifacts Bingham had collected. Even the name of the town below Machu Picchu’s ruins has been in flux: Though most locals and travelers have long known it as Aguas Calientes, a growing number of businesses and government agencies are calling it El Pueblo de Machu Picchu.
The Holy Quran also encourages site seeing and also adds a greater purpose to it:
Say, ‘Go about in the earth, and see what was the end of those who treated the Prophets as liars.’ (Al Quran 6:12)