Sightseeing with a buddy in Cusco [YQrtw Day 110 Jul 29]

Location: Cusco, Peru

Most of my first full day in Cusco was spent with Nana (not her real name) whom I met in Santiago. She came to Cusco from Bolivia and we arranged to meet up to go check out a few museums around the city.

As she had not had breakfast at the meeting time, I went off to the bus terminal to buy my tickets for tomorrow to Nazca. The price of the ticket had shot up by 40 soles (~S$20) compared to 2 hours before I bought them. That’s quite a jump as there were only about 5 seats left on that bus.

When I got back to the city center, Nana and I started our first museum visit: The Inca Museum.

The museum tells a bit about the Inca’s folklore as well as pots and potteries from many years ago. The entrance was 10 soles, good enough to spend 30 minutes to understand a bit about the history of the Inca. (Not that I remember a lot of them.)

Inca Museum courtyard
Inca Museum courtyard

Next stop was the Pre-Colombian Art Museum. This museum is better and more expensive at 20 soles. My favorite exhibit here was a necklace made out of seashells which looked like little roses.

Since both museums do not allow visitors to take photos, there weren’t a lot of photographic record of the day.

Even though I like visiting museums alone, having someone else to go with and “oooh and aaah” over interesting exhibits is quite fun.

After museums, it was about 3pm. Nana wanted to bring me to Inka Fusion which she said had very good lunch menus. However, it was a bit too late and the restaurant was closed so we head to a pizzeria instead.

We parted ways after lunch and said to meet up for pre-dinner coffee (actually, no-dinner coffee). We did eventually meet for cake and also for dinner with two of her friends.

The Asian Tax

At lunchtime, I talked to Nana about a situation I have at my budget hotel. I paid 40 soles (S$20) for a double bed single room with no private bathroom.

However, I overheard the receptionist old lady tell people who came in to ask about the price of the room that a no-bathroom room cost 20 soles. This means that I am paying double for the normal price even though I asked politely in Spanish.

My Asian face is a give away that I am not from this part of the world and people think it’s alright to charge me extra “Asian Tax”.

Nana was indignant and said I should cause a scene and demand to pay the regular price.

Good thing about my situation is that although I have paid 40 soles for yesterday, tonight’s stay has not been paid yet. My plan is to tell the receptionist at checkout that single rooms without bathrooms are 20 soles so I have paid fully for my room.

Wish me luck!

Have you encountered the Asian Tax before?

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