Didem Doğan

The Road to Huayna Picchu

When we arrived in Macchu Picchu, I walked in to the administration office at once to get down to business: “I have official permission to enter Machu Picchu requested from the Turkish Consulate and issued by the Ministry of Culture; what do I need to do?” I showed the document in my mailbox: ‘To whom it concerns, attached is the permission to enter Machu Picchu of Didem Dogan who will visit it on the 2nd of May.’ ‘But it is the 1st of May, today,’ said the attendant. ‘But what does it matter? Plans have changed and I managed to come today.’ He went: ‘The officer is not here and I cannot do anything.’ ‘Could you please talk to the officer, then?’ The bureaucratic formalities and long delays I am used to from living in Turkey took even longer here. As minutes and hours passed by, I was getting more nervous, because the long way up to the summit takes around two hours, I had to enter before 12. I was getting impatient, insisting and almost starting an argument. Luckily they let me in, 15 minutes before the place closed. As soon as I entered, Machu Picchu amazed me. When everything I saw before in photographs appeared in front of my eyes, it had an effect on me similar to Stockholm syndrome. Then I ran to the doors of Huayna Picchu. The attendants got surprised and the doors were about to close. ‘Can you make it to the top in the heat of the noon?’ ‘But I came all the way from Turkey!’ Groups of tourists were on their way back, and oh God, I saw a stretcher. I also had a fever on top of everything. Anyway, I did not want to waste time and I started to climb up. It was really difficult. There was a narrow path only and I still had to go a long way. I kept asking questions to those who were climbing down and kept saying to myself ‘I cannot get there.’ When I was about to reach the summit, an attendant who ended his day kept me company, and he, bewildered by my hurry, got his hand on the camera on my shoulder at some point, and started taking my pictures. I was happy that everyone else had climbed down and I was alone at the summit, taking in the view of the forest, the endless valley and Machu Picchu underneath. We then started climbing down, talking and having fun.