We hopped on the train at 3pm expecting to be back in Cusco around 8:30pm. As if we were in a first class restaurant, the train staff meticulously served a snack consisting of veggie empanadas, sweet tomatoes, corn nuts, and a little torta. The tomatoes were especially good and sweet.
We click-clacked along beside the rushing river until suddenly, when we rounded a curve, I could see billowing white smoke pouring out of what looked to be the engine.
We were stuck until they fixed the train, although we heard no announcement. The repairs took about 2 hours. At first the beautiful scenery compensated some, but after a while, it started to get dark, and passengers began to grumble.
Suddenly a strange creature bounded into the train car, bouncing wildly to joyous Peruvian music. Yee-ha!! The passengers started swaying and clapping to the music while the animal, (a panther?) engaged the passengers with taunts and growls.
What fun! If you have to be stuck in a train for a couple of hours, Peruvian music and a growling panther helps pass the time.
But wait! There was more! A fashion show of Peruvian garments. The man and woman wait staff who had so courteously served us our snacks now bounced down the aisle as if they were models on a runway, all in step with the passengers’ clapping and yee-ha’s of the rhythmic music. The woman’s garments could be worn any number of ways, so she would stop mid-car to rearrange the piece as a scarf or a tunic or head cover. We must have seen them model ten different garments each.
Once the train was repaired, the models changed back into their very official-looking navy-blue train attendant uniforms. We got going again, only to be greeted in Cusco with pouring rain and a very dramatic thunder and lightening storm. In all, a glorious and unforgettable day.