Unfortunately, my IPhone WiFi is not working her at our hotel in Cuzco, Peru. This means that I must use this terribly annoying keyboard on the hotel computer. Worse, it means that I cannot include any photos with this post. Alas, we shall make it through, I am quite sure.
Things are great here, let me say first and foremost. We arrived in Cuzco yesterday morning after a short and uneventful flight from Lima, where we had spent two nights. Lima, where I last checked in, was very frenetic, exciting, and eye opening....As you can see from the last post.
Cuzco is a much calmer, smaller, more picturesque place, though it is also much more touristy. There are many streets sellers of all sorts, selling massages, handicrafts, photo opportunities. Older women roam the streets, accompanied by small children holding baby sheep and sometimes llamas. They charge to have their picture taken, which is a totally bizarre conundrum that affords to easy outlet...For, if one wishes to document one´s trip to Peru, the people in indigenous dress are certainly something to portray. But it feels weird to pay, exploitive and whatnot. Though they make money in this way, so to take a picture and not pay is probably worse, right? Confusing.
Yesterday, after arriving here, we wandered around the town, visiting various sites of importance and such. Of particular interest was Qorikancha, which was apparently one of the richest and most important of all Incan sites. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, it was turned into a monastery and church of course, though many of the amazing original walls were left standing.
Today, we headed out to Pisac, a town a little under an hour from here, to see their famed Sunday market. We took a very small, very rickety, very colorful bus there, which flew along mountain passes, occasionally scaring the hell out of us, but generally delighting us with the magnificent views and exciting sights. We also had the chance to speak with some very friendly locals who joked with us and explained things to us, and generally made us feel very happy about our decision to find a rickety bus instead of taking some lame tourist bus.
The market was great, filled with locals in traditional dress buying and selling vegetables and food and tourists buying handicrafts and crap. It was amazing, and we left with a new bag filled with gifts and treats (mostly of the tropical fruit variety) for ourselves, as well as a stomach filled with delicious empanadas and fat-kerneled corn.
Speaking of food...We have been eating very well during our stay here. We´ve enjoyed cebiche, of course (fish that has been marinated and cured-cooked in lime juice). Since getting here to Cuzco, we have also eaten cuy (guinea pig), which was very rich and sort of tasty, though one guinea piglet doesn´t seem to provide very much meat...Sort of like a big rodent quail. We have also enjoyed alpaca, which is delicious, and some rich, warming stews. Most of all I have enjoyed the various sauces, based on chili peppers, huacatay (a local herb that I think may have no other name), and sometimes peanuts. They are out of this world.
We have also enjoyed, in the oral sense, the local beers and the pisco sours (a blended concoction of Peruvian grape brandy, lime juice, sugar, and egg white), which are amazing...We´ve kept such libations to a minimum, however, as we are currently at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, and so must care for our bodies. To this end, we have been utilizing ginko biloba, which is supposed to be very helpful for altitude sickness. We have also been enjoying the local remedy -- coca leaf, which has helped tremendously. I am, actually, currently enjoying a wad of coca tucked in my right cheek. I´m like a Peruvian redneck, only I don´t need to spit. Also, the coca leaf is meant to be quite nutritious and helpful for myriad problems, and has been used by the Inca people for thousands of years. So it works for me.
Most of all, and finally, we are having a wonderful time. We are safe and sound, and tomorrow, if all works out as planned, we shall be approaching the base of Machu Picchu.
More soon. Adios.