3,400M (11,154.855643044618) Ft Above Sea Level

Trip Start Sep 08, 2012
Trip End Nov 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
Alfredo's Palace

Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, September 14, 2012

Hello from Cusco, Peru!

I'm not sure if I'm experiencing mild altitude sickness (soroche) or 'digestively adjusting' to this city. I am feeling pretty good for the most part- with the mornings being the worst- and I am refusing to take Diamox until the trek. Again a small price to pay... Actually, not feeling 100% has allowed me rest, reflect and write this post.

Cusco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and and was the center of the Inka Empire. For context it is about as high as Mt. Hood. In the last few days we went on a city tour which included: the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, the Temple of the Sun, and the Plaza de Armas. We also visited the famous ruins of Sacsayhuman (sounds a lot like 'sexywoman'), Tambomachay, Pukapukara, and Chinchero. All of which were great! There are so many ruins that it's honestly hard to keep track of.

Common theme of ruins sites: 

*precise stone work: polished stones are perfectly aligned with one another
*all face east 
*all have a purpose, nothing in the construction was unintentional - talk about efficient!

We also had the opportunity to meet local artists and weavers. We visited Pablo Seminario's studio in Urubamba and a long-time family run weaving business in Chinchero (see photos).

Yesterday was a very special day as we got to spend the entire day with Pablo. Pablo is an Inkan shaman from the mountains. Pablo performed an ancient cleansing ceremony for us in the afternoon. Once again I am at a loss for how to put this experience into words but I did post a few pictures here. I ended up riding in the back of our van with him most of the day and amazingly enough, we managed to communicate in Spanish. He speaks mostly Quechua and I mostly American from America (it turns out I know a lot more Espanol than I thought; it certainly helps to know a Spanish teacher!). Pablo told me that his grandfather taught him how to weave and that his wife is also a weaver. It was so wonderful to be able to connect not knowing each others language. We had a good time laughing in joking in the back. 

'They' say that music is the universal language but I think there may be a place for laughter too. It was wonderful to be in the presence of such a kind, generous, and overall amazing human being. It was inspiring to say the least. With that I'll close on the top 3 things I'm grateful for today:

1. Freedom of choice
2. Hot: chocolate/showers
3. Anti-poop medicine

What are yours?

OK off to explore! Thanks for reading!

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Tamara on

PROBIOTICS!!!!!!!!! ... By the way, you should definitely try the cuy (even though they are adorable as pets).

Blind Bill E. on

What do the guides say about those rock being so "tight"? I've seen shows where they can't even put pieces of paper in those "cracks". How were they made to be so exact?
Hope the belly is better... GREAT photos!

Jenni on

Love following your journey. Hugs! :)

mc1rvariant on

BBE - Great question! I´ll check with our guide for an official answer. All I got right now is that the Inka were wicked smart. HA!

Thanks for reading JF!! Love you!

mc1rvariant on

PS Tamara- probiotics didn´t help but cipro sure as hell did!

Tamara on

Yeah, probiotics can't cure an infection once its going -- but often, neither does the antibiotic, as I've learned the hard way. So keep taking them until you come home and can do some super-cleanse or other. May the rest of your journey be free of gut ailments. Eventually, it's all pollo con arroz y papas fritas anyway... ;-)

mc1rvariant on

You indeed right, Tamara! Have you tried the chifa here?

mc1rvariant on

The rock is very malleable. There are various tools the Inka used to chip away and manipulate the stone. Check out the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca_architecture

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