Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hi everyone!
Well it has been over a week now.  It seems like forever ago when we left.  I feel like so much has happened I don't know where to start.  Hope everyone is doing well back home.  We unfortunately could not get our skype to work so we haven't talked to anyone.  Be sure to email us and let us know how you're doing.  Love to all. 
First Stop - Cuzco.
Our flights were good (Chicago - Toronto - Lima - Cuzco) but we got about 3 hours sleep in 36 hours so our first day in Cocos was spent sleeping.  The next few days we just tried to adjust to the altitude and get a feel for Cuzco.  The city is beautiful but very hilly and it was a hike to get back to our hostel if we went out.  The sidewalks are about a foot wide, so it's impossible to walk side by side and you're playing with your life if you dare to step into the street.  The streets were about a 45 degree angle next to our hostal and the cars can't very well slow down if you trip or step into the street.  But we still managed to go on a few hikes and saw the city from above.  
There is a beautiful plaza in Cuzco lined with restaurants and tour offices and in the center is a fountain and a place where all the locals hang out.  Never in my life would I have thought I'd say "No Gracias" over 1,000 times in one week.  There are so many people visiting, selling souvenirs is how a lot people make their living.  At first we were impressed when this young boy showed us his paintings, but after another 30 people showed us the exact same ones we started to wonder.  A few times we were sitting in the plaza on a bench and little girls would come up and basically sit on my lap and say something in Spanish about buying stuff from them.  They were so cute but they won't leave. 
Our hostel was wonderful.  We got a nice one for our first stop as we knew we'd want one after the long trip.  Most of the homes have their hot water heater set up on their roof but our was in our shower - reassuring with all the wires and stuff coming out of it.  Our breakfasts were good, although after 4 of them we were ready for a change (but unfortunately we've only come across bread and tea since). 
The food in Peru is pretty good.  We haven't been too adventurous with it yet and probably won't be here after seeing some of the kitchens.  So far we luckily haven't had any stomach problems so we must be doing something right.  But lunch and dinner are usually from a tourist menu and consist of soup, a chicken/beef plate or pasta and some sort of drink.  It's not bad.  But I know that I miss Chicago restaurants and Iowa food.  But really, the food is pretty good.  It does get a little old going out to eat 2 or 3 times a day though.  We've had to drink our dinner a few times. 
Overall, Cuzco is an amazing city - being 11,000 some feet up was quite a change and we couldn't breathe for the first few days but we were really lucky not to get any other bad side effects.  Plus we started drinking Coca Tea (from the same plant that cocaine comes from but in it's natural state) as soon as we arrived.  No, it doesn't have any of the same effects as cocaine - it actually clams you down, plus all the locals drink it to stay healthy.  The people here are friendly and helpful.  And you can't help but smile when you see a 6 year old girl walking a lama through the city.   

One of the first things we noticed, being dog lovers, was that only dogs with shirts on have owners, and the rest of them spend their time having sex in front of everyone.  It was quite a shock.  I just kept thinking of Bob Barker and his phase about having your pets spayed or neutered.  Guess they don't watch too much Price is Right here.
Next - Aguas Calientes (Town at the bottom of Machu Picchu)
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