Cusco tour

Trip Start Aug 05, 2005
Trip End Aug 21, 2005

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Monday, August 15, 2005

7 am- I slept well and awakened by fireworks at 6am and again at 7am. Don't know what that was about.

9 am- and we're bussing through Cusco heading through the 'shanty town' on the upper edge, then out into the countryside. This first visit today is Moray- interesting circles of terrace landscape shaped into a very deep bowl. It's difficult to judge how deep it really is until I see some tiny people down at the bottom. The vista is so different from the coast. The soil is red. Trees- even imported eucalyptus- farms look more permanent. The houses are chocolate brown adobe, not much painted stucco.

We then head on to the salt "mines"- tiers of salt water drying out to create Inka salt. Perched on the side of a low mountain. Very strange site- ethereal- salt covered rock walls dividing the tiers into cells. The Andes rising up in the background. snow peaks in the haze- are they really there?

We stop for lunch at "Fundo....(?). A place that caters to the bus loads of tourists. Buffet including alpaca- not to sure about that one. But the food is good, although the place is crowed. Everyone on their own to find a seat.

Then we reverse the drive back to Cusco. We stop at an art museum. Not really worth it. Then the endless nose counting before we all troop off walking back to the hotel. Vendors attack like sharks in feeding frenzy. We make it to the Plaza de Armas and run into another procession.

At a break in the action, we run across the street. Nose counting again. Then Prof Dan leads us down a narrow alleyway- smell of urine, small market off to the right- like a little village within Inkan walls.

We come out on a street I recognize from the map the concierge gave me. I split off from the group to find the farmacia. I locate a relatively small drugstore and get in line to talk to a clerk- I realize that everything is pretty much behind the counter. A young woman- no English- helps me,but I'm able to mime the contact situation- she says "limpio" and I know we're communicating. She brings back 3 samples of all-in-one brands. I pick one out an try to take it to the 'caja'. But she takes it back. She writes on a slip of paper an gives it to me and points to the cashier line. I get in line and hand in the slip and money. Then I get another slip and go to stand in another line to pick up the package. The original clerk is right there and she bags my package. Thank you's all around. Despite the several lines, it's a fairly efficient process.

Then I walk back alone to the hotel- about 6 blocks, stopping to buy water along the way. Then back to my room. We have a lecture scheduled for 7 then dinner on our own. That's an awkward time for a lecture- but they eat much later here.

After the lecture a good sized crowd of us heads to the hotel cafe. I sit with Danise, Melena, and Bozena- the Chech sisters. We have a nice chat over a small meal. Then back to the room for a little light laundry work and the journal. Skipping around on the TV for an English movie, I end up watching Nip/Tuck which I've never seen before.

We're promised a half day tomorrow. with a free afternoon. I need to get some serious shopping and finish post cards. We'll head out for Yucay & MP the day after tomorrow. Strange that I feel we're rushing toward the end of the trip already- time has whizzed by.
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