Sunday, August 21, 2005

Cuzco Cuzco

With the Beaver Fever vanquished for the time being I've finally been able to enjoy the gorgeous rather funky city of Cuzco this week. It's definitely my favourite city in this crazy country that is Peru. Cuzco is the oldest inhabited city in Sth America and you can really tell. Tiny twisty little cobblestoned streets, whitewashed buildings with inca stonework on their bases, indigenous ladies leading llamas around and hundreds of silly looking tourists decked out in ridiculous multicoloured beanies with earflaps, ponchos and of course the ever present beige coloured pants with zippers. Yes the people with the zippered pants are the scourge of the travel world I think......why is it that people who probably dress perfectly normally in their own countries have the urge to dress in beige trousers that can zip off at different lengths, puffy jackets in bright colours and carry weird things like walking sticks when they are simply walking around the streets of a different city on holidays? Some of them look like they are ready to be sent up into space - I mean, it's only a different country not a different planet.

But as always I digress.....Cusco. My favourite things are: the amazing buildings, often half inca half spanish. The Incas had the most incredible way of building, huge blocks of grey stone placed together like a jigsaw puzzle with no mortar, cement, nothing. The gaps are so tight between each block it would be near impossible to even slip a piece of paper between the joins. This amazing engineering has ensured that these building have survived numerous earthquakes. The blocks also look great as they are so big and chunky they are almost Flinstone-ish. Then when the Spanish arrived topped the bottom of these Inca Palaces with elegant whitewashed buildings with ornate wooden balconies - it is a strange but lovely combination. Apart from the archiatecture the ambience is great, lots of artists live here so there are just hundreds of gorgeous shops and restaurants.....and the food, don't even get me started on the food.....after 4 months of rice and potatoes it has been a real treat to devour everything from green curries to japanese.

But of course being ever practical - instead of being "inner cusco" dwellers with all the other discerning travellers Eduardo and I have taken ourselves off to live with a local family in the burbs, where our lovely glamorous hostess Linda has been stuffing us silly with local cuisine, (that means heavy on the carbs and the salt and lots of it) and we've been treated to the wonder of an electric shower which delivers a mild electric shock every morning when I use it. We have also been studying spanish again for the week and I think I have finally learned how to speak in the past tense (funnily enough, it's kind of necessary when you have a conversation with someone) and in keeping with my current clean living, early to bed, non drinking lifestyle (thanks beaver fever) I have been volunteering at a little after school place for poor kids who live in Cuzco.

So it's been a hectic week, school was fun the kids were ever more fun - if a bit naughty. Ed taught them to juggle and I got to play more games of checkers than I ever wished.

Next stop of the Kate and Ed Sth America show is the sacred valley - and then to Machu Picchu.


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