Friday, May 22, 2009

Pasamos el tiempo en Cusco

Hi everyone-just a quick update from Cusco before we head out on the Inca Trail tomorrow(leaving at 6 AM for the trailhead at Ollyantaytambo!

Last night, on the advice of our guide David Tejada, we went to see a theatrical production at the Cusco Cultural Center. The show was a music and dance production of ancient Incan ceremonies, folklore, and history. The costumes featured some extremely scary masks and very colorful garb, and the dancers were accompanied by some great live music. One of the musicians might actually be the oldest Incan man alive, but played a mean fiddle. Note: Susie, you would have loved this show!

We ate dinner at a random restaurant, which was chosen because there were only Peruvians dining there, so you know it was the real thing. They eat a lot of grains, including quinoa, rice, and oddly enough huge portions of pasta with vegetables. In total, we spent about 50 Soles (about $18) for more food than we should have eaten and two Cusqueña beers.

Even crossing to a different continent over 3000 miles away, we learned that we cannot escape dogs barking to wake us up. Although the strays aren't in our room, it sounded like an entire pack migrated to the sidewalk outside of our window. We'd also like to thank the construction workers restoring some ancient stonework for their efforts in getting us up on time (These were the only people in the city working that early, as the rest of Cusco doesn't really start moving until about 10 AM.

We spent today at the artisanal market finding some souveniers for us and everyone else that sent a request, but you'll have to wait until we get home to find out what you're getting. Ashley's favorite find was the type of giant shawl used to haul things on your back, including but not limted to: corn, coca leaves, human babies, hay, and alpaca calves. After shopping we ate lunch and then found a great ice cream shop, which was actually our #2 choice. We were disappointed that the #1 shop in all of Cusco is out of business (as relayed to us by a kind elderly shopkeeper), but the ice cream was more than plentiful and included papaya at the bottom. To Casey's delight, our Latin American adventures continue to include lots of delicious fruit.

We are adjusting to the altitude, feeling more like our old selves instead of needing to take a breather after climbing one flight of stairs. At over 11000 feet, the headaches and general malaise were worse than expected, but are lessening just in time for the hike. The coca leaves help, as do the steroids provided by our doctors.

The weather today started extremely cold, turning to extremely warm, and then back to very cold tonight, with a little bit of rain and clouds mixed in throughout. Once we're on the trail, it's expected to be much colder (25-30 F) at night, so we're glad to have good sleeping bags and new alpaca toboggans.

That's all for now, we're going to eat our delicious bakery treats for dessert (we Collins know a good Pastelería regardless of the country) and pack up for the hike tomorrow. We'll write in a few days if we can find a cafe in Aguas Calientes (the nearest town to Machu Picchu) and post pictures as soon as we can! We love you all, leave comments if you can (that includes you Joe Rankin)!

1 comment:

  1. I am totally envious of your adventures but am proud to enjoy them vicariously through you. Be safe and watch out for pigmy goats and don't get hooked on the coca leaves! Look forward to continued journey. Sus