This past weekend has been a good one for finally exploring a bit more. Let me break it down for ya´ll.
Friday: After class myself and two fellow students caught a taxi to Tipon (a town about a half hour outside cusco) for a little Peruvian delicacy. Remember Polka Dot Door? Remember their pet G.P.? Well, I ate him! We walk into this dive (in isn´t really the right word because its more out than in) and the transaction goes like this
¨How many plates?¨
¨Small, med, or large?¨
¨With heads or without?¨
¨One with, two without¨
It was that easy. You got it, I ate a guinea pig. Mine was a headless one but it still looked like the animal (quartered) with its claws intact and the little ribbies inside. A good anatomy lesson. Too bad they have very little meat and quite a bit of fat. I didn´t eat much of it but I tried it and you didn´t.
Saturday: Justine and I took a bus up to some ruins called TamboMachay and walked back down, hitting four other sites on the way. The first set weren´t much to see so I spent more time falling the calls of some sheep but the rest, while not very large, were quite impressive. The stone architecture of the Incas is really unmatched by other civilizations. The last site and the largest (SacsayHuaman) consisted of a triple terraced defence wall that zigzigs and a large mound with rockslides on one slide (called ¨The Sliding Place¨in Quechua). The slides were popular in Inca times and still pretty darn fun. I bet little Inca kids would say things like ¨Mom, can I go hang out at the slides¨? ¨Not until you finish husking your corn, Wayruta¨Or something like that.
Today-Sunday: Bussed to Pisac with four others (4.40 soles round trip = $1.35 for two hours on the bus) to see some ruins and a market. The market was massive and fairly amazing (although a bit repetitive after a while) and I didn´t even see the ruins. I turned around when I found out I needed a very expensive ticket that would run out before I could use it again. I´ll see them but plan it a bit better.
Something finally hit me yesterday: I can´t get Pepsi anywhere in the country! No Pepsi? Ok, not the end of the world but sometimes you just have a craving. On top of that, if it has to be Coke couldn´t it be cold? Is that too much to ask? Obviously it is, sigh. One cannot locate ice cold (or even mildly cold) gaseosa ´round these parts. But seeing the way people live here it is a pretty incomparable hardship. I live in a very well-off neighbourhood but there aren´t words to describe the dilapidation in this city, of the colour of brown that seeps into everything. The pollution is incredible. The people are industrious. Even with 54% of people below the poverty line there are very few beggars. Not that you aren´t implored at every corner but it is for shoeshines, confections, phone calls, wherever there is the smallest need (often that of a tourist) someone has found a way to fill it. Just as I sat down to write this blog the earth trembled. Just slightly, just enough to cause notice, a small shake. My very first earthquake.