Lots of things have happened since we last spoke to each other. I mean, I had the best veggie burger of my life, visited a place called "Sexywoman" (well, at least that's how the tourists say it), and had a pretty fantastic weekend with plans to go to Puno sometime in the coming weeks.
Last weekend was a blast! The temple of the moon was actually pretty cool, especially since you could see some Spanish ruins, and the animal carvings the guide pointed out to us (including a llama) we could actually identify and see. The main problem with many of these Inca ruins is that people point to them and say things like "there's a puma" and "this is condor rock".... but, there is no visible evidence (to our untrained eyes?) of whatever the people are pointing out. The point is the temple of the moon was actually a lot cooler than I thought it would be.
After exploring the ruins and being subsequently told that the entrance was off- limits, we went for a hike and found a cave (and a shaman washing his clothes in a small pool).
After all of those wonderful discoveries, we were caught in what we wrongfully assumed was a rainstorm, but rightfully assumed would last less than an hour. We were wrong because it very quickly turned into a hailstorm. This meant that a group of around thirty people were squished together inside a rather small store as we waited for the storm to pass. Inside with us was a little girl with her parents, who appeared to be counting out a rather large stack of 1000 US dollar bills. It took my companions and I longer than it should have to realize that it was play money.
On our way down from where the temple of the moon was located, we passed yet another prominent and impressively sized rock formation that meant something spiritual to the Inkas. Are you sensing a theme yet? Italy, who had been, pretended to point things out to our Finnish friend and I (such as 'Look, there's a puma"). I understand that this whole thing might come across as making fun of the culture of others, but things can be amazing even when you cannot even begin to understand them, which is truly the case with most of these ruins and more natural formations.
After that, we snuck into Saxyhuaman (Sexywoman, if you will). We could not get very close, but what we did see of the fortress of Rooks was pretty breathtaking... even if we went the cheap, regular people route instead of the expensive tourists' route. It was honestly really beautiful, and because we had been cheap, we were able to take an even pretty back way through a beautiful little path in the woods down to the town. I say 'path' but it was really more of a road.
We got down to the town/ village and spotted some visa signs on the shops. This was a red flag. Be wary of this, because it typically means that the prices are going to be a lot higher, since most of the people who live in these areas have no use for a credit card. We explored a little, I added some things to my wish list (it is a wish list because I am waiting to decide if I need them until my parents come to visit and can assist me with my life decisions), saw lots of things we can get for cheaper in Cuzco, and then each ate an entire trout for lunch at a nice place with a trout pond of its very own, filled with people who obviously lived in Peru. It was delicious.
Then, we walked off our lunch by walking all the way down the mountain/ hillside. We stopped to look at one of the churches Italy was dying to see, but could not go inside because we did not have the right type of ticket to do so. Then, we meandered down until we reached the Plaza del Armas, the middle of the tourist-y portion of Cuzco. I can assure you that had I been alone there is no way that this trip would have worked out so neatly.
Then, we walked around, looking for a place to get a coffee or something, noticing a larger amount of more professional looking police officers as we did so. It turned out that we just happened to be in the plaza on the same day that a bunch of political marches and protests were happening, because one of the candidates (the daughter of an awful part of Peruvian history) was slated to visit, and is incredibly unpopular in the more mountainous regions. We saw roof of this with a large group of barefoot young women presented their peaceful protest, walking in front of traffic with tubs of water speaking out about peace in a cadence before stopping together as though part of one organism and placing their feet in the buckets of water that they carried, before repeating the process over again.
Yet another amazing day full of new and different sights and experiences in Peru.
Everyday Acts of Activism