Hi from Arequipa, Peru!

Hi All,

Welcome to Update 3 from South America.  This one will be in 2 parts, as I´m
a bit tired and don´t have the time to type out all my message.  I intended
to have an early night, as there have been a run of Birthday dinners and
drinks, but there was yet another dinner and birthday drinks tonight as
well!  Too many birthday cakes…

My bruises from the Lake Titicaca experience are slowly starting to fade.
Yep I was bruised on my legs, stomach and arms from trying to drag myself
back onto the boat.

Now before I start telling you what I´ve been up to lately I need to send a
few personal messages (which I forgot in the last email.)

Firstly HAPPY 30th Lyn for the 14th.

And HAPPY 30th Carms for the 13th.

I hope you guys both had great birthdays.  I was thinking off you.  Well not
really because I was too focused on a shower and massage after the Inca
trail, but I did think of you after that:-)

Finally I hope all the rowers had fun at Rutherglen.  I hope you had a glass
or two of sherry for me at the house, and that you continued the Alison
tradition with the green slushy stuff and wine.  Let me know how you went.
Had did the eight go?  Please tell me that squishing myself into that cox
seat was worth the effort!

Well I´ve completed the Inca Trail and I´m back in one piece veging our in
Cuzco before catching a plane to Arequipa.  I´m currently sitting on the
steps of the main plaza being harassed by little kids wanting to shine my
shoes, or sell me a postcard, or a doll, or a knitted finger puppet.  (I
usually write out my emails before getting to an Intranet cafe – saves me
time.)  One of the big differences that was evident as soon as we had crossed
the border between Bolivia and Peru, was that Peru was used to tourism.  The
people selling things (particularly the little kids) can be a little
persistent (well to be honest they can be a pain in the neck), where as in
Bolivia they just waiting for you to approach them.  Also in Peru there are
people dressed up in local clothes often with a lama on a rope saying photo,
photo, and of course if you take a photo you have to pay them.

MORE ON CUZCO
Last Sunday most of the tour headed off for the jungle.  The six of us going
to Ecuador remained in Cuzco.  I had a lovely sleep in before deciding to
get up and hit the sights.  When I got down to the main plaza there were
people everywhere.  There were marching bands and people marching around the
plaza in military uniforms with these big nasty guns.  It kind of reminded
me of Anzac Day back home.  I tried to find out from a few people what was
going on and apparently it happens every Sunday, but because I was at Machu
Picchu the next Sunday I can´t confirm whether it´s true.

(Just an update on location, I´m now at the airport waiting for the plane.
I had to give up on writing this in the plaza as the people with paintings
came to harass me to buy their work, and a homeless man decided to sit
beside me and make conversation. He was quite a nice guy, but I got a little
worried when he decided to kiss my hand, so I decided to give up on writing
and went shopping instead.  Great shopping in Cuzco.  But I´ve had to put a
ban on further purchases.  Everything wouldn´t fit in my backpack, so I sent
a box of goodies back home.  It cost me a fortune and far more than the
contents were worth.  Leanne – are you collecting my mail from the post
office?  There should be a box of stuff coming from Peru.)

Anyway back to Cuzco.  Some of the main sights here are the Churches, and I
decided to try and sneak in and see them when they were having Mass instead
of paying to see them at other times.  It worked for a few of them, but
others still wanted to charge me.  Oh my God the churches are completely
over the top, with gold, paintings and statutes everywhere.  It´s worse than
Europe!  What freaks me out are the statutes that are dressed up like dolls
with clothes and hair.  Very spooky.  I felt like they were looking at me.
It´s exactly like what you would see in Spain.  It´s funny because Cuzco is
the base place for visiting all the Inca sights, and I had thought I would
be seeing a lot of Inca buildings.  I had completely forgotten about the
Spanish influence and that when they came they went about destroying
everything that existed and built their own structures.  There have been a
couple of serious earthquakes in Cuzco and the early ones destroyed all the
Spanish structures, but the Inca ones remained standing.  So the Spanish
then decided to use the foundations of the Inca buildings for their own
buildings.  An interesting fact about the Inca buildings is that they didn´t
use any mortar for noble and temple structures.  The rocks were just cut to
fit perfectly, and these buildings or the foundations of them are still
standing today despite the earthquakes.

Back to the churches.  The most interesting one would have to be the
cathedral which has a painting of The Last Supper where they are eating
guinea pig (a local dish).

At another church I was at everyone had these dolls, and outside the Church
you could buy new clothers for your doll or a basket to put them in, or some
lace to cover them.  Everyone was holding their dolls like they were the
most precious item they owned.  I´m guessing that they represented Baby
Jesus, but to be honest some of the dolls were quite ugly and a bit freaky.
After Mass everyone surged forward with their dolls for them to be blessed
by the priest.

It was at this church that a man came up to me and told me off for having my
feet on the ¨wooden¨kneelers, or at least I thought that was what he was
gestering about.  I was so angry.  If I had been a bit quicker I would have
pointed out all the locals that also had their feet on the kneelers.

After the churches I hit the museums.  Many of these are also full of
religious art, and at times I swear I was seeing the same picture in
different museums.  There was also an Inca and Pre-Columbian Art Museum that
were quite interesting as well.

Before I move off the topic of religion I should mention that every South
American city I´ve visited so far has a big white statute of Mary or Jesus
overlooking the city.  The Spanish were certainly very intent on enforcing
catholism!

Cuzco is actually a very cool city to hang out in.  Sure it´s touristy, but
I was so excited to have some more people that understand my English,
although I have to admit my Spanish is getting better.  I am very good at
asking ¨how much¨…  The restaurants here are fantastic, the pubs are great
and it´s just got a nice feel to it.

I even attempted getting a hair cut here the other day.  The hairdresser
didn´t understand me, but we looked through some pictures.  She pointed at a
picture and I thought okay you´re comfortable with doing that one, so let´s
see how it turns out.  It´s actually quite okay, a bit boofy and my fringe
is a little short, but the final outcome was fine.  It doesn´t matter what
country you are in, having someone wash your hair is just devine!

Now I´m sure what you are really interested in hearing about is the Inca
Trail and Machu Picchu.  But I´m afraid that will have to wait for a day or
two.  It´s 11pm here and the Internet cafe is closing.  Tomorrow we are off
to the Colca Canon.  I may have a chance to finish this when we get back to
Arequipa.

Take care.  Speak to you soon.

Lots of love
Alison

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s