Tag Archives: Cusco

Another Holiday?

I was happily (as happy as possible for a job) working,

saving money and getting to a point of financial comfort that I had not felt for a while. I was optimistically considering going to visit my sponsored child in Cusco Peru. The last time I saw her in 2010 was too long ago, it was a beautiful moment for me and I wanted to do it again. I filled out the forms for the required police records checks.

I was planning my holiday and seeing friends in South America again and having a new adventure. I knew I had a few more things to take care of before I was completely comfortable and I started to consider options.

I have been informed that my tenant will be moving out of my house. I feel it is good and that I am about ready to make the move but, (there is nearly always a but). Although it is good to be financially ready there are a few things that I am not sure about. In some ways this slows me down but I feel it is a necessary evil. I have to face a few demons before I am free.

What shall I do?

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Mexico: day 9.

The Basilica of Guadalupe.

18th December 2010.

I wake up early today get myself ready and I grab my bag (there was no knock today, only because I left so early) and I meet “K” in the foyer, we are going on a site seeing tour to see The Basilica of Guadalupe and Teotihuacan. We catch the taxi to go to the meeting place to catch the bus; it is not far from the Zoo just a kilometre or so further. We have just enough time to buy some breakfast; it is a typical food, Rice Atole (Atole de arroz).

One of the 3 types of bells on the modern bell tower.

We drive to another stop to pick up the final passengers and head out of the city not far away and we stop at Tlateloco and looked at some pre-Columbian ruins which are just out of the city next to the highway, this is also known for the Tlatelolco massacre AKA The Night of Tlatelolco, where many protestors, students and bystanders were massacred.

Next we went to The Basilica of Guadalupe. I found this to be very amazing and so big that you need a picnic lunch to go there. We enter through the gate to follow the path to the left past a small place where we could light candles and make wishes and pray. We headed to the top of the hill where there is an old church, statues and a great view of the lower grounds. This was one of several churches and temples. It was nice to see the older buildings from here, the rooves and the cupolas was wonderful to me; I have never seen these old buildings in this perspective. I took my time walking stopping every now and then to take photos. There are several bell towers here; I liked the modern bell tower in the middle of the grounds which still had some framework and make shift cover, from the pilgrimage that was there only a week or so ago.

Some of the pyramids in The plaza of the moon at Teotihuacan.

Next stop was Teotihuacan containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas. The construction is very different to that of the Incas in Cusco, Peru. Unlike the mountains of Cusco these pyramids were built on flat ground; to look at the landscape from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun it looks like a bulldozer had gone and flatted everything and pushed the dirt to the sides. They were also squarer and tiered, the joins were also decorated on the wall and stairs, they had mortar and there were little stones placed in this mortar which gave a nice finish also there were some very well preserved colourful murals.

A carved stone head outside one of the tempes at Teotihuacan..

The last stop for the day was and arts and crafts workshop and store. We were shown what is believed to be the worlds’ oldest paper it comes from the cactus plant the Maguey; when you peel the outer layer off the leaf it is an opaque colour and very tuff and flexible, also the sap from this plant was harvested to make an alcoholic drink called Pulque or Octli, it is a milk-coloured, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage. This plant was also said to produce the first needle and thread, if you cut around the spike at the top of the leaf and pull the spike out it come out with a thread that resembles heavy string. We were shown how the silver is transformed from ingots to jewellery and shown the onyx workshop. I was then given a drink of Pulque, it was sweeter than expected but I would not drink it every day.

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Cusco.

 

“God Country Humanity” Firefighters. This is one of the many murals on the streets of Cusco.

17th October 2010.

Waking with a reasonable stomach I finish packing and head to the airport. It was a good flight, little turbulence and relaxing, coming in for landing was fun, like a scene from Top Gun but much slower, you feel the plane slow down and start to drop down through the layer clouds then accelerate and bank left and drop again then right and coast for a while. You finally get below the clouds and realise the pilot has be flying between the mountains with peaks higher than us, the view was spectacular.

Locals working on one of the murals.

I am met at the airport by my driver who was eager to take me to my hotel, he helps me in with my luggage and serves me a cup of coca leaf tea, then carries my bags to my room. I have a corner room on the 4th floor, the view was nice with a high stone wall and a cathedral in the distance and mountains everywhere.

I was a little difficult to breathe because of my experience with the seal colony, (those precious seals, did I mention the smell?), also due to the altitude, it felt like I was constantly walking up stairs. I rested for a short while and then went for my usual first day walk, I saw some handcrafts, hardware, fresh fruit and vegetable and also a fresh meat section, the only way to get fresher would be to have been there a few hours earlier, (and you could also have patted and said hello to the animal), I continued down to a plaza and walked around the Sunday markets. I saw along the way that the streets were being decorated with coloured grain and flowers forming lovely murals, the local firemen also had a man on dog watch, this was funny to see, this poor man trying to stop the dogs from walking under the barricade and over their mural, (as if the dog knew any better, jaja I had fun watching).
I asked why people were making these murals and I was told that today there will a celebration of “El señor de los Milagros” (lord of the miracles) , it is celebrated in the month of October, the people of Peru and other countries) will have masses, precessions pray and sing. Later that evening in the distance you can hear the drums and the singing, like

Locals working on one of the murals.

pallbearers people where carrying this large statue only stopping to put flowers and gifts on it, picking it back up and then continuing to drum and sing.
I was a little moved by this devotion and I stopped to reflect, Then I went to the local chifa (Chinese restaurant) for wonton soup and chicken and vegetable stir fry.
I went home  to sleep for tomorrow I continue to Follow the dream.

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Bus Terminals.

 

One of the many balconies in Lima.

16th October 2010

After a restless night of tossing and turning, feeling like I was burning up and then freezing and sipping water I managed wake up alive, a little dehydrated but ok.

I had to go to the city today, I was meeting a friend from Arequipa who was traveling north and was stopping over for an hour or so. I catch a cab and the driver speaks about Lima, warns me to be careful were I am going and tells me about the earthquakes they have, I never realised that Peru had earthquakes, He said that during the last big one they had he was driving his cab on the highway when he noticed the road seem to move sideways and snake for a few seconds, he said it was a surprise but otherwise he didn’t really feel the effect of it. I wonder what it’s like to live somewhere that has about 5 tremors a year and a big quake every 3 to 5 years?

One of the many churches, Lima.

I get to the bus terminal with half an hour to spare so I walk in and stand around, I observe the people with bags and boxes all packed and tied together with string and sticky tape, I get the impression for some of the people this is everything they own. After about 20 minutes I ask where the buses come in and the lady nicely tells me where to go, (no, not like that, she was very professional). I get shown the way to the back of the terminal where the buses load, unload, pick up, drop off passengers and fuel up. The lady says just ask a driver, there is a lovely smell of diesel in the air as I walk around, I not that anyone can walk around here anytime they want, it was very casual, it was almost an accident waiting to happen.  I get told the bus will arrive in a while but no one could say how long so I go for a walk around the block, I find there are about 4 bus terminals in that block, the one my friend was using was a large company, it had at least half the block, the buses could drive in off the side street and drive out the front or the other side. The smallest terminal I saw was very interesting, It was on a main road, two lanes wide with bumper to bumper traffic, a little Parramatta Rd. in peak hour, every time a bus had to enter the traffic was stopped and the bus had to reverse into the drive way, this of course makes it easier to stop the traffic again so it can drive out again. My friends bus finally arrives, an hour late,,,, (I guess it also runs on South American time), we meet up and have a drink and a quick chat, unfortunately the next bus is leaving on time so we have to say bye. At least we got to meet and have a chat, until the next time it will have to do.

I was told to be careful around town, I had a few hours of daylight left so I walked for a few blocks to see what was there, I stopped to have lunch a seafood fried rice dish and then returned to my hotel to have a lazy evening and pack for my next step to follow the dream. Tomorrow I fly to Cusco.

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