Wednesday, June 22, 2011

La Cuarta Semana

I have never had much luck with technology. Last week, my nice post about sightseeing at some ruins and a beautiful church got magically deleted by the computer. Today, I bought a USB drive to store my photos so I could take a couple hundred more (since I forgot to pack mine) and it doesn't seem to be the right thing.

But on a happier note, my school placement is working out, I'm going to get to try guinea pig soon, tomorrow and Friday are holidays, and I finished my major sightseeing, so I have time to read :)

I also have a couple more pictures to share! This is Ollantaytambo, which is about two and a half hours away from Cusco. It is a huge complex - there's a whole nother set of stairs to get down. It was a religious site, with a temple to the Sun at the top and another at the bottom next to where the girls who were going to be sacrificed lived.

After that, I stopped in the town of Chinchero on my way back. That was for sure my favorite site. There's a beautiful church built on the ruins of an Inka palace. All that's left of the palace are the Andenes, the amazing tiers with walls that are at least six feet high. The whole thing is absolutely breathtaking.

Six of the 13 places that I went to were museums, so I don't have any pictures from visiting those during the week last week. This past weekend, I went to one more set of ruins that were really gorgeous. I would show you a picture, but the computer's not cooperating.

I also have pictures from a parade on Saturday that will get posted eventually. This week is festival week in Cusco, with the anniversary of the city, Corpus Christi, and Inti Raymi, the Inka festival for the Sun god. Hopefully I can copy and delete my pictures so I have enough new ones to share from all the festivals. Wish me luck exchanging my not-working USB drive! I hope y'all are enjoying your wonderfully warm summer while my hands are freezing :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

La Tercera Semana - Pictures Again

So yesterday I didn't feel like dealing with technology and I went to a museum instead. I have until Sunday to finish visiting all the sites on my tourist ticket, although 2 of them I've been told aren't worth the time and money it takes to get there, so I really only have 4 things left. Hopefully here are some more pictures - the Internet at the Internet cafe by my house is just as slow so I'm thinking Facebook albums will have to wait. Luckily, it only costs 1 sol, basically 30 cents, for an hour. The keyboard is really bad too, which is really annoying. But anyways, more pictures! These are the four archealogical (or however it's really spelled) sites that I visited last Saturday.

First was Tambomachay, which was a vacation/bathhouse kind of place for all the Inca nobility. It was really cool to see the water running through the whole place.

Second, and basically right across the highway, was Puka Pukara. It was an important fort and I think also a granary.

After I walked a mile or two on the side of the highway (to take some pictures of things I had seen on the way up) I got to Q'enqo. I don't remember exactly what the complex was used for, but there is an underground bit that was probably used for sacrifies.

Lastly was Sacsayhuaman. I sure hope I'm not butchering the spelling...but this picture just shows a bit of the place - it was HUGE. My camera died before I got all the way through, but I'll be back next week for Inti Raymi, the Inca festival for the Sun, part of which takes place here. I went to two more sites on Sunday, but those pictures are going to have to wait until later :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Finally! :) I may be a complete technology idiot, because I think my problem before with the computer not recognizing my camera could possibly have been because the camera wasn´t on...just maybe. But now that it is on, I´ll be making some Facebook albums for all the pictures I have (gulp...590) so that I can delete them and take more. Well, if the computer would actually get stuff loaded, I would. Here are a couple, and now I´m off to try at an Internet cafe.

 This is part of the old Inca wall (I think). That single stone has 12 sides, and they all fit together perfectly. It´s crazy how well built these are.
Me in the Plaza de Armas, downtown Cusco. Behind me is one of the churches. But not the Cathedral, that one´s bigger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

La Segunda Semana

So the whole posting pictures thing still isn´t happening. Rats! Hopefully I can find somewhere that´ll let me download the camera software thing. Pictures make everything so much more exciting! For now, I´ll just post pictures from the Internet to show y´all what I´ve been doing :)

I´m living in Cusco, which is in the Southeast of the country. It´s in the mountains, at somewhere above 3000 meters, and has a population of 350,000. It´s the Inca capital and relatively close to Machu Picchu, where I´ll be going in a few weeks. I am super excited for that! It´s crazy that I´ve already been here for nearly 2 weeks and only have a month left!

I live in a neighborhood that´s a little ways from downtown, which is kind of a pain when I have to get to class or want to wander around in the afternoons since I have to take a 30 minute bus ride. But it is also closer to the school where I´ll be working next week, so I´m going to be glad of that. This bridge is pretty close to my house and spans the main street that goes by the neighborhood.

I haven´t done much touristy stuff yet, since I´ve been figuring things out, getting an international student ID card (discounts for me!) and hanging out with my family. But I did have a ¨field trip¨ with my Spanish teacher a week ago to San Blas, which is an artesan neighborhood by the main Plaza. There´s only two streets that you can drive through in the whole neighborhood, the rest is walkways - and the hills and steps here make San Marcos look flat.

In the next 10 days I´ll be doing lots of sightseeing with the Boleto Turistico, a tourist pass that gets me into 16 different sites and museums. That´ll be exciting. And then there´s a week full of festivals - Corpus Cristi, Inti Raymi, lots of dances in the Plaza with kids from the primary and secondary schools.

Well, that´s at least more colorful, even if I didn´t take any of those pictures. I guess I´ll just have a massive facebook album when I get back, not that that´s a bad thing. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as I am mine! I´ll post another update in a week or so about all my sightseeing. Hasta luego, amigos!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

La Primera Semana

I´ve been in Peru almost a week! Wow! I´ve mostly learned my way around, from my house to class to the main Plaza and downtown. The bus that I take every day gets so full, especially because it´s only a little van. The drivers here can be crazy, but I remember drivers in Italy who were just as bad. Today, on my ride home, there was a fight in the middle of a busy street! Usually, I try to sit down so I can look out the window. I can mostly recognize where I am now.

What else is interesting about Cusco? Well, the food is delicious! Lots of hot tea and soups, since it´s winter. Really, it´s only cold when there´s no sun (it´s so hard to get out of my cozy bed in the mornings!). I´ve done a little tourism but no shopping yet. I feel like I should pick a few things for myself or I´ll buy everything in sight! I´m also making a list of gifts when I see things I know someone would like.

I´ve watched a lot of Peruvian TV with my family, mostly a game show and telenovelas. They are so great! The family and the shows :) I love this game show, El Ultimo Pasajero (The Last Passenger). 3 high schools are competing, I think to win an awesome prom. They have ridiculous challenges, especially with cutting hair. There´s also trivia challenges, so I´ve even been learning from it! I also like a Korean soap opera, dubbed in Spanish, called Boys over Flowers. Crazy things happen, of course! [If you didn´t know, there is a relatively large Asian, especially Japanese, population in Peru (one candidate for president is Keiko Fujimori).]

Well, that´s all I can think of. Is there anything more you want to know about my trip? I´ll try to post pictures later. Chao for now!