Already a regular at the chocolate museum, being there 4 out of 6 days I’ve been there. I’m on first name basis with the guy who gives sample tastes of the chocolate liquor, Kristian. Score for me! Also, I guess he’s kind of cute, but he’s short, bleh.
So I left the city yesterday. Let me put this out there. Cusco is more of a city than a suburb or countryside. There’s constant taxis and buses everywhere. There is smog everywhere that burns my throat and for the most part it’s building after building after building. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the buildings framed by the mountains is beautiful and there are some parts that are drop dead gorgeous. Not to mention the cool cultural artwork on the walls and the statues everywhere. It’s still a city.
Right out of the city is green fields and mountains making me drool. I WANT TO CLIMB THEM! I WANT TO CLIMB THEM! So you see animals on the side of the road, dogs herding horses, bulls sneaking onto the road until the driver honks at them. A great big animal farm.
It was just Marie and I. We were supposed to go paragliding that morning, but something happened. The sky was blue and it wasn’t windy. But something happened. It didn’t rain until around 10 PM that night. But something came up, something that didn’t let us go paragliding. Yeah, the skies were blue and only a few white clouds.
Our aim was to go to Tipon and make our way around a couple of cities and a couple of Incan ruins. Except we missed our stop and ended up in Andahuaylillas.
So we came across this very tiny town with no sign of where the ruins or tourist attraction was. Naturally we walked around and asked the locals for some help, who directed us to this nifty ‘motor’, a three wheel motorcycle with a bench seat in the back.
I even took a video of us while we were inside it, it was pretty strange and cool. I need to figure out how to upload the video.
So we came across this church with a couple of small stands in front of it. Yup, that’s the tourist place.
I wish I could show you pictures of the church, Templo de San Pedro Apostol, because it was soooooo strange and unnerving. But we weren’t allowed to take pictures. Let’s hope my words suffice: Number one there was this soft sweet smell that I now attribute to the scent of burning AROMAS. But then the church was very dark and since it was made of stone it felt a bit musty. And then it felt wrong that all the paintings were of white people. And the paintings of Jesus were quite gruesome. When I visited a church in Belgium, the depictions of Jesus were always sad and tried to convey emotions of pain but something beautiful in the pain. In this case it was simply agonizing pain. ‘Pray to Jesus because he suffered for you that much!’ is what I got out of it. And then there was so much ornate gold. It was ostentatious to the point it was ugly. It was everywhere, giving your eyes no time to rest. Obviously whoever designed it was not a good artist. It just gave me a really creepy feeling that when my sun glasses started to fall down, I jumped a little and when I entered a section that had a gate that could close me in, I warily stepped inside, keeping a watchful eye on that gate.
In contrast, the garden just outside the main room was very pretty.
And then came the bane of my existence, or one of them. “Jewelry Workshop”, advertised a small, free museum next to the church. The first section was about the history of maiz, corn, which was very important to the Incas, so I took a picture while scanning the card. I COULD TAKE A JEWELRY MAKING WORKSHOP HERE!!!!
The next section was really funny, I couldn’t keep from laughing. It talked about how weirdly shaped skulls were found and a meteorite crashed all leading up to their conclusion of aliens. They asked for a donation to help continue their research into the aliens from the meteorite, I kid you not.
So I see the jewelry workshop and ask the woman, how much does it cost to take the workshop? She says the jewelry price depends on the amount of silver. No, I want to learn how to make jewelry like that. Oh, it takes you several months or years to learn. NO! I want to-…wait…do you even have lessons here? No the jeweler sometimes demonstrates here, but we don’t give lessons. Damn it misleading advertising.
The jewelry place next door was the same, but we ran into some people getting a tour of the place. I recognized a bunch of the tools and felt special and tried to figure out some of the techniques they used. For another day I suppose. But I ended up falling in love with a necklace and buying it as well as some other things. As we are strolling away, admiring the fountain in the center of the plaza, the woman calls back to us.
Long story short, she claimed she accidentally charged me to little. After a bunch of talking, her machine not taking my credit card annoyingly, and me paying a little more because it seemed like an honest mistake, we were gone. It left a bad feeling in my mouth still and gets me a bit annoyed thinking about it, but damn it. I love that necklace.
After running and nearly hacking up our lungs, we barely made a bus to take us to Tipon finally. The car ride up was a little nervous with the sharp turns, and the high incline and the no barriers on the side of the road to keep us from falling off. Made it in one piece though.
The terraces are there in order to prevent landslides. If they made it the same as they made the terraces in Machu Piccu, then there is several layers in order to slowly seek the rain water into the ground to prevent the who structure from sliding down the mountain.
Anyway, we went exploring. And who says that you need to follow the path everyone else is taking.
The view was just breath taking. So was all the steps, but that’s because of the altitude, right?
Remember how I was drooling over climbing a mountain. I felt like I was already half way there.
It was really cool, you would look one way and everything was so big and overshadowing you, then you turned and looked the other way and you felt like you were on top of the world.
I pretty sure I technically hiked up a South American mountain. Marie agreed with me, although I think that was to just convince to me to not hike up to see if there were more ruins at the tip of the peak next to us.
Incans are the shit! The whole place was amazing and when you think about the work behind it: the planning to keep its structural integrity despite the rain, the labor bringing all the stones and the time grueling labor of fitting the stones to one another perfectly. Look at it, it’s held up for this long.
But then we had to go back to the city. With the smog. And the card. And the mountains teasing me in the distance.
So I wasn’t homesick, but I got very pissed off at the city.
It didn’t help that at least 100 taxi drivers honked at me that night.
I BELONG WITH NATURE