Tuesday, February 28, 2006

happy fat tuesday

hello all,

Just finished classes for the day. I am going home to eat and SLEEP because I am exhausted from last night. We went to a studio of a local artist to silkscreen teeshirts, and it took forever!! Some of the designs were complicated (including mine) so three of us were there until 11 at night (we got there at 3 in the afternoon). Oops, have to go... here are some pictures of my family enjoying Carnivales and tousing me in baby powder and shoe polish:

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Quechua is crazy

Helloo, I just took my first Quechua exam! It was pretty hard but I understood most of it. My post from Friday didn't show up for some reason, so here it is:

Beautiful Friday... just finished my morning classes. Carolina Margaret and I are going out to lunch and then to pick up my new boots! You can get custom made leather boots here for very cheap. Hopefully they will look good. So yesterday the Shaman was a total bust! The guy we were going to see is so well known that he was completely booked with people. We kindof hung around this town, saying hello to people in Quechua, but it was obvious that we were wasting our time. Our Quechua teachers found another guy to go to... and he was really rude and was giving us all bad vibes. He read someones "fortune" from coca leaves and it was totally ridiculous. You will find love... you will work... blablabla. So we left, unenlightened, maybe we can see the real shaman another day. I'm glad its Friday, we are going to eat in the center of the city where there are lots of great restaurants. We have class from 3-5, and then its the weekend! Tonight I'm going to see Man du Mond yet again. Don't have too much to report... Oh ill put up some pics!

we had coca ice cream the other day, it was delicioso:

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three sexy women at Sachaywaman:

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large white Jesus at Sachaywaman:

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So that was Friday. Today is Monday, and I'm pretty wiped out from the weekend. Friday night we went to our favorite bar, Km. 0, to see Man du Mond yet again. The band caught on to the fact that my favorite song of theirs is their cover of "Where is my Mind?" by the Pixies. So when they were going to play, the drummer was like, and now Marcella, from the Estados Unidos, came all the way just to sing this song! and I was like uhh, okay! So I sang a song with the band. Check it out:

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It was really fun. Saturday I slept late, and played Carnivales with Flor Tatiana. Saturday night we went to a concert at an alternative school run by this guy that we met, Yuri. The school is really great, and all of the kids are from the campo, they walk about an hour or two every day to go to school. I am going to volunteer at the school when I have free time. The kids sang with Man du Mond, and it was great.

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Then we all went out to a chicheria (a place that sells chica, an alcoholic drink that is made out of fermented corn, very tasty). Yuri took us to a part of town that we have not been to yet, much more local than anything I have seen yet. The chiceria was in the back of a courtyard of a really cool old house that is owned by an artist. There is art hanging everywhere, inside and outside. We were in a totally random place and we ran into one of our professors, Joe was randomly there (a guy on my program), and the host brother of another guy on my program. It was bizarre. It was fun, and we all left with confetti in our hair for carnivales. I went out to dinner with Dani and Caro, and we had some delicious pizza. Again we went back to Km. 0 for yet another Man du Mond concert, and then we all went out dancing at a discoteca. Got home way too late, and my friend slept over because she forgot her key. Sunday was the end of Carnivales, and we all went to Plaza de Armas to play. I went with Margarita, Carolina, and Dani, and we went equipped with four large bags full of globos, water balloons. We left soaked, covered in foam, and pink powder. It was a lot of fun. Apparently next Sunday there will be more, even though I am told Carnivales is over. I don't really understand.

Last night I had to study Quechua for our exam today. It seems like whenever my family parties, I have to study or sleep. I decided that this time I would take a study break and join them for a little bit. They were all drinking beer, singing and dancing, and putting baby powder on everyones face. I left completely powdered, it was a lot of fun. Okay our Quechua teacher wants to chat, more later.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

dia de commadres

ok so i just started using photobucket and i think i can put pictures in my blog, lets see how this works:

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this is a pic of my and Marge at the ruins in Ollaytantambo. If this works, there will be many more to come.

So today is the day of commadres (women), and last thursday was the day of compadres (men). I don´t really understand what exactly they signify, but everyone parties. Well I´m not sure about everyone but on the dia de compadres last week a couple of us were walking by the plaza de san blas and there was a band playing and lots of older people with purple facepaint on, confetti in their hair, and large cusquenas in their hands. Some old men sprayed me with foam and I thought it was beer, so I licked it off my arm and it was foam from a can, kind of like silly string. yuck. So I don´t know what craziness will ensue for today, but I´m pretty sure it will be tame. In about an hour we have an excursion to see some shamans, so we can practice Quechua. Apparently the shamans can tell the future. We´ll see. Tonight I´m going to see Man du Mond play again if I get my work done. I´m a total groupie now. They are playing everynight from now until Monday, and I´m totally there. We are hanging out with them tomorrow night. woo woo. Ok well I think that´s it for now... ciao

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

sunny day

Today is beautiful and sunny and warm, and of course this americana is inside on the computer. I have to keep you updated! So much has happened since my last entry. When I last wrote, we were going to go out for crepes and hooka. Well, it started to rain and I took the scariest taxi ride of my life in a tiny car with Margarita, Charley, Kate, and Carolina. We finally made it to the german restaurant, soaked from all of the rain, and we had a wonderful dinner of salads and crepes filled with bananas and chocolate. The power went out, and we happened to be telling scary stories (I was telling Kenyon ghost stories) so that was a little freaky. The power came back, and we went to the hooka bar to find Carolina´s host brother, Miguel. He is a really great guy and is always showing us around. We found him, and he mentioned this bar KM.0 in the San Blas area, which we wanted to check out. So we walked up (and yes, i mean up, the streets are pretty steep in San Blas...) and sat down for some Sangria. Now it was just the girls because Charley went home, tired. We were relaxing and chatting, and Miguel told us to get a table near the stage because a band was going to play. We were making fun of them before they played, because they looked like the typical hippies wandering around Cusco. Well they started playing and they shut us up. They were amazing! They were all French, but they all came from different parts of the world. As they traveled around, they picked up more people. There was actually one girl from Lima who was singing with them as well. Their name is Man du Mond (Man of the World), and they rocked. They played covers in French, Spanish, and English. I personally had a great time when they covered the Pixies, Manu Chao, and Outkast. Then they asked if there were any Americans, and we were like siiii! And they asked if anyone could sing. Kate happens to be an amazing singer and she got up and sang Aretha with them! It was amazing. We talked to them a bit after they played, but had to leave pretty quickly because we had an excurision early on Sunday.

So on Sunday we traveled to Pisaq, the Sacred Valley. We hiked up and down these ruins that are located right in the middle of the Andes. It was so gorgeous, I took tons of pics. After a full morning and afternoon of hiking, we went to a really nice lunch in another town about a half an hour away. After lunch we went to Chincheros, an old town that has a seriously old and beautiful church. There is also a traditional textiles school, run by a woman who is going to be one of our professors. We watched them work, and checked out their products. It was super high quality stuff, different from a lot of the things that are sold on the street. I think I am going to do my ISP on art and artesania in Cusco. There are many forms of art that people practice as a way of preserving traditional culture. Two of these are a certain type of painting that is usually of religious figures with dark tones, and gold paint accenting certain features on the top layer, the other art form is textiles. There are well respected artists and groups that continue to make this artwork, but there is also an abundance of cheap reproduction that is sold on the streets. I think I am going to do a comparison thing of preservation of culture and mainstream pop culture art, and how turism affects it. phew. Anyway.. We returned home, exhuasted after a full day, and I ate and went to sleep. My family, however, was partying away with some family members from Lima, drinking and playing guitar downstairs. My mom and sister woke me up knocking on my door, covered in baby powder! They wanted me to come down and party and I was like uhhh estoy cansada... So i kept sleeping. The next day my entire family was hungover, it was funny looking around the table at lunch. They are clearly the coolest.

Monday we had class, Quechua and then a lecture of Vargas Llosa, and then we had another excursion! We went to Cuatro Ruinas, a bunch of ruins in a beautiful area on the outskirts of Cusco. More hiking, more pictures. Again we were pooped and all went to bed early.

Yesterday we had Quechua and a lecture on indigenismo, and then yet another excursion! At this point we were all getting pretty excursioned out. We went to Sachsaywaman (spelling?) which is basically pronouned, Sexy Woman. Its hard not to think of it every time you hear the name. Cool ruins, yet again. There is also a massive white Jesus figure that looks over the town of Cusco. It reminded me of the smiling Jesus in Dogma. Pictures to come. After our excursion we rested and then went out to KM.0 again to watch Man du Mond, Kate sang with them again! It was good times, lots of people, really cool bar. It is our program director´s favorite hangout so she showed up and we all had a good time. After the music, we went to ...my first Peruvian discoteca! It was fun, but it was just, you know, a place where people dance and drink. I think I had been pumping up the peruvian brand of discoteca for some reason. We had a great time, dancing and staying away from the bricheros. I came home late, exhuasted, but I slept super late because we didn´t have classes this morning! We didn´t have class because there is a strike by all of the transportation organizations, protesting the high price of gas. There are no taxis, no transport. Instead we have a lecture at 5 today. By then the roads will be clear, I think. Either that or we have to leave pretty early to walk to class. The universities are also having strikes right now too, but I am not too clear on what they are protesting.

Wow I wrote a lot. Sorry if you want the concise verison... I´m going to eat lunch now. Adios todas

Saturday, February 18, 2006

lazy saturday

sorry about the interrupted blog last night. Margarita and I went out with my brother and sister, Brayan and Ingrid, Ingrid´s husband Rodrigo, and Rodrigo´s friends. Again there has been a discoteca false alarm. We went out to a really cool bar which had dancing , but we only stayed a bit to drink some Cusquenas. And now for the second installment of Awkward Things Margaret Says... hopefully you remember the first awkward moment, when Margaret stole some cookies when some Israeli guys were talking about killing Arabs. For the second hilarious moment... we were riding in a taxi on the way to the bar, and we were talking about Fabian, the one year old baby of Ingrid hermana and Rodrigo. They put him to bed before we went out, and Ingrid´s parents were going to watch him. Margaret wanted to ask if it is hard to put him to sleep, and she said... ¨Fue dificil a hacer Fabian...¨ trying to figure out the end of the sentence, but she had already asked, ¨Was it hard to make Fabian?¨ We all started laughing and Ingrid said no, not at all, and Rodrigo replied, ¨it took about twelve minutes!¨ Oh the hilarity. Rodrigo´s friends are really funny and nice. After that we went to one of Rodrigo´s friend´s house, and there were about 20 or so people. It was very low key, everyone just sitting and chatting, with an interesting soundtrack...MOBY. Margaret and I thought it was funny, but they all really like Moby, apparently. After a while of sitting and Moby-ing, the merengue and salsa music started and people just got up and started dancing! it was really fun, a little intimidating because some of the guys are amazing dancers, including Brayan. But we had a good time and that was our non-American evening! We were very excited about it. Earlier yesterday I got home from school, had a massive lunch as usual (its so big, I can never finish..) and I was proud of myself because I almost ate all of it. It was just be and Brayan and Ingrid mama for lunch, because everyone else was at Rodrigo´s final graduation type ceremony for his architect school. They all came back, dressed up, and they were like Marcella we are going out to eat! And I was soo stuffed, and I was like, but... I just ate... and they said just to come for company so I did. I didn´t realize it was a huge lunch with many many people at a fancy restaurant. It was really fun, lots of good food that I could barely put in my mouth because I thought I was going to pop. The cusquena was flowing, as well as pisco sours. The lunch lasted hours and hours, and before I realized it I was going to be late for my 6 oclock class! So I take a taxi to the school, and just make it to class on time. I can´t tell a lie, I was a little boracha for class. It was my family´s fault! But, no worries, nothing to sober me up like a long lecture on Spanish conquistadores... So yesterday was very full and fun. Today I lazed around, slept late, etc. I woke up to the sound of water splashing, because Flor Tatiana and this other girl were getting eachother wet with buckets of water (its still carnivales here...) and laughing etc. So I came down, fully dressed and ready for my day, only to get doused with massive amounts of freezing rain water. I grabbed a bucket and we were all getting eachother, even Mama Ingrid. So fun. I wish we had a tradition in the U.S. of soaking eachother during summer, its really fun and everyone is constantly playing a game. So I did that and hung out with my family and napped. Very nice. Now I am going out for crepes and to a hooka bar, but nothing crazy planned... we have an excursion early tomorrow to the town of Pisaq, to go to the ruins and a famous street fair. hasta luego

Friday, February 17, 2006



Margarita and I are sitting here, practically jumping out of our seats because we are finally going to a DISCOTECA PERUANAAA! The other day I mentioned it was a false alarm, we only went to a dumb english speaking englishy pub. I mean it was nice and fun but you know. So tonight is Friday (woowoo) and we are going out with my sister Ingrid and my ... oh snap we have to leave. more later

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

happy valentines day!

so here i am, a total cusquena. ok not quite but i am feeling much more accustomed to the city and everything. today was the second day of class, and now i really feel like i am back in school. i get up around 7 am and get dressed, breakfast, etc... and i meet all of the other americanos in a park at around 7:30. we break up and take taxis to plaza de armas... each cab ride is about 60 cents, but then we divide it between 4 or 5 people, very cheap. I have Quechua class from 8-10, which I really enjoy. Quechua is such a cool language and has all of these different sounds that we are learning to make. Its kindof like japanese in the way that you can say one word five different ways. Its kindof hard. Then from 10-12 we have either a literature class or an arts and culture class. Today I felt a little lost and the visiting professor made fun of me for not talking enough. great. It´s really sunny and hot today, which has been nice. The weather in Cusco is sooo strange. If you stand in the shade, it can feel like winter, and summer in the sun. I think I have worn many many layers of clothes and gotten a sunburn in the same day. Since today is Valentine´s day, the plaza is going to be hopping tonight at all of the discotecas. I´m going to venture out for my first nightlife experience! wooo. Maybe I´ll find an amante peruano. Margaret and I have been searching for amantes with no positive results. Is my english getting weird? We have to be careful about bricheros and Inka lovers, basically slimy guys who want all the americanas. My mother is biting her nails right now, I´m sure. So carnival is still going on, with water balloons flying through the air constantly. I was hit today. It was the first time. It was scary, a little surprising, and the loud smack of the water balloon on the cement made us all scream. One balloon hit all four of us, and I was affected the least. To make it worse, the balloon was full of dirty, nasty water! I turned around to see my friend Carolina´s face covered in gross street grime. eww. So Flor Tatiana has been playing carnival a lot, and I started to help her make balloons and kindof caught the fever. I went out and bought some and she helped me fill them up. When Margarita (Margaret Reiley) comes over in an hour to go with me to pick up our clothes from the lavanderia, Flor ad I are going to nail her when she comes to the door! hahahaha. I can´t wait. Fabian is crawling around on the floor right now, he is the cutest. When they ask him, where is tia Marcella? He points to me. Oh. My family doesnt like the name Taylor, they prefer my middle name Marcella. I don´t mind, little do they know that I had a stint in middle school when I tried to get my friends to call me Marcella instead of Taylor, and they thought it was dumb. My day has come! My Quechua teachers also call me Marcella. Oh, so a funny story about Margarita that I forgot to post with the Macchu Picchu stuff. We were eating lunch at Macchu Picchu at this small outdoor restaurant, full of tourists from all over. These two guys from Israel sat down with us, and we were all chatting. They live in Chicago now, but are originally from Israel. Dani was talking with them about Arabs, and one of the guys said, "we should kill them all." His hand was resting slightly against a packet of cookies when he said this. Margaret turned, hearing "kill them all" and seeing the cookies, and said OH, OKAY! and dove her hand into the package and took a handful. The guys looked at her like she was crazy, and everyone started laughing. They ended up leaving that package of cookies for her and a new one when they left. Hilarious. I´m going to my first Peruvian yoga class tonight! I´m excited. Hopefully I won´t fall over due to the altitude. I think that is all I have to report, I´m going to descansar before attacking Margaret with globos, getting laundry, homework, yoga, and festivando. Hasta luego

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Here I am in Cusco! I have been at my family´s house for a couple of hours, and they have the internet, which is very exciting. I have a mama (Ingrid) a papa (Adrian) a brother (Brayan, 19) and a sister (Ingrid tambien, 23). Ingrid´s husband Rodrigo I think is his name lives here too, and their precious baby Fabian, who is a little over a year old. There is also a young girl named Flor Tatiana who a child of a friend of a friend type of thing... It is very common here to take in a child who is in a bad/poor family situation. The relationship is a little different than one of their own children, however. She didn´t eat lunch with us, and she has to help out with chores. She has a little apron and everything. It´s definetely something that I am going to have to get used to. The family is soo nice and they talk to me a lot (haha) and I feel comfortable speaking with them in spanish and they say I speak well, so its all good. Today is saturday so tonight there are big parties in the centro, but I don´t think I am supposed to go. The altitude here is about 11,000 feet and it takes a lot of getting used to. Ollaytantambo was about 5,000 feet, so I am halfway accustomed. Walking up stairs is definetely tiring. Apparently we will feel fine after 3 days or so. And after about 6 weeks, our bodies will have made tons more red blood cells to accomodate the altitude. Apparently when we come back to the U.S. we will be super resistant, be able to swim/run really fast without getting tired. But that only lasts for a couple of weeks. Damn. What I have seen of Cusco is pretty cool. I haven´t walked around yet, but it seems like a neat city, not too big, but busy. There are gorgeous old buildings, and some ruins in the distance. Our school is in the center of the city, where all of the cool stuff is. I live in a barrio called Magisterio, which is about 5 minutes by taxi away from school. I´m okay with that, because each ride is around 60 cents. We were told that it is only a 10 minute walk, but Adrian told me it is an hour. hmm. School starts Monday, and we have homework, but we haven´t received the readings yet. I guess I actually have to do schoolwork here. On another note, yesterday we went to Macchu Picchu! It was absolutely amazing. It is honestly, without a doubt, the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. I have seen tons of pictures, and it all looks cool and everything, but when you are there it hits you. You are surrounded by enormous mountains, completely green and lush. You are really high up, so the clouds are just overhead. The buildings and temples are built with massive stones, without any mortar in between. They were constructed in such a genious way, cut with indentations and bumps like legos. After all of these years, the construction is still so perfect that you can´t slip a piece of paper between any two rocks. They have endured all types of weather conditions, and they still stand strong. It is also build on top a a mountain, with rivers in between the other mountains. The stones arent from the area where is was built, at least from one mountain away. There are many mysteries that still surround the construction of it all. With one stone weighing at least a couple of tons, with mountains and rivers in between, without and machinery, how was this massive civilization built? Its so cool. You are so high up, so the air is thinner, but it is clear and cool and smells wonderful. I could have stayed there forever. There is an Inca trail that runs from Cusco to Macchu Picchu, and takes about four to five days to walk. We walked up the Inca trail for an hour up to the Intipunku, the sun temple, which is about 9,000 feet in altitude. It was the hardest walk of my life! We were all huffing and puffing as we climbed upward. It felt like I was wearing lead boots. Getting to the Intipunku was amazing. We were high up in the sky, even above some of the clouds. Macchu Picchu looked small, and the sun came out and illuminated the sides of the mountains. There were a lot of people just sitting there, staring, all stunned. There was a couple whose goal was to have sex up there. I think they were waiting for us to leave. Speaking of which, Peru is a total hippie haven. In Ollaytantambo, I couldnt walk a step without running into some dreadlocks, bongos, or flowy pants. Its pretty funny actually. There are the hippie tourists, the old people tourists, the foreign hippies, the foreign old people, and the students (us) who like to pretend that we arent tourists, but always will be. We all have our raincoats and nalgenes and good hiking shoes, and we will always be gringos. It is frustrating because we want to be a part of anything, but it is not possible. omg my host brother just walked in and gave me a kiss goodbye (cheek, duh) because he is going out and I just got really awkwarddd. ahh ok. Where was I. Ok back to Macchu Picchu. Incredible, special, and full of energy. And not in that hippie dippie, there are special forces here kind of way, but the energy that is naturally there, from large amazing forces of nature. A little hippie dippie? I don´t know. There is this large sacred rock statue that is the formation of a mountain that it faces. It is supposed to have special energy, and lots of people hug it, kiss it. I hugged it for a while and it felt like a big, strong, cold rock. But that was good enough for me. The spanish conquistadors never found macchu picchu, it was only discovered in 1911 by a yale professor named Hiram Bingham. Though the spanish didn´t find macchu picchu, they found other incan communities like the one in Ollaytantambo. They thought the Incas were crazy for worshipping the earth like they did, with symbols like the condor, the puma, and the snake. The thing is, once I saw Macchu Picchu, I couldnt understand not worshipping the earth. Everything is so incredible and special, that it makes perfect sense that the Inca cared for the earth like they did. Anyway. We left Macchu Picchu in the early evening, and took a bus down the mountain, and a train back to Ollaytantambo. Today we got up early and took a bus to Cusco, and here I am. I´m going to go now because Flor told me that she saw some kids from my program walking around.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Hello again... I can´t seem to stay away from the internet cafes, so you all might get a VERY detailed report of my peruvian adventures. I probably will have a lot less free time when classes start regularly, but we can pretend. The last two days have been fun. Yesterday we had another "drop off" activity where we had a bingo board, and in every square there was a question about the history of Peru. We had to walk around Ollantaytambo and ask the locals if they knew the answers. Many of the other men and women were well informed of Peruvian history, and then again many were not. I thought about it and if I had to answer questions about US history for a Peruvian I wouldn´t be much help either. So bingo was fun, and then we returned to the house for a looong lecture on contemporary peruvian history, and dinner. Every meal has been amazing. I have had a variety of soups, salads, beans, and of course, potatoes. The corn here is called cholco, and it is different then the corn we have at home. Each cob is massive, about three times the size of our corn, and each kernel is large and has a very thick texture to it. Many people walk around snacking on a half cob of cholco during the day. They also have maiz, which is like the corn we are used to, but cholco is in season now. Last night we watched a peruvian movie called "dias de santiago", and it was amazing. it is an extremely powerful, and sad account of a young guy who is living in lima after fighting in the war against ecuador. I highly highly recommend it to anyone who can find it. This morning we got up around 5:30 to walk along the Urubamba, a river that runs alongside Ollantaytambo. We walked for about an hour and a half, on both sides of the river with our guide Geronimo. Everything was lush and green and amazing, hiking is still a little rough in the high altitude, but we all fared well. There are huge cacti with large flat leaves, and people will carve into them with knives with things like "Freddy and Sandra forever". I thought it was cool looking and romantic but wondered about how the cactus would fare. Today we spent the day doing busywork, signing papers and whatnot, but tonight we are having pachamaca! Pachamanca is a tradional peruvian dish that is prepared underground, kind of like how pigs are cooked on the beaches in Hawaii. You dig a hole, and create a fire in the hole. When the fire is hot you make a stove out of lots of stones, and you wait until they are red hot. You put lots of food in the stone stove, we are having chicken, lamb, cholco, and other veggies. You seal it up with stones and earth and in about an hour you have a delicious meal. I can´t wait. Tomorrow we are hiking up the ruins, and the next day, Macchu Picchu. The kids here are really fun. It is summer here (but doesn´t feel like our summer, i amwearing a long sleeved shirt and jeans as we speak...) so the kids have carnival, which basically means they run around doing whatever they want. This usually entails throwing water balloons at other kids, and the occasional clueless american stuent. I havent been attacked yet, but multiple people on my program have returned to the house soaking wet and laughing. I actually just heard a water balloon crash on the ground, funny. its like playtime warfare. Its easy to fill up buckets, balloons, and handmade super soakers because there are open channels of water on the sides and middle of the streets. I have also not yet fallen in the water channels, but I know it is eminent. Well I think that´s it... i´m going to have a siesta before a clase and then pachamanca.

Monday, February 06, 2006

i made it

soo, i´m in peru. this is my second day of orientation, im sitting in an internet cafe in ollaytantambo. ollaytantambo is about an hour an a half from cuzco, where my homestay will be. we are here for the week of orientation, and to acclimate to the high altitude. altitude sickness is really common, but i have been drinking a ton of water and mate de coca (tea made from coca leaves) so i have been fine. the town that im in is really old and beautiful, all of the streets are made with cobblestones. the mountains are huge and are very close, you can practically touch them. we are staying in this cool house/hotel that has a courtyard full of flores and hummingbirds! there are 15 kids in my program, and so far i think they are all pretty cool. margaret reiley is here too (for you kenyon kids), and is sitting a few computers away. today we had a "drop-off", we were broken up into groups of three and had to travel to nearby towns and buy typical peruvian foods, ask a local for a good recipe, and prepare it for dinner. i was in the frutas group (yess) and we traveled to the town of calca. We bought blankilas (small green fruit, tastes sortof like a pear), tunas (green spiky fruits with thorns and orangey seedy stuff inside) and pepinas (which is also a name for a cucumber, but this is a yellow round fruit with purple stripes, juicy and delicious), and we made a dessert called compote with the blankilas. the other groups made salsa, soup, frijoles, and a potato dish. delicioso. the food has been great so far, lots of corn, beans, rice, chicken, and frutas. everything has been relatively cheap so far. using the internet for an hour will cost me one sol (the currency here), which is about 33 cents. i have been talking to as many as peruvians as possible, the majority of them being under the age of 10. i will be in ollaytantambo for the rest of the week. On Friday we are going to hike up Macchu Picchu, and i think we go to Cusco on Sunday to meet our host families. speaking in spanish has been good so far, and the majority of the group talks to eachother in spanish all of the time, which is good. Well my hour is almost up... time to go to bed (its 10) and see what tomorrow has in store.