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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey. Do you party? You're a gringa. All the gringas like to party. Then we can run around in our flowy pants and play the bongos and hug rocks.

Costa Rica always has ads on TV for "Peru: Land of the Incas" and they make it seem beautiful and magical and then I realize that hundreds of thousands of Incans probably wouldn't all gather in front of a church holding candles, looking possibly like Giselle's shorter sister, and be amazed by a large illuminated statue of Jesus that is pushed out by a mysterious source of light. There is another of Incans drinking coffee in Maccu Pichu and feeling some strange unseen magical force coursing through their bodies.

Peru. What a place.

I'm going to send you an e-mail. I had a good/bad weekend.

Love you,

7:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo...its jamie...peru sounds awesome pretty jelous myself. so i was going to bed the other night, it was like two in the morning and i get a text that reads no joke, "I want come over." so i instinctively got really excited thinking it was some young lady friend of mine but i wasnt familiar with the number. so i was like...who is this...response? NICK MERLUZZI. so i let him know that we were no longer sharing a phone and the number that he had just requested sweet lovin from was indeed mine....he responded no way and that was the end of that....i thought you'd enjoy that one -Jamie

3:41 PM


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