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 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


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