Round the world without odour eaters
Easter Island (7)
French Polynesia (11)
Hong Kong (8)
New Zealand/Aotearoa (50)
* The End
* Day 189: London baby!
* Day 188: Museums
* Day 187: MTR
* Day 186: Kowloon Park
* Day 185: Peak tram
* Day 184: Central and Admiralty
* Day 183: Fly away
* Day 182: last day in Kiwiland
* Day 181: Auckland
* Day 180: Bouncy pillow
* Day 179: Christchurch
* Day 178: Christchurch
* Day 177: Fairlie
* Day 176: Hooker valley
* Day 175: Mt Cook/Aoraki NP
* Day 174: Oamaru
* Day 173: Dunedin cafe culture
* Day 172: Taieri Gorge Railway
* Day 171: Otago Peninsula
January 06, 2005
Day 90: Comprame seņorita
I had breakfast on the Plaza de Armas. I made myself a promise I'd go somewhere else for every meal, because there are so many places to choose from.
It feels odd to be walking the same streets Keiron has been walking for so long, while he was studying Spanish here. In three weeks we will see each other again and to be honest I'm more excited about that than about visiting Macchu Picchu at the moment.
Still, I booked a trip to the Sacred Valley for tomorrow, Thursday, and a two day trip to Macchu Picchu on Friday. It's the most expensive thing I've had to pay on this trip, and it was quite painful to hand over my VISA card. Plus they charge you for using it as well. Ouch.
Cusco reminds me a bit of Rome, or Florence. Replace the churches with ruins, the Peruvians with Italians and it's indistinguishable. It's a city that has an abundance of history, and enough sites around to keep even the most fussy tourist happy and thus keep the money rolling in. The Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu has even been likened to a pilgrimage.
As a result, Cusco has a certain air of arrogance, which can be measured a/ by the snottiness of its waiters b/ by it's prices. Now, I know St Paul's Cathedral in London charges about 10 quid to get in, which is just beyond ridiculous, but, relatively speaking, 13 soles (about 3 EUR or 2 pound) to go into the cathedral is in the same league.
I walked up to the Plaza San Blas and talked to the little Maleņa, who was trying to sell me finger puppets and lives in Chincero, one of the villages I will visit tomorrow. I wandered around the steep streets, looking back often to catch my breath and look at the red-tiled roofs of the city against the green mountains. It's an incredibly beautiful city, no doubt about that.
I had lunch at Granja Heidi, and the pancake with Brasil nuts, raisins and quark cheese was unusual but very nice. I walked down to Santa Domingo church, another ornate building, this one built on the remains of Inca ruins (Coricancha). I visited the underground archeological museum, where there was one mummy who had his/her hand on what was left of his/her cheek as a mock-replica of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker.
The man at the entrance asked me why I was alone, so I reeled off my story (boyfriend working in South America, me going to meet him etc) I then walked via a quiet backstreet to the Centro Artesanal Cusco, which was probably a mistake, because I was not in the mood for the 'Comprame seņorita' or the 'amiga, chompas, alpaca' that accompany any such trip.
I sat down on the Plaza Recocijo, read my book and ate a Twix, which was eyed up by little Jose, about five. His mum got really embarrassed when he kept asking me if he could try a bit, but said OK when I asked her if he was allowed to have some. I asked if he liked it but he didn't look convinced...
It's not Cusco's fault, I mean the people are not more persistent here than Sucre or La Paz, but I feel my patience growing thin with every 'no gracias'. There was this shoeshine boy who just wouldn't let up (I don't understand why because thanks to Andres and Alan my shoes are still spic and span) and I really had to become rude to shake him off.
Mum sent me an email that Belgian customs had sent her a bill for the souvenirs I sent home. 'Import tax', they call it. I call it 'ripoff of the century', as they are charging me (well, mum at this point) about as much as the stuff is actually worth. It sort of put me out and it wasn't until I got to Jack's that my mood cleared: they had Heat, and People, and Hello! Ages out of date (I was reading about Michelle and Stuart from Big Brother UK) but still, they were gossipy magazines and they had pictures of Johnny Depp, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt! It felt so good... in addition, the veggie burger I had was huge and very nice.
Then, when I got back, I got my laundry and my black fleeces and t-shirt (that's about half my wardrobe) were covered in white specs of what may have been paper at one point. They must have washed it with some other person's clothes because I had cleared out my pockets. Grmbl.
Posted by Nathalie on January 6, 2005 01:44 AM
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