Peru, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Cay Cay
Dec 26, 2004
|25-11 / 12-12 2004
Cusco is a nice city. Large, but a lot of important buildings and touristical services are concentrated around the plaza la armas, the central square. Lots of tourist too, but not disturbing. At least there is a lot of activity and nightlife. Specailly in the low season free drinks are offered to get you in!
Cusco was the Inca capital, and some of the remains can even be seen in the center. The Spaniards destroyed a lot of buildings, but the fundaments are still there.
I spent some days in the Niños hotel, a hotel run by a dutch couple who are taking care of poor children in Cusco. They have a family with some 12 peruvian boys, run 2 hotels to gain money for the support of the children and have 2 restaurants only for kids. The drive of these people and their achievements are impressive.
I took a tour into the sacred valley, visited markets in which I admired the tapistry and enjoyed watching an photographing the people and the children and visited inca ruins. I find it amazing who well the inca´s were organised, their offical buildings were built of large rocks which were cut with multiple angles to provide for a perfect fit into the place where they had to be put. Apart from the effort to get these enormous stones transported from the quarry to the remote places and up, the craftmanship to get them cut was amazing.
The inca ruins have withstood earthquakes up to this day, this does not apply to buildings erected by the spaniards afterwards.
The inca trail was cool. I carried my own pack, porters carried tents, food and whatever was necessary. The waked you up with coca tea, provided for breakfast, broke up an run past us to pitch tents for lunch and so on. There was so much food that I was worried to put on weight. The views were fantastic. Interesting was that the Inca and the nobility had to walk the inca trail from cusco once every year for reflection, a sort of pilgrimage. On the way back he would be carried.
He would be informed during his trekking by runners, young men performing their civil duties for 2 years. They would cover the Inca empire north to south in 5 days (mid Ecuador to northern Chile). He would have fresh fish in cusco in 24 hours.
The last descent onto Machu Picchu was terrific, looking on Machu Picchu. Very much is still intact, and the guide gave us (a group of 5: 2 USA, 3 dutch guys) a very good explanation.
We experienced some rain during the trail, but only late in the afternoon when we had already arrived in the camp.
Back in Cusco I made contact with the Spanish school in San Blas, who advertised with voluntary work in a small village Cay Cay as part of the course. I managed to get in, and spent a week in the village with Ernesto, a former hydraulic engineer and father in law of a (dutch) partner of the school. I noticed that a lot of dutch men are living in Cusco and Peru, in various jobs but all marreid to Peruvian girls.
I stayed in the house of Ernesto, worked with the kids , age 3 - 14, in the afternoon made some walks and exercised my spanish. The means to entertain the kids were limited: puzzels, colour plates (printed from internet) and some other things. I teached them some english, practised reading the clock, and we practised a song with Ernesto and music. In January sponsors from the USA would visit and he wanted to wlecome them with a song. Hard work! The were first of all concerned with the text, all by themselves, the music made up for nice wallpaper. They had no feeling for rhytm, but slowly things began to change. I made a bowling game out of empty cola bottles which they liked very much, going back to boy scouts experiences helped to entertain them. I enjoyed working with the kids, I had only little time for the kids individually. At least I could add something to their fun and knowledge.
At the end of the week I returned to continue my trip to Puno at Lake Titicaca.