Monday, February 25, 2002

Today is our lazy day between two long days. After breakfast, Internet, and lunch, we decided we would try to find something interesting to do, but it started to rain, so we took a nap. Then we were ready for something slightly more energetic.

La Plazoleta de San Blas

We walked up the hill to San Blas, one of Cusco's oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods, with a thriving artistic community. There is a nifty fountain located at Plazoleta de San Blas, and several little niñas were playing ball there. We visited Iglesia de San Blas, built in 1562, which contains an extremely elaborate wood-carved pulpit crafted from a single cedar trunk by a leper. It was incredibily intricate.

Pulpito en la Iglesia de San Blas

Shoeshine boys and postcard hucksters followed us wherever we went in Cusco. The boys would ask where we were from, then when we told them the United States, they would say "Capital Washington, D.C.; president George Bush; ex-president Bill Clinton." This happened over and over again. I guess they thought their knowledge of the U.S. would make us want our shoes shined. Once we told them we were from Canada just to see what they would say. They said "Capital Ottawa." They didn't know about Prime Minister Jean Chretien, but I can't really blame them. He is pretty forgettable.

Since there's not much to talk about today, I will talk about how annoying some Canadians are. Now, normally I don't have anything against our neighbors to the north, but there's one thing that some of the younger hippie-types do that really annoys me. It's when they sew those stupid Canadian flag patches on their backpacks. I mean I don't have anything against Canadian pride, but you know they're just doing that to distinguish themselves from citizens of the U.S., and that's what pisses me off. What a shame to have a world view where you expect that everyone you encounter will judge you based on where you are NOT from.

La Plaza de Armas de Cusco

While eating dinner on the Plaza de Armas, guess who walked in the door. Rolf and Claudia, our Swiss friends from the bike ride to Coroico! They had seen us in the restaurant and came in to visit us. We had last seen them way ahead of us on the hike up to La Paz, and we had been wondering what happened to them. They told us they had hitched a ride on a bus back to La Paz and had seen us pass them while we were in the back of the army guy's pickup. When they arrived, the electricity was out at their hotel too, but they stayed there anyway. They had left their luggage locked in a storage closet at their hotel while we biked to Coroico, and the staff couldn't get in touch with the guy with the key because the phones were out, so they had to stay an extra day in La Paz. They've been about a day behind us this whole time. It's a small world.


Continue to day 16.

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