Wednesday, February 27, 2002
It stormed last night and the electricity went out in our hotel about 11:00 p.m. I only know this because Tom woke me up to tell me. I was asleep by 10:00. It's very cloudy today and looks like rain. We don't know how to spend our day, as it appears we've done most everything of interest to us. We're not really into museums, and any more ruins would be a let down after Machu Picchu.
El Desayuno en el Hostal Monarca
We went to the LANPeru office on Avenida del Sol and confirmed our flight reservations for tomorrow morning. The route we walked took us by Qorikancha again, and we got a good photo showing the different eras of construction. Then we walked to the bus station to try to find something to do. No luck. But at least we got to breathe plenty of smog.
A taxi took us back up to Plaza Cusipata/Plaza Regocijo, and we visited the Museo Historico Regional, located in the Casa Garcilaso de la Vega, former home of an important chronicler of the Inkas. The museum houses a collection of pre-Inka ceramics and a mummy with braids over five feet long. The museum also displays several galleries of paintings by Cusco artists and photos of the 1951 earthquake that leveled Cusco. After we left there, we stumbled upon a little mini-plaza we had almost all to ourselves with no shoeshine boys or postcard pests and a view of snow-capped mountains in the distance. It was wonderful.
After a lunch of fake-Mexican food, we walked through the Plaza de Armas. As we did so, we saw a big rally of campesinos protesting in front of La Catedral. Later a shoeshine boy told us they were protesting because the government doesn't help them. I was just hoping it wasn't some kind of anti-American thing as we walked through the crowd.
Today I finally decided that if I got my shoes cleaned, maybe the shoeshine boys would stop pestering me. So I picked out a kid that wasn't bothering me (because he hadn't seen me yet) and hired him. He didn't do a great job, but it was a fun experience. His name was Marco Antonio, and he worked with great vigor. As he was shining my shoes, Marco Antonio's English-speaking friend, Alejandro, talked me into buying one last postcard. Alejandro said he wants to learn good English so he can be a guide one day. He's well on his way and I wish him luck. Marco is 13 and Alajandro is 11. A little girl came and watched us and was very interested in what we were doing. She stared at us for five solid minutes before I said "hola." She said hola back and ran quickly away!
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