Monday, June 29, 2009

We were told tomorrow's 4hr Spanish class was canceled because of a transportation strike and only a few hours later they said class was back on...what a disappointment! I had 2 small presentations in Spanish today after completely losing my voice yesterday but it was much better today just a little scratchy. We have two 8hr days this week and a 6 hr day then Lake Titicaca for the weekend.

Today we only had 4hrs of class and afterward our family took us out to lunch. It was nice. The little boy still won't say more than "hola" and "chao" to us. It's disappointing, he's really cute. Sometimes he will stand in the other room and wait for us to look at him then run away. They ordered us "cerveza negra" or black beer at lunch and it was really good even though I don't usually like dark beer. Joaquin, the 3 year old, liked the beer too! They gave him just a little and he wanted more.

Saturaday we toured 3 Cathedrals in Cuzco with our class.
I didn't take many pictures inside because you're not supposed to.
The Spanish built their churches right on top of Incan temples.
Lots of painting and gold inside.

Yesterday we went to Andahuaylillas and Tipón.

We didn't do much in Andahuaylillas besides see the church that's referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. Of course we couldn't take pictures inside. It was impressive but not quite the Sistine Chapel. It seemed similar to the other churches we toured the day before.

I fed this stray the end of my ice cream cone, she was so skinny and sad.

When we got to Tipón, we had lunch in this small plaza. There were stray dogs everywhere and I think everyone gave them a little something. They were so sad..
There were also little kids playing volleyball and a couple girls from our group joined in.

This is what most of the town looked like, plus lots of animals. I liked the feel of it.

The ruins of Tipón are also the site of Incan aqueducts; parts of which still had water.

All of the terraces had these cool steps up them. They weren't as fun on the way back down. I clung to the wall a bit.

From there we hiked following the aqueduct up the mountain. The high altitude makes me tired quickly...not to mention the heat and I was sniffly and losing my voice yesterday! It was a tough hike for me, 10 other people and I didn't go all the way but it was still an amazing view.

On our way out of the town, our bus was stopped by a heard of sheep, which

Random picture:
Our little host brother's kindergarten has this awesome mural outside.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I wish I could update this more ; its hard to get somewhere with wireless plus I've been busy with school and homework which is no fun

I've had a little cold for 2 days now but it feels like its almost gone

I can't wait til we start going on our overnight trips (lake titicaca, the amazon and machu pichu)
Those are all towards the end of our stay here though

Food here is good. We eat at home with the family mostly.. Lots of potatoes and rice.
They eat big lunches and small breakfasts and dinners so sometimes I get hungry during the day.

Were taking a day trip today to a town with churches and ruins and hiking
I will post those pictures sometime this week hopefully

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today we have the day off school for Inti Raymi, the festival of the sun for the winter solstice. It's very nice to have a break, we've been busy and I'm always tired. We went to the parade things this morning but I wasn't feeling too well during it, it was way too crowded.

Strikes started here a couple days ago and at first I was pretty worried even though they told us not to be. Strikes happen here all the time and are nonviolent. These ones are a bit different because people came from outside in city of Cusco. They're just trying to get attention for their cause by stopping traffic and stuff. They burned a bridge on their way here but a lot of them were stopped by the police outside the city. I'm less worried now because the big festival is over and I still haven't seen any protesters even though they were apparently close to my house. It's interesting and they seem to have a good cause and it sounds like the most it will affect us is inconveniencing transportation.

Classes are going well. Geography and humanities are taught by Cal Poly professors and they're very understanding of us being tired and busy all the time. They're both good, interesting teachers too. My Spanish class is hard, I'm in the "advanced" class with 7 other people. I'm sure I will learn a lot.

I can't believe we've only been here a week. It feel like much longer...4 more to go.

Anyway...Sunday we went to Pisac, the Sacred Valley of the Incas so here are the pictures! We drove to the top of the mountain where there were ruins and walked down. I was tired at the end but the hike is probably nothing compared to upcoming ones like Machu Picchu. It was a beautiful hike. Afterwards, we ate lunch in a restaurant in Pisac then went to the market. It's huge and fun to barter, everything's pretty cheap.

We stopped at a llama/alpaca farm on the way. I loved it, they're all so cute and funny looking.

View of the Valley and the Urubamba river on the drive in.
You can't see it but the mountain in the back middle is has snow on its peak!

The ruins up on the mountain!

The Incans made these terraces along the mountain sides and we walked along them on the way down..amazing.

This is the first actual Incian Trail we hiked. When we got to the bottom I couldn't believe we went that whole way.

The famous Pisac market!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Some pictures to highlight the first few days in Cusco...

Band at the restaurant we ate in the first night.
there was a similar band at the Cusco Airport, very good!

My roommate Jillian and I overlooking Cusco at night. SO COLD!

We went to Sacsayhuamán today. It is the site of an ancient Incan city surrounded by huge stone walls.
These are the tunnels we had to go through to get to the inner part. Some parts of it were pitch black!

Inside Sacsayhuamán...

Giant natural slide! (I'm sliding down at the top in the blue)

Kevin Fagan (one of the Cal Poly professors on the trip) and I with Cusco behind us.

There are always parades going on.
Next week is the winter solstice celebration, Initi Raymi.
This is a parade of kids dancing that was going on the in main plaza yesterday.

(short video of the parade)

Llamas in the street!

Tomorrow we're going to the ruins and markets at Pisac for the day and an alpaca farm on the way!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

day 2

Today is my second day in Cusco, Peru.
I just met my host family-- Sandro (the father), Tania (the mother) and their 3 year old son Joaquin. They seem very nice and happy to have us. (Joaquin is still too shy to talk to us but he's very cute.) Tania's 17 year old brother, Benji, was there too and showed Jillian and I to the internet cafe.
I'm not sure what I imagined the house to be but it's very nice (pictures to come soon, I haven't taken any yet, there's plenty of time). My roommate Jillian knows less Spanish than I do but for the most part communication has been going's still awkward but we're getting better already.
Jillian and I share a big room with two twin beds downstairs and our own bathroom, kind of separate from the main house.
We start class tomorrow and have some small day trips this weekend.
I still am not used to being here, I can't believe I am here. I'm hoping I get used to the situation soon.