Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cusco recap

From 6/6/14 to 6/13/14 we were in Cusco, in Southern Peru.

Much of Cusco was the same as Lima - a lot of time spent tracking down people to interview about human trafficking and conducting interviews. I can't give any names of organizations though because of the confidentiality of the project, sorry to be so general! We did find that the most common form of trafficking in Cusco is domestic servitude - often people in the city will tell a distant relative or acquaintance in the surrounding villages that they will take in a child in order to feed and educate them in the city. When the child arrives at that house they often do domestic work and nannying in the most basic living conditions, while none of the promises of care or schooling are fulfilled.

In between meetings I was able to explore the Cusco market (my favorite - filled with cocoa beans, delicious Andean cheese, and potatoes galore), go on a horseback ride to some ruins with Chris, and spend time weaving through the side streets. It was Cusco's anniversary as well, so there were plays, music, and dancing in the main plaza all week.

I also got quite ill from one of my meals (not sure what did me in). It was the night before I was supposed to go to Puerto Maldonado in the Madre de Dios region with Chris, and unfortunately it took several days for me to recover and I was unable to accompany him. I find it quite ironic that when I lived in Peru for 6 months I did not get sick once, but one week after coming back I get food poisoning! Like Chris says, eating the food here is like playing Russian Roulette, there was no avoiding it.

Other than my one food fiasco, I did get to enjoy some of my favorite Peruvian foods like anticuchos de corazón (grilled beef heart), chicha de quinua (a fermented quinoa drink) and aged queso Andino (Andean cheese) with eggs on fresh french bread.

Here are some Cusco photos:

 Children doing traditional dances in the Plaza de Armas (main square) for Cusco's anniversary.

 Incan flags outside one of the main cathedrals. Many of these cathedrals were built by the Spanish using the stones taken from the Incan temples as a method of subjugating the religion.

 Nighttime in one of the alleyways.

Performing traditional music for Cusco's anniversary outside La Catedral de Cuzco.

 Cusco street.

 Traditional pottery.

 One of the many beautifully colored doors.

 Majeño masks - worn in satirical plays. The black one is the "negrillo", the long-nosed one is the Spaniard. Not sure what the orange one is...

 A dog sleeps on the cobblestone sidewalk. 

Our horseback guide's adorable little girl.

Children have a never-ending fascination with Christopher's arm hair. I pointed that out to our guide; she felt his hair and said "it's like alpaca!"

 Fields of wheat, oats, and barley being grown in the mountains just outside Cusco. Our guide called the oats "Quaker" - which he pronounced "Quacker"

 A view of the tiered fields outside Cusco.

 Chris and me on our horses.

 Not sure what we were looking at...

 View from the top of the city

 Udon noodle shop in Cusco called Bojosan, and excellent find. It is run by a Cusqueñan man who met a Japanese woman in Italy where he was studying culinary arts. She returned to Cusco with him and taught him how to make hand-made udon and broths. This was just as good or better than many restaurants I'd been too in Japan, I thought it was amazing that he had never been to Japan himself.

Cusco streets at night.

 Inside the Mariott hotel (no, we didn't stay there, we just snuck in because it was pretty).

 Shops near the Incan wall where the 12-sided stone resides.

A man walking on a street with a water canal for drainage.

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