Monthly Archives: February 2014

Colors of Cusco and other Peruvian Places

I bought a handmade wool sweater in Peru. It’s gray and actually is not very girly pretty, BUT it has kept me warm in many cool places and I call it my Peruvian Sweater.  That is why I love the word Peruvian and the reason I wanted to use it in the title of this blog.

One of our first nights in Cusco we got word that there would be “typical” music and dancing at the cultural theater and our tour tickets from the day would get us in. Tickets in hand we hailed a taxi and piled (only four of  us) but believe me, it was so small we “piled” in.  Kay and Dick and I sat in the back seat which did not happen to be attached to anything solid, consequently every time the breaks were applied or we rounded a corner, or dodged oncoming traffic, the seat moved.  It was a Peruvian Taxi experience.

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The dance was an enjoyable whirlwind of colors.  The orchestra played between the sets to give time for costume changes, each as colorful as the last.  There was a Spanish announcer followed by an English announcer, whom I understood about as good as the Spanish announcer. The songs and dances told stories of every day life in Peru, some being quite humorous.

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Other colors came from the market places that seemed to be everywhere.  This one high on a hill with the natural blue of the sky and snow-capped mountains lacing the background is one of my favorites.

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The open meat markets are fun to gaze at and wonder, would I really eat that meat? How long has it been there?  Where did it come from? How hot is it out here?

 Lots of things to ponder as you gaze at these chunks of meat.

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Of course the meat that was cooking also gave occasion to stop and stare. Two fat guinea Pigs roasting along side of potatoes, a tasty Peruvian fast food.

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Now enter the super walmart, with one stop shopping.

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But nothing says color like natures own.  We stood around for quite some time trying to get a word or two out of this colorful talking parrot.

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And even distant snow-capped mountains have nothing over these fluffy white beauties.

Thats it for this Peruvian colorfest.  See you next time.

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On your way to Machu Picchu, don’t miss Cusco

I want to do a couple of blogs on Peru, because all though Machu Picchu is the big draw there is a lot more to see.  When I travel I like to see everything I possibly can.  There are so many places to go and, all though you always talk about going back, it is more likely you only get one chance to see what is there.  After our long morning in the Lima airport we fly over huge mountain ranges to arrive at our destination of Cusco three days early. Our original plan to go into the northern jungles of Peru had to be canceled due to unrest in the area. The flight film was a documentary on touring Peru which I was having trouble paying attention to,  as I was drawn to the unending, spectacular mountain chain outside my window.   They had very high peaks with trails making loops around the sides of them.  DSCF0095

As we begin our descent, we see some villages and even some animals grazing on the mountain sides.  Soon it seems we are descending with towering mountain peaks all around our plane.  My thought was, we were weaving down and fast, through a small channel, to finally touch down safely.

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The airport is small and we are greeted by a small Peruvian band with the familiar flute sounds.  These music makers are everywhere, at tourist stops, in restaurants, and on the streets.  The music is haunting and begins to sound the same after a while.

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Cusco is not a modern city.  The streets are crowded, narrow and are paved with brick.  We bounce along in our nice van, looking at rows of houses very close together, and costumed sellers any where you looked.

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We are on our way to our first hotel and it is the one I liked best of all. Inside, away from the busy crowded street, we have a beautiful courtyard with a balcony all around.  Our rooms are small but comfortable. This is where we had our first meal.  It was basically chicken soup and bread, was on nearly every menu, and became what I ate most of the time we were there.  With that diet and all the climbing and walking we did, I was down five pounds in two weeks.

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Next we set to the tourist task of seeing the sites of Cusco. The city was considered the center of the Inca Empire.  When the Spaniards came in they conquered the Incas and, as was prevalent in that time period, basically forced Christianity into their society.  The people and the conquerors mixed the religions, each compromising a lot, for a long period of time.   We see one picture of the Last Supper where Jesus is sharing the bread, the wine and the guinea  pig, as the guinea pig was sacred to the Incas.  Even today it is the go to party food.

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This picture is taken outside the temple/museum looking out into the terraces and the busy streets of the city. We were not permitted to take pictures inside the ancient building.

Out of  town with its noisy crowded streets, we climb a long low grade hill to have a look over the vast city of red roof tops, and the inscription on the towering mountain just outside Cusco.

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Next stop Saksaywaman. (sounds like saxaywoman) Until we saw it spelled out we could not get a hold of what the guide was telling us about the elusive saxaywoman.  These are Inca ruins that were put into preservation in the past 50 years. Our guide pointed out the paw of a puma and a snake woven into the rock formation made thousands of years ago.

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There is a top to this hill and we climbed a long way to look down.  In Peru I don’t think you can really reach the top of any thing.  It seems there is always, like life, one more hill to climb.

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Fun to explore and amazing to see the craftmanship and wonder how and by what means it was accomplished.

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It was also a joy to gaze on the beautiful Christo Blanco statue on a nearby hill that can be seen from much of the city. An unmistakable symbol of the Christian worship that is now predominate, and I understand growing with sincerity and becoming free of  compromise in Peru and many South American countries.

More to come as we continue our tour in another blog with a wish called Wanda.  My way of wishing you could have been there with us.

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Superbowl Sunday Sidelines

I am not much of a football fan, but I do love Superbowl Sunday.  It sure seems like a national holiday and all the sidelines are as good as the game.   The day starts out as any other Sunday, except for the fact that we wear our favorite sports jerseys, take some non perishable foods and a crock pot full of soup along to church.  There are the two opposing teams goal posts planted in the foyer decorated with the team colors.  The idea is to pile the food up on the side that you want to win.  There is also a big soup pot in the center where you can donate some cold cash.  All the cash and the food items go to our local soup kitchen, thus the name Souperbowl Sunday.  This year we had at least 25 crockpots of soup waiting to be devoured after the service along with sandwiches, salads and desserts.

Then there is time at home to begin preparing more food (it’s all about the food, isn’t it) to take to the party that begins around 5pm.  Here is the main attraction being assembled at the party we attended.

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I am sure you guessed what is happening here immediately.   Yes, she is putting the helmets on the players while we await the kickoff.

The finished product was a hit, with the chocolate swiss rolls making up the stadium, the assorted chips represent the fans in the stands, and the Vienna sausages the players.

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Meanwhile I was busy toasting buttered baguette slices for more dipping material for the luscious crab dip awaiting, and pop has babysitting duty

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There are pizza’s all over the place and “walking tacos”  to make and take to the game site.  Plenty of Cy Robertson tea to drink as well.                  I missed getting a picture of the National Anthem because I was too into watching it.  What a great way to start a game.                         Let the game begin!!!!!

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Here come the Broncos.  I was ready to get a shot of the Seahawks but just as I pushed the button the broncos were there. But that’s OK, the Seahawks got plenty of coverage as the night went on.

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The Hawks just scored the first touchdown.  Now we are into the thick of it.  Dick was born and raised in Seattle, our first born came into the world in Seattle. Both our kids still have an autographed picture of the famed Seahawk player of the eighties, Steve Largent.  We hadn’t heard anything about the team for years until, all of a sudden, they are in line for the super bowl.  Our interest perked up, so naturally at this time we are like,— uh,—- cheering.   The rest of the room was quiet and frankly not quite believing what had just transpired.

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Can’t lie,  I love the picture of the Hawk.

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and the picture of the not so happy bronco fan.

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There they go again, no one can catch him.  Didn’t make things any better at our party, but Dick and I were having a good time.  Actually, you have got to admit, for a rooky super bowl team the Seahawks really made an impression. They came, they saw and they busted some hard playing broncos.

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Baby didn’t care and the crowd in the ping pong room increased.

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Thankfully we had this add to make us realize we all need a hug even if we are cheering for different teams. Speaking of adds (a sideline that can’t be ignored)  I did like this one, and of course the Clydesdale ones,  I liked Bono, who couldn’t like him, he is the real deal.  The Dorito ones with the dogs and kids were cute as well.  I think the adds started off slow but got better as the game went on.  Half time gets a high five this year, a great crazy fun and good entertaining show.

A Superbowl Sunday to remember for sure.  We thank our hosts and hope your celebration was fun as it was meant to  be.

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