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Cusco City Tour

13-April-2012 Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru - As seen from Saqsayhuaman Look-out

Cusco, Peru - As seen from Saqsayhuaman Look-out

Andy picked us up at the hotel and brought us to Saqsayhuaman. This is an Inka Site where the walls were built in a zig-zag fashion. On an aerial view, this wall and the nearby mountain represents the head of the puma with parts of its body are the streets and plaza of Cusco. We’ve learned that the street where the Mamasara Hotel, the hotel where we are staying, has a river flowing underneath.

Another main road is also a river underneath and they both form part of the puma. Where the two river meet is the tail of the puma. The puma, … and the serpent are key symbols of the Incas.

American CoupleThe site also has the best vantage point to look into the Cusco City. On our way down from this vantage point, we again met the American couple from the Incanto Restaurant. They were as surprised as we were and I asked them to pose for this photo. We have not even exchange names, all we know is the guy is a photographer and the lady is a decorator from San Francisco.

As we walk out of Saqsayhuaman and just about to board the bus, we were being sold a group photo of us taken in Machupicchu. This is where the Peruvian entrepreneurship had amazed me once again. They know we will be in Cusco today because they interviewed Andy, our guide, in Machupicchu on our whereabouts in the next few days. Then they posted lookouts for when we turned up on popular Cusco destination sites to sell the photos to us. It worked – we must have bought over 10 copies between us.

Our next stop is an Inca site equivalent to a morgue where the dead nobility are prepared for mummification. It was a quick tour, then Andy asked us if we want to visit an alpaca cottage factory where they colour and weave alpaca fibres. Majority wanted to see it and we want to see how they colour these threads from local plants and minerals. As an added bonus, the lady also showed us how they craft art on dried ‘calabasa’ or pumpkin. I was so impressed on the details on one of the small pumpkin – she said it took her 3 days to carve that but was only asking an equivalent of US$35. I got so excited and was ready to buy it but I was warned that Australian quarantine laws might not allow me to bring it in. It is likely to be destroyed.

Although she smiled politely, I can sense her disappointment perhaps for the loss of the sale but also perhaps he has seen that I really wanted to keep it too. As everyone walked away – I find myself unable to do the same, I gave her my last 10 Solis and resisted the urge to photograph her work.

Our tour proceeded to the centre of the city, first visiting the Cusco Cathedral then the Templo de Santo Domingo. All this time, I’m having a confused feeling about the Spanish Conquistadors and the Incas. On one hand, the Spaniards are responsible of destroying the works of an important civilisation for the lure of gold and silver and they did this in the name of Christianity. On the other, these amazing Inca sites were built at the back of slavery. Both are neither tolerated in our modern world, but would we have something to stand in awe of human achievement if not for this dubious way of manipulating the collective tenacity of our ancestors.

At lunch, we took the opportunity to thank Andy for being a great guide for this leg of our tour. I noticed that there were a number of us who showed appreciation to Andy by shouting him lunch or dinner or have added tips on top of what they have already contributed. An endorsement on his friendliness and professionalism.

The day was capped with a dinner and show in downtown Cusco called Don Antonio. At the finale of the show, Jeanne dubbed me into dancing with one of the performers on stage. Well, there were a few others who were dubbed in – so I was not the only one who made a complete ass of me.

2 Responses »

  1. Cusco is my dream city in this world. I’m just pleased to read about it. I quite enjoyed this story. And I have a plan to go there to spend a week. I hope it will be a happy time. Thanks for this allocation. 🙂

  2. It is indeed a special place with a lot of interesting sites to see. I hope you’re fine with the altitude – though you probably just need a day to acclimatise. Thanks for visiting my site.

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